Fresh and Clean
Right Now I am a Little Child
Joyful and Pristine
Right Now my Heart is in This Space
My Mind is in This Time
Unfolding to Reveal
Truth Blooming Inside
A tardy Day 11 of 30 Days of Peace (but, I forgive myself)!
One of my spiritual teachers, Rev. Richard Burdick, is a musician. He recently shared that new piano students would focus on the mistakes they made while playing. He explained that he would try to shift their focus to celebrating the dozens of right notes they played instead.
We’ve all been the aforementioned novice musician. We gave a presentation and focused on the one slide we flubbed. We made a beautiful meal and focused on the salty side dish. We were snappy with a loved one and forgot all of the hugs, kisses, and wiped tears. Or, we got distracted from our spiritual practices and labelled ourselves a failure.
An essential component of inner peace is forgiveness. I know it sounds cliché; but, forgiveness begins with ourselves. In several previous posts I note the importance of maintaining regularity in practice, the benefits of small sessions, and not judging yourself harshly if (and when) you slip. The reason these tips are repeated so often is I speak from experience. There are so many opportunities to become distracted from the path of fire and light.
…But, each slippery rock is a stepping stone. One deep breath and you’re back on the tightrope. The important idea to hold is the only reality is this moment. That is what all of the new-agey whoey phooey means by “The Now“!
Whatever you did before is over; whatever you think you may do is not guaranteed. This moment–which appears to move linearly through this imagined construct called time– is really not moving. This moment is Eternity–in experiences of flow, deep connection, and the blissful states of meditation we chip away at its veil.
When you have full awareness in the moment it is the zenith, the ambrosia, heaven on earth. Isn’t attainment worth the effort?
But, even if you find you’re distracted from The Now by the illusory pull of the ephemeral world, it’s right there just waiting for you to wake up enough and let it pull you back in.
I was just there. Were you?
The Road to Heaven is Paved with Good Intentions (Thank You, Swami J)
Direct experience is the only “Real” experience.
I eliminated duality with joyous laughter
Saw the Unity of here and the hereafter
Unity is what I sing, Unity is what I speak
Unity is what I know, Unity is what I seek
Appearance plays a particularly interesting role in the Himalayan Tradition. The Master’s of these practices elucidate, from their direct experiences, that All that exists is One Power, One Presence, One Consciousness (call out what you will, I will NOT anthropomorphize). But, it appears to present as multiplicity. This appearance goes by many names: maya, avidya, shakti, illusion.
The cosmological apparent multiplicity is mirrored in the microcosm. People appear one-way outwardly. But, what is going inwardly may be entirely different.
We all have different expectations for our relationships. Most of them are made from our attraction (raga) to about particular outcome: we expect loyalty, companionship, perhaps even financial support.
Some of these expectations are stated when we commit to a relationship, some of them are implied. But, this can lead to assumptions.
Furthermore, there are societal expectations and norms for where what kind of relationships we need to be in based on constructs such as: age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status.
People can disappoint us (which leads into a whole different post about expectations and attachments). They may even harm our bodies (I write this with the assumption that readers of this post know they are not merely a body).
If we allow it, all of this creates stress.
It’s no wonder many wise sages sought refuge in monasticism! Even there, unless you’re a hermit, there are still vows, obligations, and relationships with other monks!
The irony, and purpose of this post, is that it’s all the Power of the aforementioned illusion, the Leela, the Play of Consciousness.
We started this post discussing Unity, not connection–that would denote that the One could be separated.
What’s really going on is utterly magical. Through its own will the One manifests as many. Therefore, relationships are a way the One expresses its magnificence.
This is important for a seeker to understand.
We are relationships. We are the result of relationships. We create and sever them. Our actions may create humans that, in turn, share this web of karma. It sounds really ominous; but, it’s actually beautiful… We are every apparent individual that exists. We are not separated.
When we remember this we can practice lovingkindness to everyone. So many master teachers have tried to impart this wisdom. Because, as stated in many previous posts, there are no others.
One practice from this tradition is a meditation on the Four Attitudes.
During your seated practice you can bring forth the image of a person who evokes these responses in you. You breathe and hold their image in your mind-field. Allow the attitude to fill the space and send the recipient the blessing of your positive wishes. Neutrality is the most profound of these attitudes. If you can become neutral, by remembering those who cause pain are also in pain, you may eventually progress to compassion.
Click the links!!
Part 5: 30 Days of Peace
Why is it difficult to simply sit and meditate?
The practice should not be seen as daunting–it is your right and privilege.
Yet, so many people plan on beginning to meditate for years…
First of all, I speculate, when we sit in the silence uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, memories, and emotions come forward. It can be a stark contrast to the idealized bliss we associate with the image of a meditator on the beach.
In order to meditate successfully, you must develop a different understanding of your how your mind works (you don’t try to stop thinking or suppress the thoughts) you learn to look at them as an experience–consider their transience. In a sense, you have thoughts; but, you are not your thoughts.
The problem is, at the beginning (and maybe for a long time afterwards), you identify with them– I think therefore I am (not)!
If you wanted to learn to speak a new language or learn calligraphy, you start with small steps. Instead of expecting to sit for 30 minutes and experience nirvana, just hang out with your mind. But, do this with a playful attitude– be amused and amazed at your inner workings– 1,2,3 minutes in a quiet room, just watching the stream of thought is amazing.
The other reason people do not meditate is lack of discipline.
I know it sounds judgmental; but, I am speaking from experience. There were many years when I liked the idea of meditation more than I really wanted to do it. It was a great leap forward when I acknowledged that I really would rather do something else. When I was honest with myself I could see there is greater value in getting up a few minutes earlier or turning of the TV and getting off my couch. Believe me, I have to recommit regularly.
If you really want to go further, just begin to work with the breath. Don’t over complicate it, deep breathing, awareness at the diaphragm (below the breastbone, above the navel) 1,2,3 minutes. Just focus on the breath and let the thoughts come… But, you have to get up and do it.
But, if you begin a sincere practice, I can promise the world unfolds to aid you in coming to the Center of Consciousness.
You are what you are looking for… You are the Inner Peace.
There you go, you’re on your way.
The cosmic syllable “Om” can be understood to be one and the same with the Center of Consciousness. Although “Om” is not a mere human construct, it can be used as a way to conceptualize the indescribable. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, it symbolizes the states of Consciousness receding into their Silent Source. According to the Yoga Sutras, contemplation on its vibration brings stabilization in meditation.
Previously, I have discussed the Center of Consciousness being pervasive with everyone and everything. Granted, insentient objects do not have mind to illuminate their True Nature; but, they are manifestations of the same Divine Perfection.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti
That is perfect,
This is perfect.
When perfection is taken from the perfect,
Perfect alone remains.
Om, peace, peace, peace
Therefore, EVERYTHING IN CREATION IS PERFECT.
This may be challenging to affirm for numerous reasons. However, the chief issue is the clouding of our minds. They are colored by perception of separation (egoism), mistaking the unreal for the unreal (or ignorance of our True Nature), fear of death, attraction, and aversion. These colorings are removed by a regular practice of going inside–away from the ephemeral to the Eternal.
When we are firmly established in this Supreme Awareness we realize no one is broken. They are asleep. How can anyone want to harm another–there are no others! We are One; We are Om.
Love is a name, also an attribute, of the Divine; therefore, its nature is infinite. If you have one child you love them. If you have two, you don’t love the first one less. If you have twenty, you still love more. It’s no different with all our humanity.
We don’t have to stretch, this is our True Nature. No newborn is prejudiced. No infant holds judgements. No child is racist.
How do we return to this intrinsic state?
In previous post I mention the pervasive nature of the Center of Consciousness.
“Yoga Meditation is the art and science of systematically observing, accepting, understanding, and training each of the levels of Our Being, such that we may coordinate and integrate those aspects of Ourselves and dwell in the direct experience of the Center of Consciousness.“
Another of the infinite attributes of the Center of Consciousness is peace. When we reconnect with the substratum of peace, which manifests as everyone and everything, we become a beacon of peace for the “outside” world.
A beautiful illustration of this is the hymn “Let there be Peace on Earth” by Jill and Sy Miller:
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
Peace is reclaimed from going inside. Then, this peace is established “outside”.
To honor the need for World Peace, I’m personally increasing my meditation sittings to four times a day for 30 days. During this time I am also committing to a daily post. I calling it an ashram fast. At my teacher’s monastery there are four sittings per day. Meditations don’t require an hour of quiet contemplation; 3 minutes is extremely beneficial–think about drinking more water or getting more exercise. For many years I’ve been reluctant; but, now I realize that I have a responsibility to steep in the peace and carry it all the time. The experts say it takes 28 days to create a new habit. I am ready to be a Peace Maker. This small action isn’t meant to be self-serving, it’s meant to be Self-awakening.
If you’re interested below I have links to the basic meditation process and how to time your practices daily. Lastly, there is a link to an in-depth online course on the art and science of Yoga Meditation.