I am this. Tomorrow I will be better. That is not real in Life.
What is “real” is I am this. Period. End of report.
Tomorrow, I will not BE. Someone else will BE.
Truly, every time we go to bed to sleep, someone else awakens. We are unable to sense the changes for those are minimal, but they are happening until we realize one day, that we are not “kids” anymore. That usually happens when others use labels to put us into a different box (the grown up sticker), then we become aware of the changes.
Observe a “spiritual individual.” He is applying the “concepts” he learned in society into “spiritual things.” He wants to be “better.” He wants to progress “spiritually.” He wants to feel “happy.” He wants to be “self-realized.” He wants to know “God.” He wants to be “special.” So many respectable wants! He couldn’t reach similar greedy goals in society, so he is turning his vision of “progress” in the afterlife, because it is “better” for him. He is not “worldly anymore, he is spiritual, more evolved, better.”
How can we learn to enjoy Life if we are in continuous pressure to achieve? How can we enjoy Life if progress is the aim?
The mind fantasizes in the future and the past. Through “progress,” we are continually feeding that illusion. “I want to be” something “better”; thus, I need to fix things. Let us start with “myself.”
“Fixing” happens in society not in self-help. “Fixing” in self-help is to be AWARE but before, we may need to acknowledge who we ARE. The type of “fixing” taught by society only cares about ideals to “work on.” Thus, we are taught to criticize others and ourselves for not being according to an ideal, “the ideal.”
That type of “fixing” does not bring progress. It brings rejection of who we ARE.
When we reject ourselves, we cannot love ourselves. Without that, we cannot love others. Thus, “fixing” things in us, becomes rejection. When we acknowledge and become aware of who we ARE, there is “fixing” without trying to fix anything. That is true “fixing,” progress. When we try to “fix” by DOING things to fit an ideal, we reject what IS. That is not progress.
We hear that to live in the “now” is good. However, the mind cannot live in the “now.” Have we become AWARE of that? Living in the “now” is in no-mind.
In no-mind, there is “fixing,” there is “progress” for awareness resides there. However, when the mind is involved through thinking, analysis and comparison; any type of perceived “progress” is only self-rejection, a sin against the self.
AWARENESS is in no-mind, for if the mind interferes pretending to be a presence witnessing Life, then the mind is playing the game of pretending to be what it cannot be. Are we aware of that?
If we are not aware of the workings on the mind, how is it possible to “progress” spiritually?
Not possible, but yet new ideals to reach, to “work on” will come to the rescue. New ideas, new “tips” and methods to follow will be invented. We do not realize that all of those things are meant for the mind and whenever there is mind, there cannot be awareness nor “progress.”
By becoming AWARE of the workings of the mind, we make a significant step forward. “Spiritual progress” is there without looking for it, thus; true progress, for otherwise; it is only another empty goal of the mind, the “I.”
What does physical exercise has to do with “spirituality”?
This is not some training with nonsensical “3 sets of 10” without any “reason.”
We have a body. Bodies are designed to move and require “maintenance” to enjoy Life to the fullest. That is an obvious “reason.”
What is not so obvious is that part of the teaching that any seeker will need to go through, is called “conscious movement.”
That means that our movement will need to be slow enough so we can be AWARE of it. That is, our mind will need to be empty of thoughts (BE in the now) so we can be conscious of what we are DOING.
If we walk “consciously,” we will notice the swing of the arms and the position of our body as well as any sensation of stress, anxiety or pressure. Only if we NOTICE, if we are AWARE, we could correct this; otherwise, it will go on hurting ourselves. Once we make something into a “bad” habit, correction happens through awareness while in the moment, the now. It is instantaneous.
Although the mind would like for us to BE unchanged; reality is that the body ages, the body will not need the same amount of exercise as before, nor the same amount of food to eat. If the mind takes over, then that person will try to keep up with the past. The idea of “performance” will take over and eventually, the disappointment of knowing that “ I am not the same.”
That is a great “spiritual” realization. We are never the same. Is the body deteriorating? Only in the perspective of continuity; but truly we ARE different at every moment. Choose your perspective.
For our society, we will do great in Life, if our changes in time are very close to that “younger” photograph of the past. That is a hurtful fiction.
When I observe people exercising, typically their movements are automatic. They do not FEEL the movement of an exercise, but merely go through the motions. They want to “get something” rather than enjoy the experience of movement, the little rush of endorphins running through and the overall feeling of wellness. “No pain no gain” is their motto. No wonder, that is the same way most look at Life. It is a painful “gain” of unaccomplished illusions for them.
As we grow older, the value for conscious movement increases. We could maintain a “good shape” by moving consciously, that is by slowly feeling the muscles involved in a particular exercise. There is no need to count (mind game) the number of sets and repetitions, there is only a need to be AWARE when the muscle fatigues.
Exercises for flexibility (stretching) and with your own body weight are helpful to be physically fit. Walking or swimming are great cardio complements of a healthy routine. The emphasis is not on going “fast,” but in becoming fully aware of the movement.
This little “practice” will prepare us to become acquainted with our own feelings in the “now,” and to perceive how these influence our bodies. That will allow us to recognize emotions as they appear in our lives. As we become AWARE of them they could lose power, as we could become witnesses of our own existence. Then, when we observe our role in Life, we are not identified with it. Then, we could take things calmly, take our time and enjoy Life!
Now, that is “spiritual.”
“I” don’t like suffering, but there is suffering. The mind asks: Why is there suffering? Then gurus, priests and authorities, “experts,” will come up with an “answer.”
Sometimes it is “god” looking out for you and saving you from further suffering. “He” has a plan for your life. Yes, “he” has a plan for millions of people and there is a happy end for all, just like a cheese movie. Have faith. Believe. Join the religion of “chosen ones.”
Other times “Life is suffering.” It does not matter that this phrase was ill translated. As long as the Buddha “said it,” we should feel good. After all, if the Buddha felt that, then we are along his path, we are in the same wavelength, in route for self-realization…
Other times, it could be another story and we will be ready to believe in it as long as “I” get something out of it. Heaven at the end sounds good. Salvation is always desirable. A life of everlasting bliss in the company of “God,” (the main boss out of all the little ones) will surely get us many “upgrades” from our current “normal” story.
But if someone says: There is suffering because there is happiness. That is duality 101. Then, that does not get any believers. It is too simple buy yet cloudy. There has to be much more in the story, we want some mystery followed by drama and then a happy end where “I” will be the main character, where “I” will rise victorious among all the evil doers …
Life brings happiness and because of that suffering. In the world of duality, that is expected. We don’t want suffering? Then happiness will not be there either. That world is something that we cannot understand. We haven’t experienced it.
Did I offer any “solutions” for your suffering? Any tips? Any ways to handle it? Any ideas on how to get rid of it? There are plenty of books on that. Plenty of fairy stories to make us feel “good,” for at the end “spirituality” is about handing us some tissue paper to dry up our tears, something to make us feel good, just like when Mama used to hand us a glass of milk after we fell down from roller skating. Right? We are truly looking for something to make us feel good, even if a “white lie” as we cannot handle what IS.
OBSERVE your suffering. Become fully AWARE of it. OBSERVE all the movements of the mind to try to get out of it, OBSERVE all the explanations and the ways to save face that will appear.
Physical suffering will not leave a trauma. It happens and we learn to be careful and avoid the same. However, psychological suffering will leave all sorts of trauma, all stories of the “poor I,” and how much “I” had to suffer and put up with stuff. Don’t we like stories!
There is the story of salvation, redemption, the origin of the Universe, Godly creation, etc.
Eventually a psychological trauma will need to be left behind. Otherwise, we are stuck in Life; unable to move on by continually regurgitating sad stories and increasing bitterness in our mind. That type of exercise, is definitely “bad” for our health.
Events in Life are to be experienced in the moment. It is like eating a cake. If we don’t experience its taste while we are eating it, then how can we enjoy it? Our mind wants to take the experience with us, we could take a picture, talk about how wonderful the cake is, without realizing that we are eating!
Smell it, taste it, look at it. That is the now, the moment to taste and be fully AWARE of it.
Alright, it could be a rotten cake. However, haven’t you experienced a new flavor? Isn’t that a unique flavor? That is it. Move on.
But no… we want to enhance the story. We make the trauma. How is it possible for me to eat that “garbage”? Don’t we feel insulted? Cheated?
To spice things up; every time we eat a cake, let us bring that story up. Better yet, every time we go to a restaurant. The trauma is building up, it is in crescendo…
Our capacity for suffering is the same as our capacity for happiness. Life will give us the experience that we can handle either side. Any duality is complementary of each other. The full range of one side of a duality means the experience of the full range of the other side.
In the world of duality, nothing lasts forever for there is continuity, movement. Life is change. Every moment is unique and deserves our full AWARENESS.
Isn’t that a wonderful thing?
Nowadays, bacterias and viruses aren’t the only providers of disease. The quality of our emotions will greatly influence our health.
Different emotions will trigger different chemicals in our body. When we are young, our bodies have the ability to hold on certain emotions, even though detrimental to our health. As we age; the importance of recognizing the flow of emotions in our selves becomes extremely important.
Anxiety, anger, worries, uncertainty, over thinking… all of those “modern diseases” will affect the quality of our health.
Every one of us may have felt these. These emotions are not “bad.” Those emotions need to be allowed to be felt but at the same time, they should be allowed to leave.
This is the key . We are not sponges. We are mirrors and as we self-realize, we become doors and windows.
We have been taught through many years of repressive “spirituality,” that we should not feel certain emotions. That practice will hurt us.
Observe Nature. A duck will fight with another duck. After that event, the duck will flap its wings. Then things will continue as “normal.”
It is true that in our society there are consequences for expressing our anger. There are “acceptable levels,” however; for a seeker it becomes important to OBSERVE the emotional energy going through us and create a “space” and effectively, disassociate from that energy.
For instance, in dealing with certain personalities, it may be important to show our anger. Nevertheless, our “liver” should not pay the consequences and our mind should not take that episode for the next day or week or month or year, unable to let go.
Things happen. It is a “now” thing. Afterwards, it is a different reality altogether.
When we are not OBSERVANT of the build up of emotions, we will identify with them, we will believe that “I AM ANGER,” “I was angry,” “You made me angry” we say rather than, “I FELT ANGER.” As it is felt, it goes away.
Flap your wings and let it go.
For many individuals, it is hard to eat after an episode of anger. If they eat, their stomach will feel upset. Others, are capable of enjoying their meals right after an episode of anger.
What is the difference?
The level of IDENTIFICATION. How much our mind recites the incidents? For how long? That is what we may need to be AWARE of, to OBSERVE in ourselves.
As we master this “skill,” there will be a level of energy “regulation” built in. This will arrive as we OBSERVE every episode in our lives rather than repress or label that as “this is good or this is bad.”
It is of paramount importance to learn to OBSERVE ourselves as if we were following someone else: We will notice movements, emotions, triggers, ego and we can contrast that with the certainty that Life is a game, for sooner or later; Life only reflects back our beliefs. Would you rather play or worry?
In Life, nothing lasts forever. That is a “good” thing.
A perspective in Life is only a basic view. Perspectives are typically upgraded with labels such as: Law, truth, reality, etc.
Those absolute labels are meant to enhance a perception. The observation of this, is crucial to at least understand with some depth what Life offers and what is tainted through our “knowledge.”
There is a painting in my living room. My location is at one side of it, very close. Am I at the left side or the right side of the painting? That is yet another point of view. Once we select a point of reference such as “me,” I could say that it is on my left side. That is not “reality,” but a perspective.
I could argue that because I am very close to the painting I could see the “reality” of it. That is yet another point of view.
Life is exactly like that painting. We give the meaning based solely in our perspectives, which in turn depend on our conditioning, that is; we are taught to see things in a particular way.
The above is very deep. De-conditioning is around the corner.
Most religions and philosophies thrive in duality, which is a perspective. “That painting is too bright.” That qualification is based on the experience of something dark. The painting just IS. We try to explain it, conceptualize it, add reasons so it makes sense to our conditioned way to see Life; through the veil of “reasoning.”
Who created the painting? That question only shows our conditioning to look for responsible ones, the origin; not realizing that our “reasoning” is taking us to a wild chase of shadows.
Yes, in our “reality” a painting needs to have a painter as the origin, but who created the painter? How far back could we go before we throw an unreasonable “reason”? Just enjoy the picture.
Life is not a painting. Although our perspectives will make it exactly like a painting. Just enjoy the picture.
Paradoxical? Yes and No. Intellectually, yes. In “reality,” No. Just enjoy the picture.
LIFE IS. BEING is its meaning, its “purpose.” We add “good” and “bad.” We create religions and societies based on some artificial distinction, which later will be labeled as “moral,” “godly path,” etc. and its counterpart will be the immoral, the path of the sinner… Self-righteousness is “created” and with that, guilt. Those “creations” have utility in our society, but very artificial.
To live in our society with the “concept” of non-duality is not only impossible. It is silly. Those living in the mind, those who are looking for logical “reasons,” will not be able to “practice it.”
Create a “good” ideology. It sounds good. For instance, let me label it “democracy.” Sell the label to the masses. Have you tried to “practice” democracy? See how our society is failing to “practice” it. Want to create socialism? Practice will destroy it. It will corrupt it. However, in the world of “theories” it sounds pretty good. It is just a matter to “enforce” things… Violence.
Why is that? Why is it, that we cannot put in practice what we preach?
Simple. We ARE NOT what we preach. A cat cannot be a dog, even if the cat “practices” to wag its tail and takes barking lessons… But the “effort” of the cat to become a dog, is the source of many lucrative ventures. Good for the economy! Bottom line in our “reality.”
Theory has always been more desirable than practice, in “reality.”
Sleep is of paramount importance for our well-being, however; many will live life without the experience of proper rest.
There are the classic “tips,” like going to bed early, or disconnecting from computers, phones and TV a couple hours before sleeping, or even not to eat too late, etc. Those are “good” tips for most individuals (especially to shut down electronic devices.) Many will take a pill to snooze fast and will go along with the consequences of secondary effects. Nevertheless, there are suggestions that may be needed for other types of people.
In my years as a “seeker,” I used to wake up before 4 am to meditate for 45 minutes every morning. This practice has great benefits if and only if, we get a good sleep the night before. This reduced my sleeping time from 8 hours to 6 or less. I used to take a nap in the afternoon as well but, there were times when I was very tired from lack of sleep.
Even though our society considers that 8 hours of sleep is needed to recover properly, there are different sleeping needs as there are humans. Those needs will change in everyone, as we age in Life.
Sleeping is not a matter of quantity, but on how profound we let go of that which we call “I.” That is not “quality” but depth. “Sleeping like a baby,” happens when we become babies.
When we dissolve that consciousness of “I” with its perceived problems, and allow ourselves to disappear into the Totality, we will sleep very well, profound, even if for 3 hours.
As we become more sensible to other energies surrounding our environment, we may be susceptible to noises at the gross level or to energies around our bedroom, at the subtle level.
If there are noises caused outside and there is nothing we could do to stop it, we could integrate with that rather than reject it. If we reject, we will trigger heightened emotionality inside us. Our mind will go on with insults, complaints, ways to get even, etc. That will produce in turn, wakefulness of the “I.” An empty mind is helpful to avoid heightened emotionality.
Integration is not a “practice.” Animals will do it naturally in their environment despite their very sensitive senses. They are able to rest.
At the subtle level, there are many energies around our bedroom. Those energies sometimes interfere with proper sleep. For instance, sex is energy and there are subtle entities feeding on that as there is a continuous interchange with the environment. Also, if the bedroom is used for anything else but to sleep and to have sex with a loved one; then this “sacred” space is polluted at the subtle level and we will have difficulties to fall sleep. One way of cleaning is through the use of harmonious sounds. I use a “Tibetan singing bowl.”
This sound needs to be applied in all 4 corners of the bedroom (subtle energies prefer to dwell in the corners,) from the floor to the ceiling. Standing, hold the bowl and then bend over near the floor to play the bowl with the mallet and as the sound starts, raise the bowl as high as you can go towards the ceiling. This “practice” has worked for me very well. Here is an easy one to try: Change your position in your bed. Place your head where normally your feet are located for a couple of days. This is another practice that has worked for me.
The art of sleeping well, requires from us to let go of our personality. Many individuals fearing death may have a hard time sleeping well, for the “I” fears to lose control of its own existence.
Crowded cities present a sleeping problem. Buildings and apartment complexes are too close together and subtle energies do not know about limiting walls. Many times, it may not be “us” but others.
As we get closer to Nature and its rhythms, then balance reappears.
The conditioning is in the perception that it is “ME,” the one “getting old.” Some will share this perspective by complaining about it: Decline in physical abilities, diseases, etc. Others will talk about the “beautiful aspects of getting old.” Today, there will be new perspectives.
The first one is the perspective of the “I.”
“I” was a baby, “I” will return to that stage.
“Getting old” is the way that Life has to take us to our beginning in this lifetime. Physically, a baby is as unprotected as an old person is. Although, the body cannot shrink back to a baby’s size; the body becomes feeble, walking becomes a new experience as we age. Therefore, to be childlike is the characteristic of someone who is becoming harmoniously older.
Do we notice that?
Of course, there are others whose mind relentless demand to be the “same.” That insanity will take the person into desperation, bitterness and an unpleasant experience. For instance, a father who is old enough to be a grandfather (or a small child) who still believes to be the “boss in the house.” Even though his mental abilities have declined, his pride (ego) will demand the same responsibilities that he once had.
Have we noticed how the “young look” may not work for many individuals who try all sort of cosmetic help? It comes a time, when it is not harmonious. Our character dictates how pleasant our face is in later years.
We are born as babies. We should go back as babies before we die. That is the cycle of Life. Our perception is to call the stage of “going back” as “old.”
The majority could observe all of the above, as most are aware of the perception of the “I.”
A less frequent perception, is when there is no identification with an “I.” There is no “old age” there. Who is “old”? “I.” Without that, there is only NOW.
“Look at this old picture. Look what everyone is saying.” It is in the perception of the majority, how we feel identified. There is no old age but only in comparison, when the mind is used to compare the “before” and “after.”
Every day is a new experience. Every day is a new “I.” That “I” has static memories, which no longer exist. It is the past. Bodies change all the time, and so experiences and personality. Everything is bound to change! However, our names may remain the same and our memory through the mind, brings the idea of a static self.
No matter what perception we take about “old age,” we will need to recognize that there is nothing static, nothing permanent, nothing that we could hold on; no matter how hard we “work on,” or how much effort we put into.
We are already flowing in Life, but our minds are painting a static, unchangeable picture, which is responsible for our sour taste of feeling powerless to change things our way; what we think it “should be.” That wall of beliefs will hit the reality of change. That wall is meant to separate. It is that feeling of separation constantly nagging us to look for meaning.
Our “old age” is not the time to search for meaning in Life or look for “salvation.” It is the time to enjoy the freedom of naturally losing the rigidity of our mind. That is not a small thing in our mind-based society.
Less mind means greater capacity for enjoyment in Life.