I often wonder what it is that shapes a story, a path, and turns it from being merely a collection of dots into a coherent picture—a symbol.
It is often in hindsight that we can see through the random strokes of paint that continuously hit the canvas and see a definite theme or picture appear.
Each and every one of us is an artist, and whether we know it or not, with each passing day, hour, minute and second new strokes are added. New dimensions. New characters. New locations. New colors. Perhaps a new chapter that will force us to shed the skins of times passed by.
The things we have to let go of are often the things we treasure the most. We cling and hold on to our treasures. We try to build walls and egoic structures of illusion to justify to ourselves our stagnancy. Little by little the waves of change wash away our castles made of sand until we are forced to look at what is left and see that everything worth keeping is in a process of constant, inevitable death.
We feel like criminals facing the ultimate sentence just for being born; we sit on death-row from day one. We overcompensate with a belief of immortality or a striving towards something greater, something permanent.
We prefer rotten pools of stagnant mania over the changing cycles of life and our emotions. The pills we take turn us into ghosts, phantasms that hover above the waves and rhythms that interpenetrates our souls.
We pretend we want to heal, to find our way out of suffering, and yet our greatest fears lie in what we will experience when we have run out of problems to solve. What then? What comes next? We feel stuck…uneasiness creeps in…we suffocate.
Close your eyes, and listen.
Stop Trying To Get Anywhere
Many beginners interested in meditation make the mistake of recognizing it as an activity that will make you more spiritual or relaxed. They start out wanting to become a better person, wanting to be more open and calm. To have an escape from life and its tragedy. All equally valid reasons to take up a practice of meditation, but fraught with several problems as well. The main benefit of meditation lies in one thing; which is the switch from doing to actually being.
The simple act of not trying to get anywhere at all is the start of a meditative experience. We cannot take a step forward if we do not realize where we are already standing.
This can be frightening, to fully be present in this moment, and see with clarity what that holds. We might feel lost and confused. In that case maybe it would be helpful to simply admit to ourselves that we are lost and confused. Only when we accept the way things currently are can we begin to take steps in another direction.
When we stop for just a moment, and really tune into it, new possibilities open up. All this energy spent on defending ourselves becomes available to us. We become “one with the divine” by giving up trying to be anything in the first place.
Our Inner Spark
While meditation has the possibility of touching parts of you that are deeply buried within the psyche, parts that are fragile and filled with insecurities and emotional trauma, we also get acquainted with an aspect of ourselves we have taken for granted. An aspect that is almost forgotten in the Western world. This aspect is what is called the inner spark, the flame, the “divine soul” of man.
The recognition of this spark connects you with a power inside of you that is beyond outside circumstance. It is there when you cry, and it is there when you laugh. Observing. Watching.
It does not judge, however it watches you judge, it will not judge your judging. It does not feel pain, however it can hold your reaction to pain in it’s awareness. It does not crave, however it holds your craving in awareness.
When we understand the nurturing qualities and love inherent inside of this spark, when we see our judgments and opinions break down in the light of its gaze, when we see how it has witnessed and observed the trauma and hurt inflicted on us in the past and truly forgive and love in the midst of all of that, we start to become aware of the true qualities of “human-nature” and how precious a gift has been taken and hidden from us.
Dying to Come Alive
Try stopping once in a while in your day to day life. Pretend that you are simply a witness, watching the scene unfolding from moment to moment, detached, observing.
What are you feeling? What messages are you receiving from your physical body right now? And notice if you react in avoidance and if that is the case, simply hold that in awareness. When you judge yourself, becoming aware of the judging. Each time we catch ourselves, we can find it in each moment to take yet one step further back and embrace the truth that lies beneath the surface.
What messages are you receiving from your emotional body right now? How do you actually feel? Are you sad, bored, irritated, at peace, what images or ideas come up in the mind when you think about the emotional body? Take note of these.
What messages are you receiving from your mental body right now? Are you embodied or off into the future or past? Are you judging whether you are “doing it right” and giving yourself criticism? What pictures or ideas or concepts arise when you think about the mental body? Take note of these.
Imagine you are dead. All the goals you have, the ambition, the stress, trauma and life circumstance has withered away with you as it has for everyone else who has ever died.
Feel the tensions release as you notice that by dying in this way, you actually become more alive. And now when you come back, you will dive into your moments with a renewed intent and clarity; you will be able to let yourself be moved where your heart is telling you to go instead of running from where you do not want to go.
Use this technique in your every day life. Learn to inhabit your life with authenticity, a newfound awareness that is always there for you whenever you need it, throughout life’s often difficult struggles. On the surface, the ocean may look chaotic and wild, waves soar high and crash, you may be thrown from side to side; in those times, know now that you can dive and go deeper. Where the waters are always still.
Author: Bart Poort
Editor: Travis May
Images: Flickr/Hartwig HKD