“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
– the Dalai Lama
One of the greatest ills of our society is the inability for people to handle their thoughts and emotions. Because this is never taught in school, people go their whole lives without ever knowing what they should do when they are faced with fear, grief, anger…or any other emotions, sensation or indeed intrusive thoughts. The rampant use of drugs and alcohol, the numbing of ourselves on pointless entertainment and reality TV shows, the inability to have happy and fulfilling relationships, innumerable amount of mental and physical health problems…have as one of their root causes the total helplessness of humanity in facing, handling or even acknowledging their inner pain.
For men this is often even worse, as it is so often silently agreed upon that feeling or showing emotions is somehow not masculine. This is of course total nonsense. Thankfully throughout recent years this notion has slowly been changing, at least somewhat, with the rapid onset of abnormally large amounts of mental illness in our society (making it impossible for people to hide their true feelings any longer), as well as potential solutions surfacing, like meditative practices, journaling and various forms of introspection.
So many people nowadays, I would argue the majority, are completely cut off from their feelings. They live their lives entirely in their heads, unable and unwilling (since nobody has told them it has any value) to feel their body and any emotions, sensations…present in it. They distract themselves endlessly and live their lives as if their inner world was not real – without knowing the truth that their subconscious is controlling them and influencing their actions far more than they realize. Continue reading
We all live in a hectic world where constant activity is cherished beyond everything else. You are often even seen as more successful and productive if you constantly and consistently are (or at least appear to be) very busy.
But it is often that our busyness (or shall we say “business”?) can lead us astray. We may be constantly doing something, but is the path we are carving forward really in tune with our deepest desires and indeed our deepest selves? You may run as fast as you can, yet when you are running in the wrong (or at least sub-optimal) direction, you may end up lost and confused, while simply a casual stroll on the right path could have led you home.
How do we come to our core and allow ourselves to realign with our optimal path? The key lies in allowing ourselves to be. This to me, is the most wondrous practice, that I indulge in regularly. But really, even calling it a practice is missing the mark. If you allow yourself to be as you are, you are not really doing something – rather, you are actively doing nothing, which in Taoism is called the art of Wu Wei.
Indeed this, as you may have noticed, is the essence of meditation. But as much as a regular meditation habit can be very helpful, it is imperative to connect this to the rest of your life. Not only to connect it, but to understand its importance and implication, see it as something far beyond a practice, but as a new way of living life – understanding that what you are missing is right in front of you and noticing that as you allow yourself to touch what is, you will be renewed and your life rejuvenated.
So for a moment, right now, allow yourself to simply be. Allow yourself to relax, yet remain at full alertness. If you intend and allow your awareness to be swallowed by thought, you will move into unconsciousness, and ultimately into the sleep state. This is not what we are attempting here. We are attempting an open relaxed alertness, one that embraces all that comes onto its path.