The Buddha says to get out of your suffering, you must let go of your attachments, your aversions and your ignorance.
The third one of these concepts, IGNORANCE, is the one that held the key to my own inner freedom.
Ignorance in the sense of not knowing that there is a way out of your suffering, not knowing that you can use your mind to let go of your attachments and aversions. In other words, the knowledge that we can master our mind and navigate our existence with a sense of inner peace.
As I observed when I embarked on this journey years ago, the developments in technology, the invention and discoveries in various fields have brought much comfort to our existence and stretched our imagination beyond the imaginable, yet these breakthroughs have not alleviated human suffering or distress. In fact, the hectic pace of our lives, the uncertainty of our situation- financial and spiritual- are leading to an existential crisis that manifests itself in all sorts of ways- anger, resentment, fear, loneliness, etc.
Could the way out of suffering then involve becoming the master of your own mind through stillness?
All the great teachers of every religion and faith have had an intimate relationship with stillness. They all have in one way or another created a prominent space in their practices for introspective, meditative moments, moments of silence where they journeyed within. The more life pulled them into its noisy spheres, the more they turned within, the more they sought wisdom or solace from an inner space that made them transcendent in our eyes. Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King…
In some traditions, meditation is keeping nothing on your mind, it is the act of emptying the mind of thoughts, feelings, wishes, and desires; in others, it’s the repetition of a mantra, the study and recitation of spiritual texts.
My own path always guides me back to the Vipassana meditation. A meditation tradition that teaches us to cleanse, to purify our mind by introspection. Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. We are invited to become observers, to see and feel what really is NOW. We observe our breath and our sensations in every single part of the body, from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes, with equanimity. And we travel up and down our bodies, scanning non-stop throughout the duration of the meditation.
Does the mind stop its chatter? Of course not. The reality is that the mind is always thinking. But what you will come to realize if you stick to a regular practice, is that by meditating twice daily, you’re training your mind to become aware of the impermanence of life. You notice in the process that nothing lasts forever, that a thought comes, but as you keep observing your breath and scanning your body, the mind quiets a little, then another thought comes then it disappears, and the space between the thoughts increases, and the normalcy of things, ideas, stories passing through, begins to resonate with you, and your attachments and aversions begin to evaporate and dissolve little by little.
You discover that you have the power to control your mind. Thoughts come, you let them go, and more thoughts come and you keep letting them go. Again and again. Just like that. You are the one doing the letting go. Only you have the power to control your mind, and your mind only, no one else’s mind.
No matter what we try, no one can REALLY teach you how to meditate. Meditation is a skill that cannot be imparted intellectually. It is s a skill you acquire experimentally, a skill you embody by practicing regularly.
There is no “wrong way” to meditate. Simply put, you cannot fail.
So, choose to take action. Sit on your mat daily and just do it and see and feel what happens, without expectations. You might surprise yourself and come to the realization that the Vipassana meditation offers tools to help you out of your own ignorance by teaching you how to control and master your mind. The contents of the mind will no longer bother you as you become aware of and learn to accept the ever fluctuating condition of our human existence.
The key is in your hand, you know what to do to find inner peace, you know what to do to let go of all of your attachments and aversions.
Would you like to invigorate your body and rejuvenate your mind? Come join me for the 40 Days of Life Coaching, Power Yoga, Pranayama & Meditation- which is back by popular demand! Mark your calendars for January 14, 2019 to February 22, 2019. Early bird registration deadline is December 1, 2018. See flyer below. Register @ www.yogastream.net/