What is Meditation?

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Meditation is not a doing. It is the realization that you are. It is Being – Eckhart Tolle

When most people think of meditation they think of a practice of sitting in a crossed legged position, with the aim of quieting the mind or achieving some higher state of consciousness, to obtain some state of peace and tranquility in the midst of our busy hectic lives. All these have relevance in terms of meditation, you can say they are by-products of meditation. Let us take the great Yogi Patanjali, in his Yoga Sultras. Considered by many to be the definition of the philosophy of yoga, he defines yoga/meditation (this unified state of being) as, The cessations of the fluctuations of the mind.  The next Sultra completes the statement by saying – And then the Seer abides in it true nature. So, let me re-phrase this so it can be better understood. The first part suggests, that with allowing of the mind to quieten, a space is revealed in which, the second part – the Seer (awareness) sits in its pure state, pure consciousness, free of concern, detached from thought. Being. This is the state of true meditation.

We must understand that ultimately what we are talking about, is something that can not be objectified in words. Meditation in its greatest sense, is recognizing, that it is the Subject itself. Life, Awareness, Consciousness, God – which ever you choose and which even these words, are ultimately objectifications of this mystery that can’t be named. So from now on i will use these words as pointers to this subject. It is beyond any ‘thing’, beyond any word or concept, as are you. That is truly your fullness. So when you use the mind to label and objectify some’thing’ remember it can not be the truth as what this Awareness, Presence, Life is, is not a thing, it simply Is, before conceptualization. This is why meditation can seem so slippery. So let me give you some tips on how we can allow this revelation to arise.

Meditation can be said is the awareness, that everything arises in.. for example As you read these words now, the words, the thoughts, the room you are in and the sky above your head are all arising now inside your awareness. Meditation is the recognition of this spontaneous perfection and the allowing of all of the thoughts, sensations and experiences to be there. which is already, always happening, is it not?.

Now the trick is to allow the experience to arise, and observe and embrace the moment as it is, whether that is felt as fear, tension, anxiety, depression, love, joy or contentment. Can we stop and allow ourselves to accept the arising World, with its flavors and textures, without judging, resisting or holding onto them or even the idea of them which is of the mind. We can watch the body and mind and its sensations and judgements, yet the mastery is the ability to be aware and allow the thoughts and sensations to be there as a expression of your true experience. This is being. Aware yet detached from the ‘things’ that arise.

There is a beautiful metaphor to describe the play of meditation – your awareness is the vast sky and your thoughts and sensations are the passing clouds. We can acknowledge, how like thoughts and sensations, clouds come and go (unless you live in the uk.. haha) they are temporary, always appearing, staying for some time and dissolving. Even when the clouds are thick we know the sky (our awareness) is always there as the canvas for the clouds. Our awareness shines regardless of the fluctuations of thoughts and sensations, so if we are able to perceive the transitory nature of thoughts and sensations we can better recognize the awareness that the thoughts and sensations arise in.

As we learn to accept this natural aspect of human experience (thoughts emotions and sensations), not as a hinder in meditation, but rather one that enriches our experience, for the simple reason of being. Being does not deny anything, as its nature it is accepting, which is why being is so intimately linked with the heart, as the Heart is the source, you can say, of unconditional love.

We then need to recognize the dual nature of the mind and the role it plays as a tool for the intellect, logic and memory and how thoughts in themselves can be seen as either projections to past or future situations. The mind therefore can be seen as the obstacle  of meditation, as the nature of meditation is Unity Consciousness, Oneness, which can again be said, is of the heart.. The mind has its polar hemispheres symbolizing duality whilst the Heart is the symbol of Unity & love. The mind will always have an question, the heart will always have an answer. Yet in reality there are no obstacles to consciousness and this is the approach to take with the practice of meditation in relation to the body-mind fluctuations.

So let us become intimate with our present moment.. Allowing the bubbling in your stomach that arises before you make a big presentation, allow the grief to be there when your best friend from school passes away. Just in the same way you completely allow yourself to feel the love and gratitude you have for your friends and family or the unconditional love your pets show you every day. Stop resisting your experience, become truly conscious to it! If you have pain, feel the pain completely, honor your experience in the Now. When we resist our experience, however it is arising, we are saying that is moment shouldn’t be this way, or that life is wrong. This is one of the causes of suffering, failing to accept this moment you are experiencing as it is. Now that is not to say you sit back while you receive abuse for example. Abuse, whether physical, emotional or any other form is not to be tolerated, yet you can take yourself out of a situation and still have compassion and awareness for yourself and the other. We can own our inner experience and it is from this place that meditation empowers us. If we can accept these thoughts and emotions that become alive in us, we embrace the moment fully. In fact this is the opening to peace, through the embrace of who you are in this moment….                          and this moment…                          and this moment.

One of the traps of the mind is to find yourself saying “i want peace” “i want unconditional love” “i want to meditate”, this is suggesting that you are not already full and whole as you are, that you are separate from peace or love. This is not possible, as it is the very fabric and nature of consciousness – that you are. These statements are of the mind reinforcing the belief in separation, that I am here and Peace & love are outside of me, or they are things to be obtained. We can ask the question, Who wants peace and love? If it is, of the mind and i am aware, when the mind is not there, then Who Am I?

The awakening, meditation can reveal, is the realization, I stands alone as consciousness, before I Am or I Am This or That, with nothing to obtain. That you are whole, complete and everlasting. Meditation reveals the very source of creation and the entire universe is within you. Let us summarize this with a quote from possibly the most well known person in human history, who happened to know a thing of too about this stuff… apparently.

The kingdom of God is within you – J.C.

Remembering every single word on this page is but a pointer, it can never be the truth as the truth is beyond concepts and written words and recognizing the nature of mind. If we can learn to accept the mind, through the practice of meditation, it can surrender its position of control to allow the passivity of the Heart to lead our lives. Take this wonderment of who you are with you, as you embrace the majesty of life, inside and out.

 

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The Relationship Between Productivity & Stillness

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In our busy day to day lives, we are being called to be more productive. Whether that is at work, as part of the family or maybe through some personal or social interest as a way to efficiently create fluid systems or we can say progress, which benefit our lives. That is, after all the idea of collective evolution right, progress? How can this be achieved whilst maintaining healthy balanced beings to expand their abilities productivity and state of being, instead of overloading us with the “more work-less time” mentality of the modern age.

Lets define productivity first.

Productivity. the state or quality of producing something.

Now with this in mind, Let us consider “the state” we are in when we are producing, whatever it is, we are engaged in. The state of being is very important when we are in the process of creating something, whether that be an assessment for the boss, painting a picture, cooking our food or connecting with a loved one. In all these instances and in every instant, whether you are aware you are creating something or not, the state of being we are in is going to affect our productivity and the World we experience around us. For example, you are at work and someone just told you your car has been towed away. You may be feeling very angry, you can not get the car til you have finished your day. At this point you continue with your tasks. Most likely, your mind is going to be very active and not focused on your creation and even if there is focus, how much has this incident affected your state of being and your productive abilities? Likely, your productivity will go down, or as the statement suggests, the quality of the production will go down..  This is important then, that we become aware of these moments and look to shift from these negatively influential states of being to positively affect our productivity. Actively promoting the well being-ness of our staff, loved ones and anyone else for that matter is obvious, right?

How do we remain centered to allow the productivity to flow?

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This is where stillness comes in…

Without jumping on the need to sit in lotus meditation position, burn incense and chant Harri Om 108 time, the ability for us to find moments in our day to simply become still. We know from moments in our lives when something stressful has happened and the need to walk out of the door for 5 minutes and take yourself away from that situation, this can be seen as a natural response which more often then not helps to calm the state of being. When we apply this to becoming still for some time, the same disconnection from that trigger can take place. Its almost like we are unplugging from the energy or situation at hand that is causing us disharmony. We can all likely connect to our Mother’s or Father’s advice to breath when we have hurt ourselves or we are very upset.. this is linking us back to our center. By breathing consciously and particularly by remaining still, we are able to detach and find the inner peace and silence within where those difficult moment fade away.

When we hear the word stillness we immediately think of it as the opposite of movement – but stillness is something quite different altogether. Stillness is an energetic quality of being. I read recently a very beautiful metaphor to describe the qualities and benefits of stillness. It goes like this…

Imagine a glass full of water scooped up from a puddle in a field. It’s muddy and swirling around – rather like our daily lives, full of activity and messiness and life! But if you put that glass of water down and let it sit, it clears itself. STILLNESS allows the dirt to settle to the bottom and the water to clear.

This description of the murky water settling is a perfect example of the clarity and state of being stillness brings. the murky water, after experiencing stillness, can be seen as the running mind, stirred up, active and unsettled. When we allow ourselves time to be still, to be, we create space for clear perspectives to arise, new ideas to emerge, new ways to approach our lives. Even for a few minutes a day, or moments between activities, closing the eyes and going within can re-balance us. You can do this in the office lift or waiting for the train or the first and last 10 minutes between sleeping. This is where we reset ourselves, freeing ourselves from the past and not caring about the future, which are of mental projections. The stillness brings us into the Now, which is the only moment you have ever experienced. Every moment you have ever experienced, has been in the Now moment and this is where stillness takes us – to presence.

For me the three main benefits of stillness are –

*The ability to connect to my true essence, my center. Living from the inside out. In presence.

*The clarity and peace of mind it brings, where new ideas spring forth.

*The detachment from doing.

If we can learn to become human beings instead of the humans doing the majority of people are participating in, in today’s society, we can find the complimentary balance between productivity and stillness. Where we can acknowledge the benefits stillness brings to our productivity, we can create a higher quality of state of being, which will be reflected in our quality of production and the World we experience around us.

“Wisdom requires the discerning, the listening to, the acknowledgement of nudges and notions, of senses and sensations, of the minute and what we often mistakenly assume is the  mundane. Wisdom means listening to the still, small voice, the whisper that can be easily lost in the whirlwind of busyness, expectations, and conventions of the world.” Jean M. Blomquist