The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: awareness (page 1 of 2)

Meditation & Awareness

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile abcdyogi, I wrote a short essay on meditation and awareness. Here it is.

In September 2004, I attended a Sahaj Samadhi meditation workshop, taught by Michael Fischman. Mikey was a FANTASTIC teacher who had been meditating for many years. Mikey had such a basic, fundamental take on the practice of meditation… it was just what I needed. “Sahaj Samadhi” means “effortless/simple transcendence,” and initially, I was doubtful. The technique felt too simple, nearly non-existent. I thought, how does this work? Can I do it? It took me years to realize that this was a SIMPLE practice, not necessarily an easy one. It was truly about withdrawing effort, being still, letting go.

“Doing nothing” is how Mikey described it. How does one “do nothing?” I examined the “do nothing” instruction from all angles. Finally exhausted, I gave up, and in that “giving up,” I understood what it meant.

People talk a lot about having a “good meditation.” Honestly, I think that’s missing the point. What I feel is that meditation IS the point. The idea is to be still, quiet and unmoving, drop effort, just be. Whatever follows after (transcendence, dreams, creativity, rage, A-Ha moments) is secondary. Because what we are practising is the art of being still, watching, barely watching, just being. It is this simple, natural and effortless practice of sitting/being that then extends into our daily life and activities. Becoming an observer of one’s body, mind, thoughts and emotions, the world, people, all of it… Observing becomes a fundamental aspect of who we are. To me, this signifies the beginning of awareness, or Pragnya.

I like to think of awareness as a tiny flame. With meditation and observation, it grows larger and brighter, illuminating worlds within and without. This is the real gift of a human incarnation. We can reflect on the world, we can reflect on ourselves, and we can reflect on ourselves reflecting on the world. It is about growing into the Saakshi (witness) consciousness.

I often joke, “One of these days, I am going to write the Lazy Person’s Guide to Spirituality. Just watch.” I really think it IS that simple. Watch the changing, watch the unchanging, watch the one who watches. #abcdyogilakshmi @richvegetarian

Video: Ego and All that Stuff

You hear so much about how the ego isn’t such a good thing, and that it needs to be “destroyed,” and so on. Well, the ego is an inseparable part of human life, and trying to destroy it is a wasted effort. On the contrary, we can gain a lot from cultivating a healthy ego.

Mind. Watch. Aware.

Mindful. Watch. Awareness.

Sometimes it feels so darned simple. Like there is nothing to do except watch.

Watch what, you ask. Well, watch every thing. Watch the glorious, shining moments and the shameful ones. Watch the missteps and the graceful slide. Watch the faults and the formations. Really, just watch. Suspend all judgments, drop the need to step in and correct. Relax the idea of perfection and improvement.

Just watch.

How does this make me a better person? How does this help me improve my faults?

I don’t really know. I do think that it makes you less sensitive to the good/bad paradigm. It makes you less judgmental, perhaps? Maybe it takes the edge off our collective and constant desire for so-called perfection. It makes us kinder people, probably.

Becoming aware of becoming aware of becoming aware of… I am watching me watching me watching me.

But if all I do is watch, who is responsible for action? Or is that set into motion already? Is it beyond my control? Or maybe it is my watching that subtly alters my action, without directly seeking to influence it?

It feels somewhat like receding into the skin of a container, the outermost layer, the thinnest segment. And watching the contents of the container shift, transform, get replaced. And becoming aware that this container can hold absolutely everything? And sometimes nothing at all.

 

Attention

I have recently got acquainted with a person, let’s call them M.

M is a dynamic individual, bursting with ideas and optimism. M could be termed an evangelist of sorts, because they want to infect others with their ideas. They genuinely believe in the beauty and efficacy of their plans, how it all makes perfect sense… and that all I need to do is say Yes.

(Do you know this person too?)

You cannot but be charmed by this individual. And that includes me as well.

I thought it was the sheer energy, their boundless enthusiasm and good cheer. Then a less flattering (and more truthful, perhaps?) idea dawned.

Maybe I was gravitating to this person simply because they were paying me attention. And lots of it, undivided and dedicated.

Maybe I craved attention secretly, and then pretended that I couldn’t stand it? Was I a total hypocrite?

Maybe not. These traits play out below the surface, and some kind of training (awareness, introspection) is required before you can even detect their presence. All I can do is pay attention myself to these hidden dynamics, be gentle on myself, breathe out and let go.