Meditation . . . In Search of Serenity

I am not going to say that mental / physical unification is easy yet I, simultaneously, am not going to say that it is not easy. One must consider that mental / physical unification is arrived at, not by acquisition of a tangible result. Rather, it is by going beyond the conceptualization of each of us thinking that we are an individual universe unto ourselves. We are all an aspect of the totality of ‘The All’ (to include all universes and all dimensions). This degree of realization can only be experienced through a calmed mind. Calming the mind is not ‘blanking the mind’ or ‘clearing the mind’ of thoughts . . . that is virtually impossible. The goal is to increase the distance between the thoughts and expand into that spaciousness. It is from here that quietude of the mind can be experienced and, ultimately, embodied.

People, in general, find meditation difficult. Our society is so caught up in the business of doing. Each day is different but contains similarities.  There is the repetitiveness of doing something (the daily grind) while letting the mind be occupied by Sports, Pop Culture, Indulgences or the like. There is also the situation compressing as many ‘things’ into a day as possible, grasping toward efficiency. The former occurrence is where the mind is allowed to jump from thought to thought. A subject will perhaps be latched onto for discussion purposes, but thoughts still hopscotch through the mind. That act of positioning as many items as possible into one’s day is the manifestation of the (ego)mind striving for absolute control over any, and all, events. Is either state desirable?? Many choose one or the other because of the perceived ease it allows for navigating their routines.  

Yet at the same time, just attempting to find a spaciousness in the mind, to steer the mind into active repose can be a reward unto itself. To search for complete stillness requires effort, to be sure. But it can be a graciously, graceful effort. It is plunging our boats into the river and finding a place where the flow is swift but gentle and the turbulence is, as much as it can possibly be, minimal’. Yes, this requires the laying a foundation of committing to periods of ‘sitting’. Yet, difficulty should not be a consequence of sitting. As easily as someone can go for a relaxing walk after the rain, be in awe of the sunrise, listen to the sound of the waves lapping the shore or observe the beauty of the moon as stars, the acts of sitting can gradually approach these levels of serenity.

We are all so full of perceptions. Perceiving is good. We all want to see that venomous snake in the grass, or that board full of protruding nails or the car about the run the light and hit us, for certain. Yet, perceptions that we have formed about ourselves, perceptions of the world the we choose to inhabit or embody, perceptions of the world around us, can imperceptibly influence our actions. Many of us, as individuals, perceive ourselves to be ‘the universe’. The mind separates (itself and us) from the surrounding environment. This separation creates an internal disunity that many accept as normal. Yet, the worldwide state of affairs gives evidence to the contrary. It is internal disunity that manifests as disunity between peers, contemporaries and entities who are viewed as ‘other’. Personal disunity comes to be total disunity.

Yet we are all an aspect of ‘Totality’, GOD, Tao, Brahman, Ein/EinSoph/EinSophAur . . . however one chooses to view and accept it. It cannot be altered by differences in opinion. Dogmatic ideologies cannot encapsulate it. Not that ideologies are ineffective in and of themselves. They can provide a valid framework from which see a part of the ‘Totality’. That specific framework is only part, a fractal part of the ‘Totality. Many decide to remain within the familiarity of a certain point of view. However, one can easily grasp the concept of (the) ‘Totality’ by using that framework as a springboard to expansive awareness.

The mind then must arrive at the point of stillness / calmness / equipoise. Clarity evolves from stillness. Relaxation evolves from calmness. Stability evolves from equipoise. The issue arises when the effort is made to steer the mind in that direction.  “Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it likes and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness. The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness. Those who can direct their thoughts, which are insubstantial and wander so aimlessly, are freed from the bonds of Mara” (1) – from The Dhammapada. Yet, it must be done.

A mural of the Christian Cross
A mural of the Cross

This cannot be achieved by blanking the mind or by stopping the thought process. These types of efforts are why many may experience meditation as a difficult task. The mind coordinates all functions in the body and processes all sensory input. So, attempting to blank the mind is like damning a river . . .  overflow is inevitable. The flow must be regulated. The same goes for the mind. The thought flow can be regulated so as not to cloud the experiencing of stillness /calmness / equipoise. Thoughts do arise but they do not have to come along for the journey. Just as signposts come up during a ride in the car. They eventually are passed by . . . thoughts can be thusly experienced.

Using the car analogy . . . . . One eventually (seeks to) arrive(s) at the point where only 2 signposts come up over 500 miles instead of 100 signposts over 10 miles. It can be done.  

Practice T”ai Chi. Practice yoga (all eight limbs). Practice Qigong. Practice Pilates. In doing any of these, do so to experience the breath. These can all assist with a sitting practice.

Make it effortful or effortless . . . . . It is all up to you. After deciding, grab a seat. Find the stillpoint . . .

Contact the staff at Ab-Sutra Fitness and Wellness for Meditation Instruction in the North Austin, TX area

1 – a demonic being who tempts the unknowing individual with the trappings of the world

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