It occurred to me while meditating one morning a couple of months back that I was suffering. Not in the way I used to ~ nowadays there is so much more space between and within the anxiety, fear, pain and ‘me’ than there used to be. This is largely due to the beneficial effects of accumulated meditation.
So, I am sitting there one Saturday morning and noticing more or less from the off, that mind is churning and fretting over the usual stuff - right now it’s the whole Covid thing - not the health but the financial concerns - in five minutes or years it will be something else, so on and forth….
The main thing with meditation, is the concentration required beforehand.
Once you get and maintain concentration (dharana in sanskrit), it’s more downhill than up. Via such concentration, meditation and deeper states of clarity, joy, ecstasy, stillness and peace arise spontaneously ~ they can’t be ‘done’, rather, are intended and the space opens for them to emanate from, when ripe.
During this particular sitting, after about 10 minutes of this mental churning, it was clear to me that I needed to tighten or loosen the reins somewhere.
Having observed the mind~waves (and in this case here not intended to ‘do’ anything with them), the seasoned meditator is able to work with or sub~scend them. S/he free-dives down from the conscious to the substrate subconscious mind and then down deeper into the clear light/unconscious mind, via breath awareness, inner focus (drishti), inner gesture (mudra) and stillness of body (kaya sthairyam).
The aforementioned order of technique (i.e breath etc) may at times change. I often notice the different aspects simultaneously, such as breath and another phenomena such as sensation of ease or discomfort.
On occasions such as this particular morning meditation, I sometimes say STOP to the whole process of waiting and watching the cascade of thoughts coming ceaselessly.
What I found over the years, having realised how life is much more challenging without meditation, was that to deepen the meditation, (posture, cooking, gardening etc.,) you often just have to take a step back. In ZaZen there is the practice of Shikantaza which is the practice of ‘nothing but sitting’ -
Each time we sit ‘just for sitting’ without goal for gain, knowing arises. The absolute simplicity means this is a super powerful method (or rather non’ method) and one immediately becomes present again to presence.
Come to the surface,
Have a moment and then sink or dive back in
With new eyes,
In moments of what yogis may term Vichara or self enquiring mind, it arose immediately that my monkey mind always seeks the satiation of knowing.
By this I mean it wanted the satisfaction of knowing that everything is perfectly okay and there will never be any problems or challenges ever again. It always looks for security in the insecure… it looks for permanence in the impermanent.
Monkey mind seeks a permanent place of ease and calm in an impermanent and slowly deteriorating body. Why do we kid ourselves? Yes our yoga helps us regenerate. I believe we can regrow anything in the body - including lost teeth, hair and deadened nerves.
Whether we can or can’t, at some stage our body must return to the earth or sky.
STOP kidding ourselves our body is permanent!
What I saw during this particular meditation having recognised the monkey mind’s quest for ease, was that monkey mind will never find it - it’s looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. As Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
That’s why it is so important to ask the right questions.
All of the above wasn’t anything new for me - it’s been and gone through my filters many times. The next little epiphany which re-arose for me is one of the Big Ones. I first experienced it in my early thirties….. My Ma used to talk about it now and then.
It’s something we all kid ourselves about and spend most of our lives avoiding…….
The first time I experienced it at the conscious level it changed my life. I was 32 and living alone for the first time in my life, shortly after my mum passed away. I rarely saw the few friends I still had as I transitioned from a toxic life to this current one of love, joy and remembering….
Way back then, I heard my mind say, ‘We are ALL alone.’
More often than not this is experienced as suffering as we constantly try to suppress this feeling by keeping ourselves busy doing, rather than being human.
The long and the short tale…. I sat meditating one day and realised that…..gosh…….. I really was alone!!!!!!
I saw so clearly as though for the first time, that whether I had friends and family and work colleagues around me or not, on that deeper level, I was, always had been and always would be, alone.
For the ego this thought is very depressing and I hope that if you continue reading you will remember the brighter side 🙂
It was in allowing this aloneness to truly open to awareness that a life changing epiphany first arose, (back then in 1999).
A few moments after this download unfolded through my circuitry the next download dropped straight in, to help me to assimilate the lesson….
We are all Alone
I am all One
Of course when we see this through the eyes of pure empty awareness and not the thinking rationalising mind, the effect is very moving - potentially life changing.
Now, during this recent meditation which I share in this blog of 2021, that ‘’99 Epiphany’ reawakened. This kind of reemergence will continue to bubble up in various different ways until we eventually remember/learn fully the lesson we are supposed to embody.
I re-cognised and allowed it to fall back in to the silence from whence it came……
Following that, this voice arose….
"Existential Insurance, that’s what everyone’s looking for".
I’ve always believed in a personal sprit and soul which continues after we leave the mortal coil but have to admit that I’m understanding I have had far too much attachment to the belief that the ‘Matt’ that will be there to witness this, will be the same ‘Matt’ that’s actually here writing this. ‘Essence’ will be the same, but all else will have changed.
The perspective has always been through the lens of the small~me - ‘Matt’s Soul, which wants to get enlightened!’ (as though its something we can buy/obtain). What is clearer to me now is understanding that the closer we move back to Soul, the ’I’ differentiates itself from all else, less and less on the journey back to core source.
In allowing myself to loosen my belt on this over the years, a clearer view of a more cosmic self, which is more akin to what Shakyamuni Buddha (Gautama) described as non~self (Anatman) can arise.
So, back into the meditation I was sharing and that sense of utter solitariness and the emotions that come with this usually… it occurred to me as I sat in that moment, that we are all looking for some kind of guarantee. Somewhere back in time, at home, school, college, army, university and/or work, we developed this attitude of ENTITLEMENT. If I do this, I will get this and for this amount of energy I will be rewarded this amount of pay or goodwill. There is always some form of expectation. Our limbic or emotional brain is fully conditioned to expect this from a very early age. My mother used to give me sultanas to keep me smiling until I was old enough to go to the corner sweet shop and buy a whole bag of naughty sweets for a few pence.
The question I ask is when and where did we formulate the belief that life owed us something? Anything at all? We all know there are two things you can bank on…in between the womb and the tomb its death and taxes right? Well certainly the former 🙂
We have learned from our parents and education system, society and government. They have all advised us to gather our acorns like a good little squirrel for the winter. That makes sense until the little tree rat gets caught in the race for space-time, which seems to accelerate at a rapid pace. Coupled with the shocking global populous, we can see if we watch the news or look at how people move about town, most of us our panicking to get ‘there’ in time. We’re not showing truthfully on the outside what’s going on in the inside. If we want a clearer picture of this collective-inside, just look at the garbage on our streets and land fills to see the truth of our mass manifestation.
Somewhere back in the annals of time we will find some folk story of a biblical character (who could this could be? 🙂 who obtained a new item but stated to the vendor, ‘I need some surety that this will work’. The merchant said “Friend, you have my word of honour” and so the trade was done. Nowadays we don’t just pay for the item, we also pay for the extended guarantee and, the original guarantee is no longer 10 years or five, or three ? Some are down to a year or even just six months.
Thus trading developed into a simple yet mechanistic process whereby there is a fair energy exchange for all things material and even spiritual ~ we pay for membership to the church, synagogue and to practice our yoga.
Did we make some contract before we came in to this life?
Are we constantly monitoring this agreement and shuttling back and forth in our dreams and talks with God/Spirit? Do we feel we are ‘still under rewarded for all that hard work!’.
“Did you see? Did you see how much I did?”
Well what became very clear to me is that I have been waiting with expectation, feeling entitled due to my successes and expectant of this guarantee certificate to arrive.
My inner wisdom smiles at my ego and says “keep waiting buddy, it might be a while longer! Another few life times and you might get it :). If you want that guarantee now however, I can tell you; your time here is limited but there’s still enough left for you to skip this boat and jump on board that other one headed for the other shore….the one beyond suffering”.
The guarantee I received that morning in meditation was that it’s a waste of time seeking an insurance policy on my existence, or ‘trading in futures’, if I’m not present here and now.
If there is a payout to be ‘had’ it is the joy of life itself, no matter whose eyes you are looking out of.
To sum up ALL your Angst and Dis-ease in a jiffy - quite simply - if you are feeling any unpleasantness, it is because consciously, sub or unconsciously you are listening to a programmed belief /feeling which just isn’t in line with presence, nowness and pure awareness.
Your thinking/feeling is dated…… It has expired or is premature… it just ‘aint now man 🙂
Love and Joy x:)
Matt Gluck - Pranasana Yoga - 11.03.21