A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Posts tagged ‘World Peace’

The Golden Girl

I can see her through the kitchen window. She is flying higher and higher on her swing, chubby face split by an endless grin, flying hair bathed in a golden glow. The wind kisses her as she swings daringly higher each time, but her gurgling giggles fail to reach my ears. She has come to visit me, again, as she often does, soundless, and swathed in a golden light. I don’t really know her very well. I think I do, as she is me, at the age of three and a half, give or take. But she is really a phantom of those days, not the whole person that was me. Golden girl 1

I remember those halcyon days, and even later ones as I grew up. Every memory of those days has a warm golden glow to it. That little girl, growing up in that home, is always laughing, always running, with the shiny golden light setting her aglow. I know that my childhood, and youth, as every one else’s had moments of such bliss and moments not quite so blissful. But when I look out of windows, in my moments of peace, that is the girl I see.

This is the reason why, I am guessing, many wish to go back to those days. They wish to hold on to those moments of innocence, laughter and fear free joy. They say, in a voice languishing with memories and myths, “I wish I was a child again, I wish I was that free and innocent child, again, with no worries in the world, living that life, revisiting those events.” Yearning for that fleeting, probably (perish the thought) non existent, moment of perfection.

I look back at this girl with the golden smile, and I feel her freedom, and her carefree existence. I feel the sun again on my skin, and the certainty the world was just the way it should be, with a delicious dinner and a cosy bed at the end of the dreamy day. But does that mean that I wish to go back to those days? I don’t think so.

I think that what I miss is that girl’s outlook on life. Each moment of her existence is swathed in the present. She is playing, and laughing, in the moment. She does not have a care, not only because she is innocent, but because this moment is perfect, as it is. She may have fallen, or been chided for being “naughty”, or been made to drink warm smelly milk, but that is not in this moment. That is past, and the time for learning silly times tables or spellings is not yet, so this moment is free, golden and alight with laughter, and a bouncy sense of peace.

Perhaps that is what I yearn for. This strength to let the past be, and not worry about the future. My tendency to live in the moment survived for years, much later than some others around me. Then one day I realised that this characteristic in me was looked upon by people I respected, as being superficial. A child’s unconcern about the future or the past is loveable innocence, but to take this un-awareness into adulthood shows a lack of self analysis and self-awareness. I must have agreed with this view of life, so I trained myself to worry , and fret, and analyse my mistakes, and generally hold myself in low esteem because I was not perfect. I could never be perfect, so the constancy of my fretfulness was ensured. I trained myself to fret about things I could not change, and remember real and imagined downfalls for years, years and years. I learnt to fret about the future even if it was only 30 minutes away, and to worry that I had been wrong in the past, even if that past was five minutes ago. I learnt never to let go of the past, and never to be in the present. I learnt to try and change things, everything to fit a standard that now seems arbitrary. Since most things are not meant to be changed, I was caught in a constant vortex of mindful frustration.

Years later, even when I learned that those whom I had respected may have had their own imperfections to deal with, and demons to battle, I still continued on my harried and worried way. As a new age of awareness and acceptance slowly emerged and made itself felt worldwide, I began to see the sense of being in the present, though I still beat myself up about the not present at every opportunity. Even as I wised up to the fact that the little girl had probably been wiser than the big girl I now was, I still clung to my over analytic, hyper critical self. I had trained myself only too well.

But that little girl still lingers. She still pops in once in a while, and teaches me, that each moment is an adventure awash in golden light. That is all.

 

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Radiating the definitions

It is my belief that mediation works wonders for the individual, and by extension, to the community at large. I do believe that an ever increasing number of people taking time out their day to meditate, can only benefit the whole circle of existence. In the course of sharing my progress and responding to comments on my posts, I was reminded that meditation can mean different things to different people, as well as be a slightly confusing idea, in itself.

So I thought I needed to answer the question “what is meditation, really?” The first step was just to get on to Google. “The action or practice of meditating”. Right. That then took care of that, but left me in a circle not of my choosing.

Derived from the Latin verb “Meditari” which means to think, to contemplate, to ponder, the word is used these days to describe the act of quietening one’s mind and focussing on an idea or a thought. Or as is also commonly practised, emptying ones mind…

I believe that this sort of trance or contemplative state of mind can be more readily achieved by sitting down in a regular quiet place. If one sits down at the same time, at the same place, with the same candle lit, it is easier to slip into the mode. Hence most mediation classes advocate such a habit.

Most classes teach breathing techniques and relaxation techniques and lead the student down a well practised path of visualisation. My mother taught me to stare at the flame of a candle in a dark room, breathe slow and deep, and then close my eyes and hold the picture of the candle in my mind, and  visualise it come to the centre of my forehead, where the third eye is. She was very insistent that the mind had to be a blank and the image of the flame was all one was allowed to see. Needless to say that at the age of ten, such a feat was completely beyond me, and I did not even try. I just sat with my eyes closed until she said I could open them again. Even then, I knew that what she was trying to teach me had value, I did not realise that I was not attuned to her process. I ended feeling that meditating was for special, wise people.

Through my on again off again yoga journey through the years, each teacher has taught a different way to meditate. Sitting in those classes amidst the calm, vibrant energy of a number of yoga students, I have found each method to be of value.

I have also read and heard about a number of people’s experience with meditation. Some people find their mediative state through some activity or the other, and some people swear by bodily stillness. Also, in monasteries, monks bring the meditative experience to their daily chores and if they are doing it, it must work!

So, it seems to me, that meditation is a process through which one experiences oneself.  To the lay person like me, its value lies in the effect of calm and peace it brings. The increased ability to concentrate, and the slowing down of the heartbeat fills me with an awareness of myself beyond the flesh I can see. It makes me feel, that, I might not be very wise, but I might be getting there!

Some more thoughts on meditation:

Deepak Chopra explains meditation:

What happens during meditation?

 

 

 

How would you define meditation? I am curious. As soon as I tried to define it, it became too broad a question for me.

Onwards and Anon!

It was my intention to lead the Bodhi Circle through my practice of meditation. Instead, others are more regular and steadfast. In the meantime,  I stand steadfast in my non-practice.

One person has shared their visualisations with me, another person has shared how their aching shoulder ache has improved. What do I have to share? Nothing much.

Most days I forget when I get up, and when I go to bed, I remember as I am dropping off. This results in, sometimes, hurried three to five minutes at night time and not at all during the day.

So my meditation practice has become like my start everyday “tomorrow is a new beginning” yoga practice. In the meantime the middle aged spread settles in more securely.

So. I now make a new commitment. Tonight onwards I commit to the meditation circle again. I will turn the times around. Ten minutes at night, and 5 minutes in the morning. I firmly believe I will report major progress next time.

Love

Update: Last night I did meditate  – for about 4 minutes and 32 seconds… . 🙂 I can now follow my followers… into the Circle! Now that I have remembered, I will sit down right now and do my “morning” session! Blessings be!

Aside

First Impressions: The Circle Begins

After reading class 1 on my “learn meditation page” of choice, I decided to go ahead and incorporate the exercise in my own way.

Fresh from the resolve, and eager to get going, I hunkered down that night for my five minutes before bed. I looked at the time, set my intention for five minutes and settled down to the first of the first steps. Breathe in and out at least 7 times. I don’t really know how many times I actually did so, I was concentrating on breathing in the life force and love, and breathing out my frustrations and negativity. I noticed a slight tendency to hyper ventilate and adjusted my in breath to less long. Which then meant I had to shorten my out breath as I did not have enough air in me to breathe out. Sigh! Then, of course, there was the noise. The trucks rolling past on the highway, the last of the neighbours hunkering down for the nights, and finishing up in their kitchens, and a host of other noises that I normally do not notice.

Aha! I am supposed to notice them, and let them go, so I did. I did not think there was any reduction to the noise level, but my breath calmed down, and the tightness in my chest softened. And all of a sudden I thought, “That would be five minutes” and my eyes popped open. Feeling a little “hmm… need to learn a bit more”, I looked at the time, and what do you know? Exactly five minutes!  So I must be doing something right!

I had the heaviest, deepest sleep that night for a long time. My limbs felt heavy, and even in my sleep I was aware of a heaviness. Let us not forget the dreams! The dreams were vivid, and scary and adventurous. I had trouble waking up in the morning…

So my morning was rushed and chores grabbed me before I could settle down and meditate. But I got that bit done before that 7:20 am hit its mark and the need to madly rush out into the day manifested.

All through the day I felt removed. I had a standard 21st Century muddle of a day mixed with work, friends, family and chores, with its attendant pulls, pushes and drags.  But I did not feel like those things quite touched me. Not that I was unemotional, but it felt like the emotions were an outer part of me, and hence something that I observed and let go, rather than get gripped by them. It was a wonderful, liberating feeling.

I think I am going to love this. I think I am going to be able to carry this on.

Have you joined us on the Bodhi Circle yet?

PS: this morning, during the time I meditated, I did not notice any back ground noise at all. It was still. Quiet. Interesting. Time for Class 2.

Bodhi Circle: Towards a Greater Good

Let us not get into what is good or bad. Let us just agree that good is good, because we know it to be so.

One thing that is admitted as being good world wide is or working towards achieving peace. We have Nobel Prizes being awarded to those who fight(?) for peace. And we salute those who go to war on those who would threaten our right to peace. But peace in the outer, larger domain, is very different from peace within. Or, is it? Since the 1970s, there have been scientific studies to discover and show that inner peace achieved through meditation can reduce levels of crime in urban cities.

Click here to read about The theory and the effect

Click here to read about The 1993 experiment:

I am not a fan of procedure, or joining groups, or following rules and rituals. I do not know Transcendental Meditation, I am a novice at any form of meditation. I have added the above links just to offer readers, if interested, to see a little of the history that interested me in setting the first point to my circle.

Reducing crime rates is a worthy goal, as is reducing war, strife, sorrow, injustice, inequality, and a whole barrage of other strife that surrounds us. In my own tiny home, in my own heart I wish for world peace, world happiness, world joy.  There are sages and teachers galore, and there are methods and journeys innumerable. One has to just seek and the answers just pop out at you. Thank you Mr Bill Gates, for the Information Highway.

I believe that today in the interest of the safe haven of a life surrounded by basic comforts, each self is caught in a spiral of an ever widening definition of “basic”. We need to pay our mortgages, we need our electricity, gas, and let us not forget the television. How else would we keep in touch with all that is happening in the world, and shake our heads over all that shouldn’t? How else would we create bandwagons to jump on and get involved in, and bring about a change to the world? Make it better? We need to educate our children, prepare for our old age, look after the old and infirm in our families. We need to hold truck, and develop our relationships and networks. We need so much to make us basically happy. I am part of this crowd, never fear. I do not stand in judgement of others. I totally get it.

Yet we also have an ever increasing hankering for peace. Not the kind that we go to war against. The kind that wells up from inside, and envelops us in warmth and caresses our brow with tender love. We need assurance that this race is taking us somewhere. This assurance comes from within. It arises out of a belief in the Self, the Inner Being. It permeates through those parts of the being we cannot touch, and we ignore, it, for the most part.

I believe that we each have enough time in our day to devote to ourselves. That self within us that is waiting quietly since we were born for our attention. That self that still trusts us, and is eager to join energies with us, and help us just be. So let us find those minutes

Let us find 5 minutes or 50. Let us sit down and meditate.

Let us commit to any time within our day that we can positively say, yes, this will do. Once we commit let us follow it through. Let us get out that cd, or dust off that cushion, or lay out that rug, or light that candle. Whatever works. And let us for our own nominated time, at our own nominated hour, close our eyes and find that little flame within us that guides us unfailingly, and unflinchingly. Let us connect to ourselves. Make a pact with a like minded friend, partner or colleague. Maybe your personal trainer? Or your Boss. There are those of you who already do meditate, Please accept an invitation to join us, widen our circle and share your experience.

Even though there are no rules, I would like a show of support. Please leave a comment with your commitment, and once in a while, update us. Let us see how the circle is going. Wherever you are, your show of hand is crucial. It will encourage others and our circle will widen, enlarge and blossom.

Here is my commitment. Today I will set my alarm to 15 minutes earlier than before. I will wake up, wash up and sit down, to my 10 minutes. And every night I will take five minutes before I lay me down. I will report back with my experiences and journal, once a week. Please join me. In my quest to accomplish… nothing specific,  to just meditate.

For the initiates, like me, here is one starting point: Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

There is enough information in this site to satisfy most beginners. I am sure there are many others that you can find, if you find one you like, please share, so we can visit as well.

Thank you!

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