SIMPLY BEING

Tag: meditation (page 1 of 3)

Outer Vyavahaar

Several years ago, I was on a teacher training course. As it happens on these programs, you spend a great deal of time engaged in meditative practices, Hatha yoga, contemplation, etc. I can’t speak for others but I often found myself feeling particularly sensitive, emotional. When you begin a practice of meditation (and I am using this term in the broadest sense), you sometimes encounter experiences (mental, emotional, etc.) that can throw you off a bit… You may feel remorseful, angered, bitter, dejected, disappointed, etc. (HA, why should someone carry on with such a practice, right? Anyway, I digress.) So, it may have been that I was particularly miserable one day… I think the teacher noticed something a little off with me. He came over at the end of the session, whispered, “You cannot be like Guruji; you can only be Guruji.”

I had no idea what that meant. I remonstrated, wanting to explain myself, or wanting an explanation. He didn’t say much else, and I wondered: What was that about?

It’s 13+ years since that incident, and I think about it sometimes.

Human beings are copycats. We imitate endlessly. And so it happens that you meet someone wise and wonderful, and you want to be like them. What you see is the outer, and you begin copying. And it’s sometimes mystifying because this wise individual behaves in “unwise” ways. And because you can’t see beyond the visible, you wonder: How can such behavior be “enlightened?” Why did he do that? How can she say this? Isn’t she supposed to be kind and generous? I thought he was a wise, enlightened being.

I remember a talk by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar where he speaks about our tendency to scrutinize the behavior of a so-called enlightened being, trying to guess their motivation. “Why did he scold them? How can he say something so hurtful? Perhaps he hasn’t overcome his own cravings and aversions,” and so on. Gurudev explained that you cannot determine what lies inside such an individual. (Perhaps, nothing?) And you certainly cannot figure it out from their vyavahAr, the outward behavior. And yet it happens that the Self sometimes sparkles through the behavior, and if you are keen, you are able to discern it.

Once we let go of our desire to “become enlightened,” (as opposed to simply being), and we drop the plan of behaving LIKE the one we love and admire, we may be able to truly see through their outer behavior and commentary and actions and responses. And then we may be able to see that there is no need to be LIKE anyone else. Indeed, you can be exactly as you are.

Instead, all we see is their outer behavior AND how our own behavior is not desirable, not “enlightened” or “wise.” And yet, we are so attached to our perceived faults! If a wise person told us, “Drop all that shit; you are free and pure today,” we’d still be doubtful, unsure. Because we feel that the ONLY way to be free and pure is to OWN all that shit. Because if we disowned these so-called faults, how would we improve?

Video: Morning Pages

Here I am talking about “Morning Pages,” an exercise created by writing coach Julia Cameron for artists, writers, and anyone who struggled to express themselves creatively. I have a slightly different angle to the exercise. I view it as a meditation on paper, a tool that helps clear away lingering thoughts and emotions, “cleans our mental/emotional landscape,” so to speak… So that we can begin the day clear, creative, and free.

I have been doing Morning Pages for a couple of years now.

When I taught meditation, one of things I reminded participants was “anyone can meditate.” Similarly, I feel that anyone can do Morning Pages.

In these times of stress and uncertainty, Morning Pages is a beautiful exercise of space, solitude, letting go and breathing out.

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