The goal of meditation is to realize that you are not your thoughts or feelings. It’s to realize your true nature — Consciousness or Beingness.
Meditation can’t really be learned, it’s more like it’s “given” to you. There are many techniques that can assist you with realizing your true nature, but they are not the thing itself.
However, most of us can make good use of these techniques — especially in the beginning stages.
Some examples of techniques are breathing, visualizing, chanting and the “technique that requires no technique.”
There are other paths as well. These are outlined very well in yoga literature. For example the path of service — karma yoga. Or the path of devotion — bhakti yoga.
No one path is better than any other. The best one is the one that works for you. Everyone has a technique that will work best for them.
Don’t overthink it. If you’re inspired by spiritual growth and discovering your true nature, anwhere you start is good. From there, your intuition will gradually open up to the point where your own Inner Guide(s)/Teacher will begin to instruct you.
The Mind Is Noisy
Just like your heart beats and your fingernails grow, your mind makes noise. It chatters. It thinks. It “chews” on things.
In other words, our minds are simply a tool (like any organ in our body) for our Beings to use in order to experience ourselves in the physical dimension. In time.
The mind can’t be found, because it’s simply a composite of programs. Most of which were created in childhood.
Does this mean you need to spend years in therapy? In my experience the answer is no. Although an enlightened therapist can be helpful for some, focusing on “fixing” and digging up the past is not very effective.
It’s much more direct to simply drop the whole thing.
How? Again, when you meditate — and remember you can meditate with your eyes open and in the midst of action — you observe your thoughts and feelings and have the direct experience that you are the one watching them. You are not them.
As soon as you see this for yourself, the pull of these patterns begins to weaken. With persistence, you can free yourself from many of these problematic patterns.
How Much Do You Want Freedom?
One of the keys is to want freedom more than you want the world. I believe Jesus is quoted as saying this in the New Testament. And of course, none of this is new. One of my favourite spiritual teachers Lester Levenson (founder of the Sedona Method) is fond of saying this.
Most of these insights have been around for thousands of years. It’s just that they don’t have a big audience.
Most people want to get their happiness from external things in the world. This is futile. Have you ever seen the movie Ice Age? The mini animation at the beginning features a sabre toothed squirrel named Skrat. Skirt will do anything to protect his acorn. Search out the video if you haven’t seen it — it’s very funny because it’s how most of us live our lives.
It’s not that you won’t have some successes and wins, it’s just that if you pin all your hopes on things of the world your going to be waiting to be happy.
note: as a matter of fact, our minds are storehouses of great potential creative power. We have to power to co create our lives. We are not victims of fate. I will be writing about this more in the future.
The Goal Of Meditation: Work From The “Inside” To The “Outside”
Instead of wanting a certain condition (a spouse to behave in a certain way, a promotion, your children to do better in school, etc.) to make you happy, you can give yourself the happiness directly.
It’s as simple as making a decision to not need that person, place or thing to be a certain way in order to be happy.
Another way of looking at it is the things that make you unhappy no longer need to be a reason to create more suffering for yourself.
I realize this is not easy. It takes practice. It goes against the grain of everything in our culture and conditioning.
But the more you practice, the more and more freedom will open up inside of you. And one day you’ll find yourself noticing how much of your power you’ve taken back.
Like anything, we’ll all probably have to practice this for the rest of our lives. But the cool thing is that you’ll gain your own direct experiences.
Many people are stressed because they are overly identified with their mind and body as being the totality of who they are.
When you believe you are the body, you know that you don’t know when your planned expiration date is. Just that it will happen.
What Are You?
But when you have direct insights into the truth of who you are, you realize the answer to the question “what happens when the body dies?” Nothing. Nothing happens.
You are pure awareness. You are Beingness. You are. You were never born and you’ll never die. You are Unlimited Beingness playing at being limited in a human form.
When you have those insights for yourself more often you begin to relax more. You start to become more spontaneous and loving to the people around you.
You may still get upset at times — but instead of being something that you use to be right and to cut yourself off from others, you use it as an opportunity to let go and get back into alignment with your own inner happiness. It’s always a choice.
Our ego’s/minds want to hold on to the suffering because that sense of being a separate individual is what feeds the ego.
But what we find out as we relax into the feelings and allow them to flow through us is that we’re still here.
I’m planning another meditation and mindfulness workshop in October — depending on when I can book the room.
I have some new and fun experiential mindfulness techniques to explore with you — as well as some new guided meditations.
I’ll keep you posted as to the date.
Yoga is a great mindfulness exercise in and of itself. Be mindful and get fit at the same time!
Classes are on Monday’s at 6:15pm at St. Nicholas Church 1512 Kingston Rd. (at Warden)
Tuesdays at 7:00pm at Kingston Rd. United Church 975 Kingston Rd.
Saturday’s at 10:00 am at Kingston Rd. United Church
note: These yoga classes are in Toronto, Canada.