Dear LY, I’m coming to you from a very fragile place. As a black woman, I’ve experienced the worst facets of humanity, and I find it hard to meet these situations with love and careful attention. Currently, I have to switch study abroad programs due to extreme racism in the country I’m currently in, and I feel as if I have no where to turn since this is a universal issue. My heart is sick and heavy and I’ve lost every hope. Your blog has always comforted me over the years–any words of wisdom?
The reality is that we cannot afford to wait for the world to change before allowing ourselves peace. But once we have found some measure of peace, we will also find ourselves better equipped to meet the challenges of this world.
I cannot possibly understand the blind hate and cruelty you may have experienced and witnessed in your lifetime. All I can do is remind you that you can know peace regardless. From there, the insight and inspiration that will greet you may save the lives of many who have shared suffering similar to your own. You have the capacity to become a catalyst in your own right, simply by offering your own awakening.
The ignorance inherent in racism and discrimination is that we judge a living being by its appearance. We don’t see that aliveness, we see that skin color. We don’t see that existence, we see that gender.
We all experience this world differently. But if we turn within, the experience of existence is undivided.
Who are we without mind and body? What becomes of identity when identifications cease? Death will end all of that regardless, so why not explore it now?
If you identify with your physical body, then you will see other beings in terms of their body. If you judge yourself according to your gender identity, you will do the same for others.
This is why our own awakening is a service we can render unto the world. Your own liberation grants the liberation of others. If you turn within to rediscover and recognize the awareness that is more “you” than any transient appearance, the very radiance of which bliss and peace are made, then things are never the same again. You relate to other beings in a very different way. It’s impossible to say how, but changing the way you relate to others can often be an agent of change for them.
It does not mean you cannot appreciate your body, your culture, or your heritage, yet at the same time it frees you from being confined by and limited to them. You are incapable of getting pinned down by the judgments of any mind—be it your own or others.
Positive thoughts and ideas are not enough. We must practice and we must experience. There is no substitute for daily meditation, for enduring mindfulness, and for sincere prayer. These are the things which shake us out of our habits and transient identities and reveal the eternity within and around us.
Whichever country you are leaving, it is their loss. But this experience, so long as it urges you toward awakening and peace, is your gain.
Namaste sister. Sending you love.
Meditation: Why, What, and How?
Life pulls us in every direction but one: inward. As we go about our walk through this world, we not only have our own desires and needs to contend with but also those of the people with which we come into contact. In meditation, you come back to your Self as you truly are.
From birth onward, we are told what we are and what we are not. Meditation is the way to discover what it really means to exist; and the way to rest peacefully in that awareness.
Until you come to know the silence and stillness of your Being, you will remain a victim of your human body/mind. Your body/mind’s problems will be Your problems. Once you realize through experience that your body/mind is in You but You are not your body/mind, everything changes.
The world becomes a benevolent place without fear and without selfishness. Only then can you love all beings unconditionally and be of real service to the world.
What is Meditation?
In meditation, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. In that way meditation is unlike every other activity in which we have been forced to engage.
To quote Eckhart Tolle: “Doing is never enough if you neglect Being.”
There is nothing this world can give you that you do not already have within you. The pleasure that you think you get from experiences and people are really only your own reaction to those things. If you kick your dependency on the outer to give you permission to experience the inner, then you will know permanent joy.
When you sit for meditation, you observe and experience your human body and mind without judgement or analysis. In doing so, you will slowly come to a place of stillness and silence that bears witness to the body-mind without identifying with it. Far from creating a sense of depressed detachment, this experience brings with it a tremendous sense of relief.
You are like space itself, uncuttable and untouchable. And yet through the form of your human existence you may interact with this world as you please, with utter love and compassion.
How do I meditate?
Meditation is most effective when it is a daily practice. Otherwise it is very easy to forget your Self in the bustle of human living. 15-20 minutes a day would be a good starting point, but feel free to do less or more so long as you can continue that practice every day.
Sit somewhere reasonably quiet where you will not be disturbed. Set a timer or alarm so that you wont be thinking about the clock while you are sitting.
You can sit in any position so long as the back and neck are straight and the mind is alert.
Gently rest your gaze and attention on the spot between your eyebrows, known to some as the third eye chakra. This gives you a place to focus so that you may remain still without your eyes and thoughts wandering. Do not try to venture anywhere else in your mind, for it is only the body that can travel here or there. All places exist like imaginary bubbles floating in the vastness of Awareness. And the entry-point to Awareness is always Here.
So be exactly where you are. Relax. Thoughts and feelings will come. Let them. Do not judge or analyze them. Do not try to push them away. Do not follow any particular thought on a train of thinking.
If you do, simply let it go and bring your attention back to your third eye.
After a while, the gap between your thoughts will increase and you will find yourself in intensely wakeful silence. What happens from there cannot be described in words. But it will change you in many ways.
There is no perfect meditation or bad meditation. Every meditation is the meditation you needed. It is a process and it can take some time for certain mental karmas (the impressions and judgements of the mind) to fall away.
As my guru Sri ShivaRudraBalayogi insists, the three qualities of dedication, determination, and discipline are necessary for anyone who truly wishes to discover the nature of existence. It’s worth it.
Namaste, sangha. 🙂
Hi yogi. I recently restarted my meditation practice, and I am already feeling a lot of feelings and thoughts becoming unearthed, and it’s all very intense, but I think it’s for a good purpose. I know I have started and stopped meditating before, possibly because of this intense stage/ What can I do to insure that I will stick with the practice no matter how intense it gets? Hope this was clear. Thanks a lot.
Adopt a “do or die” mentality with respect to your meditation practice. Do not ask yourself whether you wish to keep meditating; just keep meditating.
If you have any aspect of a faith or devotion practice, that can help too. Prayer can be very empowering and inspiring. If you have a guru or teacher, surrendering to their grace can help to cool you down. But regardless, do not judge your practice. Just experience it and remain committed to it.
Despite being intense and difficult, this is a very healthy and significant stage in your practice. It is the kind of thing that precedes breakthrough.
Remember: this human incarnation is a precious opportunity. No other creature on this planet has both a mind and circumstance in which they can set aside animal instincts of survival and simply sit in awareness. What you are doing is honoring and applying the opportunity you have been given, nothing less.
Take heart. You walk with the blessings of eternity.