Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’
Watch this video in HD. (Recommended)
You may have noticed that there haven’t been any posts here recently. A few days ago I returned from a 30-day solo camping trip into the forest. (That’s where the photos and videos shot in the video above came from.) After the initial 6-day trip where a lot of internal things arose but didn’t fully complete, it was time to dive in and see what would happen when I go full out…
You know the stories about Jesus going into the desert for 40 days or Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree for I think 7 week or so? As the stories go, Jesus was met by the devil who tried to lead him into temptation and the Buddha met Mara who similarly threw all these demons (ego stuff) at him but the Buddha wouldn’t follow any of that and continued to sit in silence. Both of these experiences are central to their awakenings. As the saying goes, be still and know.
Having heard these stories, I certainly had high expectations for my 30-day outing into the forest. “Let’s go face my inner demons and get totally enlightened too! Yeah!!”
What actually happened, looking back in retrospect? Well while I literally have no desire to get into the details of the experiences, the shifts, the experiences, the realizations, the transformations, and yada yada yada the way I used to, what I do have some interest in saying is that it was perhaps one of the most internally catastrophic periods in my life I’ve ever experienced. One of the many things that was unexpectedly destroyed, much to my surprise actually, was my interest in continually talking about, thinking about, teaching about, or in any way making spirituality a central aspect of my life. The realizations, the search, the even apparent progress… who cares?!?
It’s like, when you learn how to walk, just walk! There’s no need to keep talking about how you put one foot in front of the other. You just walk… When you stop spending so much time talking about walking and you may just discover that you can walk and chew gum at the same time. So much energy freed up for other things in life! For life to be as it IS, as it naturally wants to arise, without us trying to turn it into what we think it should be.
To be perfectly honest, I just don’t care about yakking about all this stuff anymore. If I never hear another word about enlightenment, awakening, non-duality, oneness, the law of attraction, metaphysics, or any of this stuff, it would literally make no difference. At the same time, having been back in mankind’s civilized world for a few days now, I’ve noticed that whenever the topics do arise in conversation, it’s just a natural part of the flow, and when it’s done, it’s done.
There’s nothing to say, nothing to do. You just BE who you are, naturally, and that’s the whole point. Be yourself… and let’s get on with living life!
Living the Outdoor Life
At this point my intuition, excitement, and passion are all guiding me more and more towards spending more time being outdoors and leading a simple life. Just LIVE it. It’s as simple as that. Just BE.
As such, this may be my last post on this blog. This may be the start of a new approach to this blog. To be perfectly honest, I literally have no idea if I’ll ever have another urge to write anything here again, and either way is just as fine.
Because of this, I’m posting this post to bring a sense of closure to what once was, to this site’s former existence.
The forums I’m going to keep open because intuitively it feels right for whatever reason, but I don’t know what will become of this blog from here on out.
My travel photoblog I will remain active on and you can catch me there. From Georgia to Colorado to California, I am going to be headed up to Alaska next. Woohoo!!
(and before you ask, yes I’ve seen the movie Into the Wild (great movie by the way), and yes the irony of me also being an outdoorsy guy traveling solo from Georgia to Alaska on a sort of epic adventure hasn’t escaped me either.. but no, I’m not copying him. haha.)
In any event, I want to thank you all for being here and experiencing this journey with me as you have. It’s been a fun ride and I’m so grateful that you are all here living your version of it as well.
Consciousness. Awareness. I used to think this was synonymous with the ‘I Am’, but now it looks like they’re actually two distinctly unique things.
Nisargadatta Maharaj has a text titled Prior to Consciousness (you can find some quotes from it here). I remember reading over some of the quotes some time ago and noticing how much of it went right over my head. “Prior to Consciousness?” Can anything really exist apart from consciousness? (If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?) What kind of reality is existence without consciousness? Is Nisargadatta arguing semantics here or is he rockin’ out some ninja-level mojo here?
It turns out life decided to set up a really powerful experience to help me understand what he meant…
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mk guys and gals, here’s a homework assignment for you. I’d like for you guys to do this and then report back in with your results in the forum comments.
Meditate without trying to accomplish anything.
Set aside some time to just go sit and be.
Don’t try to do a good job meditating, don’t try to be super still, don’t try to get enlightened, don’t control your breathing, don’t try to maintain a proper posture, don’t worry about what to do, don’t try to be successful, don’t try to experience deeper states of peace, don’t try to raise your level of consciousness, don’t try to destress, don’t try to make anything happen, don’t try to quiet your mind, don’t have any expectations for any results whatsoever… literally nothing, ya dig?
See what happens and share with us what you find.
Whether nothing happens at all, whether your have some super spectacular grand revelation, whether you decide instead to go pick your nose, or whether you become the next living Buddha, whatever. There’s no such thing as a wrong answer or a failed attempt. How can there be if there’s no goal?
No expectations. No right or wrong.
I have attempted meditation in the past, but for one reason or another was inconsistent in my practice. Recently, I have begun my attempts again with meditation, and the spiritual enlightenment process- but this time I am very serious about it. I am ready to embark on my spiritual journey, and I am in it for the long haul. Strangely enough though, the past week or so I have become even more stressed, which seems to be counter intuitive to what this whole process is about. When I try to meditate I just become frustrated, and when I think about it I feel stressed and fearful. I know that it is directly due to my ego, and the insecurity that initially comes with one stepping outside of their comfort zone. I read your entry about forgetting all truths, and I think that that is one of my biggest problems. I read about “all of this stuff” and subconsciously develop these unrealistic expectations. I am just having so much trouble letting my mind go blank, is it like this for everyone in the beginning? If you could give me some insight, and maybe some advice/tips I would appreciate it so much. I randomly came across your website, but I am very grateful I did. You have really helped me with all of your posts.
Hey there J. Awesome questions. What you’re asking about are some super common things that arise so don’t worry, nothing’s gone wrong. You’re on the right track.
Frustration and Stress in Meditation
I am ready to embark on my spiritual journey, and I am in it for the long haul. Strangely enough though, the past week or so I have become even more stressed, which seems to be counter intuitive to what this whole process is about. When I try to meditate I just become frustrated, and when I think about it I feel stressed and fearful. I know that it is directly due to my ego, and the insecurity that initially comes with one stepping outside of their comfort zone.
Yeah, we would hope that when we go into meditation, we’d immediately go into a state of incredible peace and bliss. It turns out though, that there’s a little bit more of a process to it than that, which is exactly what you’re seeing.
It’s very common to begin experiencing emotional roller coasters as you begin meditating. Basically what happens is that when you start looking at that stuff inside that you’ve been avoiding in the past for whatever reason, it comes right up. It’s like the ego knows your buttons and exactly how to push ‘em to get you to quit seeing it for what it is.
As you said, it’s part of stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you can just allow yourself to feel whatever feelings arise in the moment, that’s all that’s necessary. The practice of meditation becomes nothing more than an openness and allowance to experience anything that arises without identification with it.
The more you can surrender to it, the more quickly it will pass.
I read about “all of this stuff” and subconsciously develop these unrealistic expectations.
Yeah, even the expectations are products of the mind, ideas that suggest that you should be experiencing something other than what you’re experiencing now. The future should be somehow better or different than what is now. This is just what minds do.
Minds can do amazing things, like even taking spiritual teachings and turning them into more mental gymnastics. Lots of things arise, like these subconscious expectations, that can be consciously let go of once they are recognized for what they are: just more mind stuff.
We continue to go deeper and deeper, layer by layer.
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Recently I’d posted about some repressed sadness that had been rising up to the surface within me to finally be released.
Last week I decided to simply quit spinning it around in my mind and emotional center and to simply go within and meditate. In meditation, I did a few main things:
- Withdraw attention, energy, and interest from thought and emotion
- Return awareness back to awareness itself
- Surrender away all else without resistance
The key is not to try and fix ANYTHING, but to literally sit as the Self (conscious awareness itself), and allow everything else to fall away by offering it no resistance.
This may sound like it’s not accomplishing anything, as if no problems are being adequately dealt with, but believe me, this will impact you on an entirely different level…
There’s this idea that surrender means giving up, waving a white flag, and proclaiming our own weakness and sense of inability to accomplish our goals. This is NOT what is meant here. By surrender, I am simply saying to fully allow things to be the way they are and to let go of resistance. Be fully open without closing down.
After maybe 20-25 minutes of sitting in meditation, something amazing opened up and I realized a deeper part of my being, of who I truly am.
Beneath this idea of a little “me” and all the emotions and thoughts and stories it conjures up, there’s this infinitely more amazing world. Read More …
I’m sitting outside in the garden now looking around at all the “form” that surrounds me… plants, flowers, trees… cars, homes, bees… statues, stones, leaves…
After a relatively brief meditation session, I opened my eyes and began looking at my surroundings, simply observing without allowing the mind to hop in and insert its commentary and labels. Just looking and allowing all color, form, shape, and movement to flow into my eyes as one seamless flow of light.
Suddenly I realized what I was seeing and burst out laughing.
Underneath all form is a dance of formless energy. Nothing is solid, real, or permanent. What we call physical and tangible is simply a dance of impermanence.
The building blocks of all form is the formlessness of pure non-physical energy.
It’s like this…
Look at this picture. What do you see coming from the light? Smoke. A dance of wispy smoke. Frozen in time in this image, we could look at this smoke and say it has a distinct, definable form. It has a structure, shape, color, and size. In fact, we can keep looking at it and it doesn’t move. It must be permanent!
As we know, however, the shape of smoke is constantly subject to air currents and the flow of all of life itself. It’s constantly moving and evolving. Despite any appearances of form or structure, we know that smoke is truly formless. It has simply takes on the appearance of a particular form in every changing moment.
Every thing you see in life is just like this smoke. It is the appearance of form created by the formless.
Nothing is truly concrete or solid, despite outer appearances.
Look at a growing plant without mentalization and what you see is the dance of formlessness. It is a formless flow of energy temporarily taking the shape of a plant.
Everything in life is like smoke, just moving a little more slowly or more quickly. Some things are physically more dense so they move more slowly. The smoke from a flame is not very dense so it moves relatively quickly. A human body walks around somewhat more slowly. A stone cathedral, which is very dense, changes even more slowly.
Yet given enough time, they will all equally be reduced to dust.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
There is an inherent vulnerability in all form. When we see someone or something putting up a protective shield, be they the thorns of a plant, the anger of a person, or the walls around a castle, we recognize that these defenses are simply the result of “something” being fearful of its own dissolution and subsequently doing whatever it can to solidify its sense of permanence.
Yet what we often recognize as most beautiful in life is that which is vulnerable… the petals of a flower, the breeze over the ocean, the gracefulness of a ballerina, the body of a young woman, the fluidity of a symphony, a sleeping baby, the chirping of a bird, a siren’s song, curves.
Vulnerability is the true strength, for it is in alignment with the permanent impermanence. That which is vulnerable can never be destroyed. It can certainly change forms and evolve, expand and contract. It always will, and recognizing this fact, one may let go of trying to maintain their current state and allow their own light to shine forth from within.
This awareness comes from beyond the mind. The true strength of formless vulnerability can not be seen by trying to look for it. It’s the timelessness of all that is. It’s the gentle touch and the powerful crash. It is that which can not be named, for it is simply just something that is. It exists. You can talk about it, but you can not say what it is.
Its presence arises naturally as the mind goes quiet and stops noisily covering up that infinite vastness.
It is a peace, yet beyond the most infinite peace you can imagine. It is truly beyond all imagination, beyond your wildest dreams.
You can tap into it whenever you wish. It is always there, lovingly awaiting your conscious return.
What would life be like if we really stopped focusing so much on what we’re doing and instead started focusing only on who we’re being?
One of the central ideas behind divine energy is the nothingness, emptiness, stillness, and spaciousness.
The more you meditate and go within, the more you begin to drop extraneous unnecessary doingness. External doing such as freaking out or arguing. Internal doing like worrying or thinking. Progressively, a stillness of being flows into you and is expressed outwardly through you. As within, so without.
You represent a level of peacefulness and imperturbability that is truly beyond this world.
You become able to concentrate and focus on a certain task and accomplish it with lightness and ease, effectively and swiftly. Single-pointedness of mind allows you to laser focus all the energy that would otherwise be wasted into exactly what you’re doing.
If you choose to be loving, you then become TOTALLY loving. Your love can be explosive, expressive, & extraordinary. You radiate love with your entire being, with nothing holding you back. The focus is on being loving and that’s all you are: loving.
Typically when people feel unloved, they may try to figure out how they can feel more loved. Their mind may reason that by doing more loving things for others, they will automatically be more deserving of love and should therefore receive back all the love they crave. However, when coming from the ego/mind like this, it’s actually coming from a place of neediness and is not the way to create lasting and harmonious results.
Transcending egoic insecurities and fears are not accomplished by changing what you do, but rather by transforming who you’re being. Instead of trying to figure out what to do to feel more loved, just BE loving. Just BE truly loved. With no strings attached. Then, whatever you do will come from the feeling of being loved and the world will have no choice but to respond in kind.
Because the world is a mirror of your inner state of being, you must always change FIRST who you’re being in order to adjust the reflection you’re seeing in the world.
Our whole society is wrapped up in doingness. Being busy. Achieving the American dream. When people get older in this society, they’re considered practically worthless. Why? Because they can’t do much. They simply sit around and exist. They just be. People get depressed about it, yet this could turn into one of the most transformational opportunities of their lives if they only realized just how much they’re simply being and that all that’s necessary is to simply be who you really are. Without realizing it, they’re soooo close to creating the feeling of inner peace.
Being who you really are is the solution to more than people realize.
They’ll ask stuff like “How do I become a good manifester?” Simple. Just be a good manifester! Know that you’re awesome when it comes to creating what you want and that the universe will ALWAYS support you in experiencing whatever reality you so desire. Live this new reality Now.
You already ARE everything you want to experience. All it takes to have the experience is to know that you already are it now. I don’t mean this in some far-off metaphorical sense. I mean this LITERALLY.
Be whomever you wish to be and thus that will be your reality. Period.
Make the experience you wish to have part of you. Be the life you wish to live. Merge with it so that there is only Oneness. The experience is you.
Getting back to being vs. doing, yes, what you do is still important in life, but not in the way most people think. What your body does is a reflection of who you are and what you’re being. Again, this is where people have it backwards. They’ll do things to try and make themselves happy.
The true order is that you are happy and thus, you do things that are in alignment with your inner happiness, giving you “happy” results. What you do in life is a good measuring tape for what you’re being, the same way your emotions are a good indicator of your primary, dominant thought patterns in that moment.
Allow your body to do whatever it naturally feels guided to do and focus ONLY on who you’re being in the moment.
“I of my own self can do nothing, it is the Father within me who is doing the work.”
As you surrender away the personal self, the individual doer, you are open to allowing God to work through you, to be his hands and feet here on earth and manifest Heaven on Earth.
When the soul reaches complete mastery, it is no longer trying to DO anything in this world at all. It is simply BEING who it is and consequently allowing the higher spiritual self to work through it.
Focus ONLY on who you choose to BE in any moment in time. Whatever action feels most in alignment with that state of being, allow the body to DO exactly that.
Meditation is often talked about as a stress-reduction tool.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of meditation and see why it works the way it does.
Most people today are unconscious. This means that when a stimulus comes up, the person automatically reacts in a certain way based on their beliefs and emotional surges. This is particularly dominant when the painbody overtakes the person.
One of the main aspects of meditation is that you simply sit in silent presence and allow yourself to be aware of your mind, your body, your surroundings, and all the stimuli that is constantly competing for your attention.
There’s a bazillion things we could pay attention to at any moment, but our brain (thankfully) helps us focus our awareness down to just a few things at any point in time.
In meditation, you allow yourself to sit still and consciously choose not to react to any mental or physical stimuli such as your thoughts, things you need to do now or later, any itchy sensations, sounds and noises in your environment, and so on. All the stuff that would normally pull you in a certain direction, you allow yourself to notice those things without getting pulled away from your meditation. They start to lose their control over you because you come to realize that hey, wait a sec, I don’t HAVE to respond to this stuff.
What happens is that by doing this, you notice a gap between a stimulus and your response.
Most people operate primarily unconsciously. That is, when there’s a stimulus such as someone saying, “You’re an idiot” or, “You’re wonderful,” these statements make them automatically react a certain way.
Through meditation, you come to be conscious of the small gap between a stimulus and your response. You become aware of the possibility of actually choosing your response consciously to any circumstance instead of being controlled by every external event that is beyond your control.
Stress is basically the feeling that life is getting out of hand and we’re losing control. It’s a sense of pressure beyond normal levels which leads to anxiety, discomfort, and fear. This stress is all mental. It all exists in the mind, in one’s imagination, no matter how real or justified it feels.
When one doesn’t know how to manage this stress, it commonly grows stronger and becomes more and more amplified.
A wonderful thing about meditation is that it gives you practice in consciously choosing your response to what is instead of unconsciously reacting to what is.
There is tremendous power in this consciousness, in the sense of presence that one embodies.
Being unconscious makes you feel confusion and anxiety. This confusion clouds over your inner knowingness and makes it harder to realize solutions to life’s problems.
Being conscious and fully present brings in a sense of clarity and focus. From this place, solutions are easy to come up with. You begin to feel like an oak tree who is certainly aware of and conscious of life’s twists and turns, but you don’t get pulled every which way. You maintain your centeredness and stillness, your sense of inner peace and freedom.
Instead of being pulled away from your centeredness, you get better and better at maintaining a sense of inner peace no matter what is happening externally or in your mind.
Meditation is a wonderful practice towards helping one deal with stress, in the short term and especially over the long term. It’s a way of life, a way of being.
The ability to easily handle stress and maintain a sense of clarity and stillness while life continues to unfold all around you is but one of the many fruits of regular meditation.
Strengthen your roots and you’ll enjoy some delicious fruits.