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Archive for March, 2010

When I embarked on my journey to my soul the word meditation was a beacon. I truly felt that mastery over my mind would lead to this wonderful state of bliss and contentment.

As I trudged along this path, I realised that any mastery either over your mind or over your breath to reach a blissful contentment was impossible. Firstly true mastery was virtually impossible in the environs of a daily human life. I could hardly go and live in isolation amongst the mighty Himalayas or take sanyas. Secondly, any mastery necessarily meant control and control without deep knowledge was a sure fire way to reach a state of agitation. As I desperately tried to gain control over my mind and over my breath I moved farther and farther away from the feeling of contentment.

There is a mysticism attached to the word meditation. It looks and feels simple enough. All one has to do is breathe, focus on your breath and perhaps reach nirvana? “Concentrate” tell us most master’s books. On what would I concentrate? I would ask myself. Many random thoughts ran through my mind. There was no let up at all. Then I read “focus” on your breath. Yes, I did and watched it go in and out of my system. It would certainly relax me, but then so does counting sheep!!

This was not the way. I was sure there was much more to meditation and concentration. It was a form of deep inner knowledge. This is where meditation needs to take us. Understanding our deepest thoughts and where the direction of these thoughts and feelings are headed is the true key.

Any ‘action’ we contemplate always has a ‘thought’ behind it. This thought has a reason and more importantly a ‘feeling’ attached to it. We can ‘feel’ what another being ‘feels’, this is our ‘empathy’. A human being has a Spiritual Dimension. For an animal the feeling turns to reason and invites action instantly. Let me state an example: Like a lioness hunting for a ‘kill’. She hunts the weakest prey has no feeling of ‘guilt’ attached to it. The lioness feeds her cubs and has only hunger attached to her action which is her ‘reason’. Yet she feels pure love for her cubs and none for the prey or the mother of the prey she killed?

This led me thinking as to what is our difference? My intellectual understanding of being able to identify with other beings’ thoughts was an electrifying revelation to me. Perhaps this is what the masters’ meant by control over the mind. It was actually a mastery over ‘understanding’ that our mind’s thought reaches another being constantly. So acting in full awareness of our senses is a state of contemplation/meditation.

This is what I feel Osho refers to as ‘no mind’ or some others refer to as ‘mindfulness’ both terms are a deep understanding of the thoughts generated from the mind.

To put it another way; I gossip about someone who wears pretty but revealing clothes to attract men. This might have started as a thought in my mind which changed to reason, “she deserves it” or “let me warn others of what she does” and the action is the gossip.

Let us examine the feelings associated with the thought. We don’t wish evil on the object of our gossip but we simply want to warn others so we gossip. At this stage the thought feels pure.

Let’s examine this more closely. If I get to the real base of this thought then I can admit reluctantly to myself that I also want to harm the object of my gossip because ‘she deserves it’.

Let’s get even closer. I am actually envious of the attention the woman draws . This is much more difficult for me to accept.

Let’s get even closer. The woman in question has the same feelings that I do. This is virtually impossible for me to accept even with heightened awareness. Because I feel ‘she’ is different from ‘me’.

Even further is acknowledgment that her feelings are my feelings and if I hurt her I hurt myself.

In a state of mindfulness ‘I’ will automatically empathize with ‘her’ since the realization that ‘she’ has ‘feelings’ as much as ‘I’ do.

So if my thoughts hurt her they will also hurt me. This cycle happens to us many times over and over in a day, and in our subconscious  we carry that feeling of guilt or fear or anger or hurt that the other has felt.  Then to relieve ourselves of the burden of our thoughts we act and get caught in another cycle and another. Hindu mysticism calls this the law of Karma.

That which we have unknowingly thrust upon another being and in effect thrust upon ourselves is the true realization of mindfulness and deep self inquiry. This is where contemplation and meditation leads us.

It is not at all easy to understand. This process too requires time and time alone with oneself. It can start as simply as an extra breather before coming back home, perhaps a walk in the park. A long session with oneself at a park bench, even a crowded railway station will do. Here is where a guru comes in. A Guru is one who helps us to explore our deepest thoughts, and who is a sounding board for our actions without an obvious guidance. I say this because guidance trains us to ‘think’ and not ‘feel’. A true ‘feeling’ is worth millions to a ‘thought’.  A ‘feeling’ frees us whereas a ‘thought’ binds us.

Let me also talk about ‘time’ here. I realised that time too binds us in the human context. Time is actually an infinite concept yet we try to harness it. True, one needs time and energy to be harnessed to live in the world reality that exists around us. But when one is deeply contemplating then time becomes an open infinite concept and there really is no need to rush through thoughts and feelings. Just letting thoughts and feelings ‘be’ where they are is an enormously freeing concept. It means I stopped trying to figure out when all this is going to lead to ‘contentment’.

This is not a fatalistic concept. It is a combination of mindlessness and mindfulness that can happen in deep contemplation. It’s possible to live in a state of world reality and yet operate from the state of contentment and that to me is dynamic contentment.

We live at all levels of this journey simultaneously. Uncovering feelings slowly becomes a natural part of your soul and is endless. This is the dynamism. There is mystic TRUTH AND JOY here as we connect equally with feelings of other beings. This is the contentment.

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