Archives for category: Meditation

Whenever there is attachment associated with it brings endless misery  – Gumpopa, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

Our thoughts define our world, what we perceive,understand and  see through the filter of our minds. Its a room built full of thoughts; you see the world through its particular windows. You are happy and secure with it, but that all you know; afraid to venture outside. This has become your mind made prison. The ‘ego’ has conned us as we believe thoughts are essential to our survival. The ‘ego’ has control over us though fear and loss of identity. If you give up your thoughts, it seems this would annihilate you and so through fear you keep clinging to them.

There is an alternative. You don’t have to destroy the ego to escape from it. You can use this familiar room as you wish, to come and go as you please. But before, you can do this you need to know that your more than the thoughts you define yourself by. Once you’ve realised this you have the power to change the ‘ego’ from the mind made prison of thoughts.   

Thoughts plague us with the rapidity of a raging river. Thoughts about what you hear, what you see, what you smell, what you feel, what you think, what you plan. On and on they go with no respite from the madness.

Our ‘ego’ tries to make safe an unruly world. Countless impressions, thoughts crowd in on upon us, so that without the ‘ego’ to filter out irrelevant information, we would be overwhelmed and destroyed by this, or so it seems.   

We need thoughts, feelings and sensations and the matrix we call the ‘ego’ for our physical and psychological survival. ‘Ego’ tells us what to avoid, how to satisfy each desire and what to do in each situation. It does this by labelling everything we think, feel and sense. And these labels are filed away and it gives us a sense of security and well being. These labels allow us to know our world and our place in it.

‘Ego’ has convinced us that we cannot survive without it – but that we are it and can do nothing without it. I am my body. I am angry. I am a honest person. I am a good person and I don’t deserve this. I’m lazy. I want to be rich. Definition after definition. 

Most people identify with their thoughts. They cannot separate their awareness from their thoughts. To be aware is different from your thoughts and senses. Your awareness is different and its not attached to any of these senses. 

How do I become aware of awareness?

Try this little experiment:

1. Look at any object in your room 
2. Notice the awareness that is looking through your eyes
3. Close your eyes and notice that your somehow still aware
4. Thus, it is the same awareness that a minute ago was looking out at the room.
5. With your eyes closed, simple observe your awareness.
  

Meditation asks the question: who are you really? If you are the same as the ego, then we open the flood gates of the ego’s filters and we shall be drowned. Hence, if we are not what the ego defines us by, then the removal of it may not be a great threat to ourselves and it may mean an end to our suffering.

Meditation can break the cycle of endless thoughts and free you from the thought prison and could ultimately lead to your own liberation.

Travel deep inside yourself without the baggage of conditioning. Be an explorer, have patience and eventually your true nature will surface. You will return from your journey with fresh skin and you will approach each day with a wonderful sense of wonder and bliss. – Marco Capristo

Who Am I? is a meditation based on self-enquiry for attaining enlightenment which is closely associated with the Indian Sage Sri Ramana Maharishi.

I have been meditating on the question of “Who Am I?” And from my personal experience I have come to realize that “The Self” is source or God.

In the past when I was meditating on the question of “Who Am I?” I always found it difficult to perceive an answer to the question as I did find it impossible to answer. I would begin by asking myself Who Am I? and then this would be followed by more questions: Am I The Body And Mind? Am I My Thoughts? Am I My Emotions? Am I My Feelings? And there would come a point where I could no longer go any further with the questions as I felt like I had hit a brick wall,

Usually meditation teachers will tell you that obstacles are not distractions to the meditation; they are the meditation. And so blocks aren’t blocks to creativity. They are the creativity. The blocks arise for a reason but nevertheless you still need to persevere on your spiritual journey.

By continually asking yourself Who Am I? I have feelings, but I am not those feelings. I have thoughts, but I am not these thoughts. Who Am I? I have desires, but I am not those desires. By paying attention to the technique, you will realize that thoughts appear out of nowhere – out of an empty space. But there is a further line of enquiry which I must ask myself: Where did that thought come from? Who is thinking those thoughts? Notice how thoughts appear, they seem to be transitory and are always fleeting. And as soon as one thought arises and disappears, another one arises.

With the “Who Am I?” meditation you push back into the source of your true nature.

Now as you rest in your true nature – realizing, I am not feelings, I am not thoughts, I am not desires. You will notice a sense of freedom, a sense of liberation, a sense of release – release from identifying with the body, mind and ego. All of which are objects that can be seen, and thus are not the true seer, the real self, your true nature which is what you really are.

So you won’t see anything in particular. Whatever arises is perfectly fine. Clouds float by the sky, feelings float by in the body, thoughts float by in the mind – you can effortlessly witness all of these things. The true seer is not seen. It is just a vast background sense of emptiness, openness and freedom.

Through this method of self-enquiry and attentiveness it may begin to dawn on you that there is a source within you that is far deeper and more mysterious that you thought.

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the  pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t) – James Baraz

"A Guide To Mindfulness Meditation"  

In the Buddhist tradition cultivating mindfulness is the key to overcoming our suffering and discovering our inherent wisdom. So how do we go about it?

You can nurture mindfulness through the practice of sitting meditation. There are many types of meditations. For instance, some are designed to help us to relax; others are meant to produce altered states of consciousness.

Mindfulness meditation is unique, as it helps us to become aware of the present – moment by moment. It teaches you how to be unconditionally present; that is it helps us to be present what whatever may be happening in our  life, no matter what it is.

You may be thinking, what good does that do? After all, don’t we want to suffer less and enjoy life more.

The sitting practice of mindfulness meditation gives us the opportunity to be more present with ourselves. This, in turn shows us glimpses of our inherent wisdom and it teaches us how to stop the unnecessary suffering that results from trying to escape discomfort, and even pain we experience as a consequence of simple being alive.

So, how do we start mindfulness meditation?  Well, you can start  by paying attention to your feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations as they arise and subside, don’t reject anything.  Instead of struggling to get away from experiences we find difficult, we accept and try being with them in the present.

1. Creating a Favorable Environment
A pleasant environment free from noise and distractions can help with the practice of mindfulness sitting meditation. As this helps to make it easier for us to practice. 

2. Beginning the Practice
In the beginning I would suggest that you should meditate for short periods of time – five, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes is enough.

3. Posture
The basic principle is to keep an upright, erect posture. Imagine this: your shoulders are level, your hips are level and your spine is stacked up. We sit, and at the same time we remain relaxed, alert and awake. If you do find yourself getting dull, hazy or falling asleep, you  may have to check your posture.

4. Breath
When you start the practice, just pay attention to your breath. You pay attention to the breath going in and going out, as soon you start watching your breath you may find that you start thinking about something else. Simply bring back your awareness to your breath. The breath should not be forced; you are just breathing naturally. We use the breath to focus our mind and at the same time it helps us to relax and let go of our daily worries and concerns.

5. Thoughts
During your sitting meditation practice many thoughts will appear. You simply observe your thoughts, feelings and desires. However if distracting thoughts and feelings arise and you find yourself getting carried away with them, just be aware of them. There is no need to ‘battle’ with them or ‘get rid’ of them as this will make it much more difficult to let go. It doesn’t matter how many times your attention drifts, simply return your attention to your breath going in and going out.