Practical Guidelines For Doing The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo And The Mother

“Is the Divine the supreme fact of your life, so much so that it is simply impossible for you to do without it? Do you feel that your very raison d’être is the Divine and without it there is no meaning in your existence? If so, then only can it be said that you have a call for the Path.”

“The ideal Sadhaka should be able to say in the Biblical phrase, ‘My zeal for the Lord has eaten me up.”

“To be conscious, first of all. We are conscious of only an insignificant portion of our being; for the most part we are unconscious. It is this unconsciousness that keeps us down to our unregenerate nature and prevents change and transformation in it. It is through unconsciousness that the undivine forces enter into us and make us their slaves. You are to be conscious of yourself, you must awake to your nature and movements, you must know why and how you do things or feel or think them; you must understand your motives and impulses, the forces, hidden and apparent, that move you; in fact, you must, as it were, take to pieces the entire machinery of your being.
“Once you are conscious, it means that you can distinguish and sift things, you can see which are the forces that pull you down and which help you on.
“And when you know the right from the wrong, the true from the false, the divine from the undivine, you are to act strictly up to your knowledge; that is to say, resolutely reject one and accept the other.
“The duality will present itself at every step and at every step you will have to make your choice. You will have to be patient and persistent and vigilant — ‘sleepless’, as the adepts say; you must always refuse to give any chance whatever to the undivine against the divine.”

“When you want to do sadhana, at each moment of your life, there is a choice between taking a step that leads to the goal and falling asleep or sometimes even going backwards, telling yourself, ‘Oh, later on, not immediately’ — sitting down on the way.
“To be vigilant is not merely to resist what pulls you downward, but above all to be alert in order not to lose any opportunity to progress, any opportunity to overcome a weakness, to resist a temptation, any opportunity to learn something, to correct something, to master something. If you are vigilant, you can do in a few days what would otherwise take years. If you are vigilant, you change each circumstance of your life, each action, each movement into an occasion for coming nearer the goal.
“There are two kinds of vigilance, active and passive. There is a vigilance that gives you a warning if you are about to make a mistake, if you are making a wrong choice, if you are being weak or allowing yourself to be tempted, and there is the active vigilance which seeks an opportunity to progress, seeks to utilise every circumstance to advance more quickly.
“There is a difference between preventing yourself from falling and advancing more quickly.
“And both are absolutely necessary.”

“Do not lend yourself to the superficial forces which move in the outside world. Even if you are in a hurry to do something, step back for a while… Always keep your peace, resist all temptation to lose it. Never decide anything without stepping back, never speak a word without stepping back, never throw yourself into action without stepping back.”

“All that belongs to the ordinary world is impermanent and fugitive, so there is nothing in it worth getting upset about. What is lasting, eternal, immortal and infinite — that indeed is worth having, worth conquering, worth possessing. It is Divine Light, Divine Love, Divine Life — it is also Supreme Peace, Perfect Joy and All-Mastery upon earth with the Complete Manifestation as the Crowning. When you get the sense of relativity of things, then whatever happens, you can step back and look; you can remain quiet and call on the Divine Force and wait for an answer. Then you will know exactly what to do.”

“The Divine that we adore is not only a remote extracosmic Reality, but a half-veiled Manifestation present and near to us here in the universe. Life is the field of a divine manifestation not yet complete: here, in life, on earth, in the body … we have to unveil the Godhead; here we must make its transcendent greatness, light and sweetness real to our consciousness, here possess and, as far as may be, express it.”

“… you have always had an idea that to give expression to an impulse or a movement is the best way or even the only way to get rid of it. But that is a mistaken idea. If you give expression to anger, you prolong or confirm the habit of the recurrence of anger; you do not diminish or get rid of the habit. The very first step towards weakening the power of anger in the nature and afterwards getting rid of it altogether is to refuse all expression to it in act or speech. Afterwards one can go on with more likelihood of success to throw it out from the thought and feeling also. And so with all other wrong movements.”

Whenever faced with a surging wrong impulse in oneself, which is strongly seeking an outlet of expression, one often offers a lame excuse whose form is somewhat like this: “Well, if I do it this time, I shall be convinced that it is after all bad and I shall do it no longer. As a matter of fact this is the last time I am allowing myself to to it, and that with the laudable intention of being convinced of its undesirability through actual experience which will surely purify me by effective purging.”
But this method does not work at all; for the theory is not based on psychological facts of human nature. Instead of being purified, one gets still more engrossed in the impulse and weakness, making a future deliverance much more difficult.
No, instead of indulging in the weakness even for once, what the sadhaka has to do is to take a very firm resolve on the very first occasion itself and say to oneself: “Well, this time itself, I shall not do it; I shall apply all my strength to prevent its expression in speech and action.”
Yes, one must concentrate only on scoring this first stage of victory over the impulse. Whatever outlet the moment’s impulse is seeking from the sadhaka for its expression, has to be blocked altogether: one need not for the time being waste one’s energy or effort in tackling its inner turmoil in the sadhaka’s consciousness.
Of course, the urge, the desire, the passion will still be there in the sadhaka’s heart producing churnings and whirls there, but outside one does resist its manifestation. This is not suppression; it is only a stratagem of battle. One should stand like a rock and resolve not to carry out the dictate in action suggested by the impulse.
If the sadhaka can do this every time the resultant impulse becomes strong, it will be found that the insistent urge is gradually losing its intensity; also, the frequency of its appearance will progressively diminish.

“All forces upon earth tend towards expressing themselves. These forces come with the object of manifesting themselves, and if you place a barrier and refuse expression, they may try to beat against the barrier for a time, but in the end, they will tire themselves out and not being manifested, they will withdraw…”

“The effective order is to begin from the outside: ‘The very first thing is that I do not do it, and afterwards, I desire it no longer and next I close my doors completely to all impulses: they no longer exist for me, I am now outside all that.’ This is the true order, the order that is effective. First, not to do it. And then you will no longer desire and after that it will go out of your consciousness completely.”

“this is the reason why there is a constant confusion and even a conflict in our members which our mental reason and will are moved to control and harmonise and have often much difficulty in creating out of their confusion or conflict some kind of order and guidance; even so, ordinarily, we drift too much or are driven by the stream of our nature and act from whatever in it comes uppermost at the time and seizes the instruments of thought and action,… even our seemingly deliberate choice is more of an
automatism than we imagine…”

“The Purusha above is not only a Witness, he is the giver (or withholder) of the sanction; if he persistently refuses the sanction to a movement of Prakriti, keeping himself detached, then, even if it goes on for a time by its past momentum, it usually loses its hold after a time, becomes more feeble, less persistent, less concrete and in the end fades away… This refusal of sanction need not mean a struggle with the lower Prakriti; it should be a quiet, persistent, detached refusal leaving unsupported, unassented to, without meaning or justification, the contrary action of the nature.”

‘There are four movements which are usually consecutive, but which in the end may be simultaneous: to observe one’s thoughts and feelings is the first, to watch over one’s thoughts and feelings is the second, to control one’s thoughts and feelings is the third, and to master one’s thoughts and feelings is the fourth. To observe, to watch over, to control, to master. All that to get rid of an evil mind.
‘A purified mind is naturally a mind that does not admit any wrong thought and feeling, and the complete mastery to gain this result is the last achievement in the four stages.
‘The very first stage, to observe one’s thoughts and feelings, is not such an easy thing. For to observe your thoughts and feelings, you must first of all separate yourself from them. The first movement then is to step back and look at them, so that the movement of the observing consciousness and that of thoughts and feelings may not be confused.
‘Now comes the second stage of watching over one’s thoughts and feelings. Learn to look them as an enlightened judge so that you may distinguish between the good and the bad, between those thoughts and feelings that are useful and those that are harmful, between constructive movements that lead to victory and defeatist ones which turn us away from it. It is this power of discernment that we must acquire at this second stage.
‘Now comes the stage of control; this is the third step of our psychological discipline. Once the enlightened judge of our consciousness has distinguished between useful and harmful thoughts and feelings, the inner guard will come and allow to pass only approved thoughts and feelings, strictly refusing admission to all undesirable elements. It is this movement of admission and refusal that we call control and this constitutes the third stage of the discipline.
‘The fourth stage, that of mastery over the wrong movements, follows almost automatically upon the successful completion of the three previous stages. For, a total sincerity on the part of the sadhaka will make him immune for all practical purposes from the attacks of the undesirable forces.’

“to pretend that you want to live the spiritual life and not to do it, to pretend that you want to seek the truth and not to do it, to display the external signs of consecration to the divine life… but within to be concerned only with oneself, one’s selfishness and one’s own needs.”

“You must make haste to do your work here, for it is here that you can truly do it.
“Expect nothing from death. Life is your salvation.
“It is in life that you must transform yourself. It is upon earth that you progress and it is upon earth that you realise. It is in the body that you win the Victory.”

“All life is a secret Yoga, an obscure growth of Nature towards the discovery and fulfillment of the divine principle hidden in her which becomes progressively less obscure, more self-conscient and luminous, more self-possessed in the human being by the opening of all his instruments of knowledge, will, action, life to the Spirit within him and in the world.”

“The secret of success in Yoga is to regard it not as one of the aims to be pursued in life, but as the whole of life.”

“This, in short, is the demand made on us, that we should turn our whole life into a conscious sacrifice. Every moment and every movement of our being is to be resolved into a continuous and a devoted self-giving to the Eternal. All our actions, not less the smallest and most ordinary and trifling than the greatest and most uncommon and noble, must be performed as consecrated acts. Our individualised nature must live in the single consciousness of an inner and outer movement dedicated to Something that is beyond us and greater than our ego. No matter what the gift and to whom it is presented by us, there must be a consciousness in the act that we are presenting it to the one divine Being in all beings.”

“It is not … the giving of the thing asked for that matters, but the relation itself, the contact of man’s life with God, the conscious interchange. In spiritual matters and in the seeking of spiritual gains, this conscious relation is a great power; it is a much greater power than our own entirely self-reliant struggle and effort and it brings a fuller spiritual growth and experience.”

  • – Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
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Stepping Stones For The Right Attitude To Do The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo And The Mother

“…we have set out to conquer all ourselves and the world for God; we are determined to give him our becoming as well as our being…”

“Life is the field of a divine manifestation not yet complete: here, in life, on earth, in the body … we have to unveil the Godhead; here we must make its transcendent greatness, light and sweetness real to our consciousness, here possess and, as far as may be, express it. Life then we must accept in our Yoga in order utterly to transmute it; we are forbidden to shrink from the difficulties that this acceptance may add to our struggle.”

“When the soul draws towards the Divine, there may be a resistance in the mind and the common form of that is denial and doubt — which may create mental and vital suffering. There may again be a resistance in the vital nature whose principal character is desire and the attachment to the objects of desire… The physical consciousness also may offer a resistance which is usually that of a fundamental inertia, an obscurity in the very stuff of the physical… There is, moreover, the resistance of the Universal Nature which does not want the being to escape from the Ignorance into the Light.”

“The integral yoga consists of an unbroken series of examinations which one has to pass without being given any previous intimation, which therefore puts you under the necessity of being always alert and attentive.”

“The three types of examination are (1) that set by the forces of Nature, (2) that set by the spiritual and divine forces, and (3) that set by the hostile forces. The last are the most deceptive in their appearance and if one is not to be taken by surprise or unprepared, one has to be constantly in a state of vigilance and sincerity and humility.”

“God is our wise and perfect friend, because he knows when to smite and when to fondle, when to slay us no less than when to save and to succour… There must be faith in the love and wisdom of God, … working out all for our good even when it is apparently veiled in evil.”

“A sattwic gladness and calm and confidence is the proper temperament for this yoga [the Integral Yoga]…”

“in absolute reliance on the Mother,fearing nothing, sorrowing over nothing…” in “…a glad equanimity even in the face of difficulties…”

“The ways of the Divine are not like those of the human mind or according to our patterns and it is impossible to judge them or to lay down for Him what He shall or shall not do, for the Divine knows better than we can know. If we admit the Divine at all, both true reason and Bhakti seem to me to be at one in demanding implicit faith and surrender.”

“Remember the true basis of yoga… Obedience to the divine Will, nor assertion of self-will is the very first mantra … learn thou first absolutely to obey.”

“Let Thy Will be done”

“The ego-centric man feels and takes things as they affect him. Does this please me or displease, give me gladness or pain, flatter my pride, vanity, ambition or hurt it, satisfy my desires or thwart them, etc. The unegoistic man does not look at things like that. He looks to see what things are in themselves and would be if he were not there, what is their meaning, how they fit into the scheme of things — or else he feels calm and equal, refers everything to the Divine…” “…he learns to make not the ego but the Divine the centre of his existence and thinks, acts, feels only for the Divine…”

“A guidance, a governance begins from within which exposes every movement to the light of Truth, repels what is false, obscure, opposed to the divine realisation: every region of the being, every nook and corner of it, every movement, formation, direction, inclination of thought, will,emotion, sensation, action, reaction, motive, disposition, propensity, desire, habit of the conscious or subconscious physical, even the most concealed, camouflaged, mute, recondite, is lighted up with the unerring psychic light, their confusions dissipated, their tangles disentangled, their obscurities, deceptions, self-deceptions precisely indicated and removed…”

“If you want to do yoga, you must get rid of fear.”
“The first condition of progress in sadhana is not to fear, to have trust and keep quiet…”
“Fear is the first thing that must be thrown away…”
“To put away fear and have confidence in the divine working is indispensable.”
“… the yogi must be fearless, abhi; it is absurd to have a fear because one can control one’s states; that is a power very much to be desired and welcomed in yoga.”

“No protection, no Grace can save those who refuse the indispensable purification. And I would add this: that fear is an impurity, one of the greatest impurities, one of those which come most directly from the anti-divine forces which want to destroy the divine action on earth; and the first duty of those who really want to do yoga is to eliminate from their consciousness, with all the might, all the sincerity, all the endurance of which they are capable, even the shadow of a fear. To walk on the path, one must be dauntless, and never indulge in that petty, small, feeble, nasty shrinking back upon oneself, which is fear.”

“Patience is our first great necessary lesson… a patience full of a calm and gathering strength.”
“Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God’s purpose and thy will to accomplish.”

“The road of Yoga is long, every inch of ground has to be won against much resistance and no quality is more needed by the sadhaka than patience and single-minded perseverance with a faith that remains firm through all difficulties, delays and apparent failures.”

“If there are good desires, bad desires will come also. There is a place for will and aspiration, not for desire. If there is desire there will be attachment, demand, craving, want of equanimity, sorrow at not getting, all that is unyogic.”

“has no personal hopes; he does not seize on things as his personal possessions; he receives what the divine Will brings him, covets nothing, is jealous of none: what comes to him he takes without repulsion and without attachment; what goes from him he allows to depart into the whirl of things without repining or grief or sense of loss. His heart and self are under perfect control; they are free from reaction and passion, they make no turbulent response to the touches of outward things.”

“You must make haste to do your work here and now… Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.”

“The path of later-on and the road of to-morrow lead only to the castle of nothing-at-all.”

“…the hours, circumstances, life pass in vain, bringing nothing, and you awake from your somnolence in a hole from which it is very difficult to escape.”

“While walking on the path of spiritual advancement, whenever you come face to face with a weakness — a weakness which is seeking self-expression through your thought and feeling and speech or action, immediately you take the resolve not to indulge it in any way, not even for once, not even for this time alone. Otherwise you will never realise your goal.”

“A drop of practice is better than an ocean of theories, advices and good resolutions.”

‘Many come to the Path, attracted by the True Thing, but after some time one lets oneself go. When everything is easy and peaceful, one falls asleep. The human nature is still so crude that it becomes difficult for many to keep the inner attitude unmixed for a long time and to hold firm in one’s original position of ardent aspiration. Almost inevitably laziness takes the place of this aspiration — not for everyone, but in quite a general way — and licence and libertinism take the place of true freedom. There are no moral constraints and so one acts foolishly. It seems it is almost impossible for many an aspirant to make their first aspiration last long.’

“Vigilance means to be awake, to be on one’s guard, to be sincere — never to be taken by surprise. When you want to do sadhana, at each moment of your life, there is a choice between taking a step that leads to the goal and falling asleep or sometimes even going backwards, telling yourself, ‘Oh, later on, not immediately’ — sitting down on the way.”

“…if we desire to make the most of the opportunity that this life gives us, if we wish to respond adequately to the call we have received and to attain to the goal we have glimpsed, not merely advance a little towards it, it is essential that there should be an entire self-giving. The secret of success in Yoga is to regard it not as one of the aims to be pursued in life, but as the whole of life.”

-Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

The Practice Of Writing The Mantras Written By Sri Aurobindo

The practice of writing of mantras written by Sri Aurobindo may help in developing aspiration as well as surrender to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. As one writes, it is useful to say the words out loud or mentally and calmly concentrate either in the centre of the chest or the centre of the head.

I write each of the following mantras in this manner once every day.

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Reflections On Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta

In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are anicca, dukkha and anatta.

  • Anicca means that everything that is exists is impermanent.
  • Dukkha means that everything is subject to stress, unpleasantness and suffering.
  • Anatta means that everything does not have a self.

In the Vedas, the formula for the Divine is Sat – Chit – Ananda

  • Sat refers to eternal existence
  • Chit refers to eternal consciousness and knowledge
  • Ananda refers to eternal bliss and happiness

There seems to be a contradiction between these points of view. But Truth is Truth. It has to be experienced and when we put them into mental forms, they can get distorted.

In my view,

Ultimately everything is Divine. The good, the bad, the ugly. When one says that everything that exists is impermanent, it means that the things that are manifested out of the Divine, all are impermanent. Impermanent here can mean that they change form – like a body dying and going to the elements; or ultimately, the elements merging into the Divine itself ( like what is said to happen in pralaya or the ultimate annihilation). It does not mean the manifestations of the Divine are false or illusion; it just means that they come and go; they are temporary. So, in this way, yes, everything is anicca but in their innermost sense, everything is Divine. And, the Divine is immortal, eternally exists, with no beginning and no end. This is hard to comprehend mentally because these can only be understood beyond the mind.

It would seem that everything is subject to suffering and unhappiness. But that is true for the mind, not for the Divine who exists within us and us who is the spark of the Divine. We often are unhappy when something goes away, someone dies, something is lost, something becomes ill or non-functional. If one understands that since the manifestations of the Divine, which is everything in the world changes, these things are bound to happen and these things affect us only if we think that we are an independent self apart from the Divine, only if we thing from an ego-perspective. For example, we do not grieve when we kill an ant by pouring water on it. The ant does not belong to us. We do not grieve when another person who is not related to us dies. Because we do not feel the sense of belonging. If we understand that nothing truly belongs to us; everything is a part of the Divine, then why should one suffer. That realisation is difficult, but the absence of that is what leads to suffering and unhappiness. And once we realise, that everything is the Divine, belongs to the Divine, then it is all bliss, it is all the play of the Divine, the lila. That leads to eternal happiness and bliss.

The third assertion of the Buddha is that there is no-self. It is often said that this applies to everything both temporal and so-called divine things. My way of understanding this is that, yes, there is nothing that is independent from the Divine and in that sense there is no independent self. In the Advaita school, everything is Divine, everything is one and in that sense, there cannot be an independent self, everything is the Divine. In the Vishistadavaita philosophy, the manifested world, both living and non-living is the body of the Divine. The Divine is immortal and so is his body but the body is not the Divine fully just like our body is not completely ourselves. My finger cannot exist without being attached to my body; in that sense we cannot exist properly without being attached to the Divine’s body- otherwise there will be dukkha, anicca. But if we attach ourselves to the Divine, then it is Sat and Ananda. In other philosophies, there is the distinction that the finger is different from the body in one sense, but one can see that it is just a way of seeing and the same idea remains that one has to be yoked to the Divine. Essentially, what I am saying is that no-self means no independent self that exists in isolation from the Divine and the problems that we face is because of the fact that we cannot identify ourself with the Divine but keep thinking we are separate.

So,

understand that the forms are anicca, temporary; do not identify with the forms but identify with the Divine

understand that identifying with the forms and thinking that these forms independently exist is what leads to stress and suffering, dukkha; surrender to the Divine completely and understand that you are an eternal part of Him and once that happens, everything is bliss.

understand that you do not exist in isolation from the Divine; because you are a part of the Divine; then you understand that anatta, the understanding that you are not-self nor is anything except the Divine. The Buddha did not talk explicit about the Divine.

Buddhism has spread a lot today, especially in the Western world and there is a lot of things one can learn from the teachers of Buddhism today. The three marks of existence, if we view it this way, can help us deepen our understanding of our own path towards the Divine.

God Bless.

 

The Essence Of Meditation Practice

We all have this intrinsic awareness. We need to rest in this intrinsic awareness and allow the contents of the mind to appear and disappear without grasping, aversion or fear. Once that happens, there is comfort and ease. To rest in this intrinsic awareness and pay attention and see things as there without wanting to change anything is what brings about true change. It seems simple but is not easy. When this happens, we really know what the body, the feelings, the thoughts are, and what we really are.

We yearn to rest in this intrinsic awareness when we are not satisfied with the way our life is, in some aspect or the other. The paradox, however is, one can rest in this intrinsic awareness only if we accept the way things are. The journey, for some reason, is still necessary. The aspiration to rest in the intrinsic awareness is also necessary. In some ways, it is a new way of living, where one rests in this awareness rather than constantly being pulled and pushed here and there and to do that one has to let go, one has to surrender and one can call that an effortless effort, may be. We also need to be curious, in the sense of being open to what happens, rather than wanting something specific to happen. We also need to be kind and compassionate to everything that exists or arises, including yourself. We also need to let go in a kind and compassionate way what disturbs us being in that awareness.

All this first starts to happen, when we read something or meet somebody who sort of embodies this awareness and we then aspire to it. We then do some form of practice which gives us glimpses of this awareness. Then that may give us the conviction that we want to go all the way. That is when the aspiration really becomes strong. For most of us, the conviction is really not there and that is the issue. Once the conviction is there, one just practices being in the intrinsic awareness irrespective of whether it gives us pleasurable experiences or not.For we have then surrendered to that intrinsic awareness and deep down, we somehow know that this is the path. Once we have done that, we can rest in the background stillness, no matter what happens. But that does not happen in a day or sometimes even in a decade. That is why practice resting in the awareness is necessary and extending the practice to our moments of life where there may not be quiet in the sense of what quiet means. But quiet is in the background of everything and that is what we need to rest in. Simple but not easy.

Having a place, a time, a ritual for doing the practice is useful, just like a growing plant needs to be protected from too much wind by a protection. Once the awareness becomes stronger, then you may not need the protection. You may still keep it as something that anchors you. The practice is simple, but not easy. You need to let go; you do not hold anything nor do you accumulate anything. You just be, aware and let go of everything. There is nothing to achieve. Just sit and be aware. If something needs to happen, it will happen. If nothing happens, then that is what needs to happen. No expectations, no results. Just sit and be aware of the breath. If thoughts come, be aware of it and let it go. Go back to the breath. Keep being aware of the breath and let other things, thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations go. Let them come if they want, let them go. The awareness of the breath. At some point: the tummy, the chest, the nostril. Gentle and let everything else go.

Accept everything, your life as it is, pleasure and pain, fame and dishonour, success and failure, the life we have now and just become aware. Be aware of the breath. When other things come up, gently be aware of them and let them go –  thoughts, feelings, expectations, beliefs, death, life. When this happens we may really know who we really are, but that cannot be communicated in a way that makes you really understand. Whatever is said is words. Just like one knows the smell of a rose but one cannot describe it.

Things do come up that prevents us from constant awareness – desires, aversions, restlessness, sleepiness, doubt and a mixture of these. They may come for various reasons. Be aware of them and let them go. Ultimately these things happen because we do not know who we really are and that we want something and do not want other things. But if we surrender to just being in the intrinsic awareness, then do they matter…. once we have truly surrendered it does not matter. The problem is to truly surrender to that intrinsic awareness and let it do what it wants to do.

The problem is that we interfere because we think we know what the correct way is and hence we desire certain things and avoid others. whatever experiences arise, good or bad, be with it. The stories of your life, the heart breaks and achievements are like waves on the ocean. If we choose the waves, then we will be tossed up and down and lose them anyway. If we choose the ocean, the intrinsic awareness, then what arises does not matter. They will come and they will go.

Be kind to them, though. Be kind and compassionate to everything, yourself, your surroundings, you family, your friends, enemies, world, universe. Wish that they be free of suffering. Wish that they are blissful and happy. When we live this way, there is fearlessness, courage, rapture, joy, bliss, freedom from desire and satisfaction, serenity, diligence, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom, absence of idle chatter and learning to relax to the present moment and being aware of the intrinsic awareness.

To start, this means to:

  • Knowing how things are really in this moment, just as they are, without adding anything else.
  • Recognize the space like awareness in which this is all happening.

But life does not happen only in meditation.

There is a life where we do things and interact with people. We need to be aware that suffering happens when we do not accept what happens, when we are not kind and compassionate towards anything. Untruthful, divisive, hurtful or unconscious ways of speaking, killing, stealing, hurting or misusing others sexually leads to suffering. We need to earn our living in a way that does not entail harmful speech and action. The practice of mindfulness and concentration, of resting in our intrinsic awareness helps us  being present in all these ways with every aspect of ourselves and the world around us.

So,

Sit for a short period, 30 minutes to one hour, rather than a long period that is unmanageable. Do not want experiences. Just sit and rest in the intrinsic awareness, being aware of the breath. Do it daily and this will nourish you. A certain sense of basic wisdom arises and you become calmer and wiser and start to do things differently. However, do not make a big fuss about it or think you are doing something holy. The key is to keep doing it, no matter what happens, whether you get a “good” meditation or “not”. Everything is as it is and different and realising this helps a lot. You will experience comfortable and uncomfortable things and that is okay. Just be aware and let them go. Be patient. Do not judge your practice; it’s all fine. Have a structure, have a teacher if possible. Awareness that this body and the experiences in this life will one day pass on can help you be grounded. Do not look for something. Be satisfied with this precious moment. Do not look for some kind of special light, some special experience, some special openness. That creates struggle. Let go of wanting special experiences. The ordinary experiences are good enough. Practising in a group may help. Do not ask why you should do it, or how you should do it. You can think of a thousand reasons to do it, a thousand reasons to not do it. You know in your heart that it is good to do it. So do it. Keep calm, have no expectations, surrender and relinquish and stay doing it. The most important thing for practice is to practise and not to give up.

Now,

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Be aware of the sounds within you and outside you. Just let them come to you. Do not reach for them or think about them.
  • Be come aware of your breath. Notice whether you are breathing in or breathing out. Not changing the breath in any way. Leave it as it is.
  • Notice where you feel the breath strongly: nose, nostrils and upper lip or throat and chest or in your abdomen. Choose one place to rest your awareness.
  • As you feel the breath, perhaps name it: in and out, rising and falling, So and Ham, Bud and Dho, etc. This helps concentration but the awareness of the sensation of breath is most important.
  • Notice that there be a small pause at the end of inhalation and the end of exhalation. If you notice the pause have a sense of being in your body, a body that is breathing.
  • When thoughts or feelings fill the mind, when you become caught in them and are carried away – when you realise this has happened, in a kind voice name this ‘thinking’ and return to the breath.
  • Continue..When you end sitting return to the sounds inside and outside and carry this mindfulness into your life.

God Bless.

-reflections from ” Why Can’t I Meditate” by Nigel Wellings.