I suffer from mental health conditions know as Bipolar disorder and Obsessive compulsion behavior, I have had these condition since an early age of my life, as a result of this, I am always searching for new ways to cope with this condition and to grow and evolve spiritually. Apart from daily doses of medication, which work for me, and help keep me stable, (Well as much as they can….) I am still left with the niggling bits of these illness….. I am very seclusive, I don’t socialize very well, the PC computer is my link to the outside world, over the years I have experienced many series of Psychotic episodes, ranging from auditory voices, Paranoia delusional states etc.
From a young age, I have always wondered who am I? And where do I fit into this universe? Etc. I have always had these questions, ever since I can remember, so as a continuation I had done a lot of casual learning and listening from the great sages of time, but It wasn’t till a November 2015 when I started to put all these teachings and learnings into practice and seriously started to meditate everyday and live by what I have learned and experienced from the great teachers of time gone by and present time.
One thing I have learned throughout my life, is that everyone suffers in their own lives, on a daily basis and everyone wants to escape this suffering and would rather be happy, but how do we do this???
From researching and practicing Eastern teachings, such as Zen Buddhism and writings of Lao Tzu ‘Tao Te Ching’, and many other great sages…. I feel I have found my way to escape this suffering.
My research and practice has lead me to this!
Our suffering comes from our own mind! We are always constantly unaware of the thinking state, we are either thinking of past events or what’s to come, never in the moment, the chattering and commentary mind is always at work projecting these thoughts and we are so unaware of them and in most cases we are living these thoughts from past or future as the living present moment, but that shouldn’t be the case. We are living in the illusion that these thoughts and feeling are the made up ‘I’ or ‘Me’.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a break from this mind?
Wouldn’t it be great to be aware of things as they really are, without the mind causing anxiety by projecting thoughts of the future or past clouding our decisions if to do something or not out of life?
Through Mindfulness Meditation and self inquiry we can accomplish this. As everything it takes daily practice to achieve something, but I have found it’s well worth it.
Lets break Mindfulness meditation in half to explore whats going on here.
When sitting for mindful meditation, one needs to find a quiet place to do so somewhere where you will not be disturbed for a while. You can sit in a chair or lying down or in the basic crossed legged architect position.
First, Half close you eyes and gentle glance to the floor, now the next step is to be aware of your breath, feel the breath as you inhale and exhale, breath from the center of your stomach (Not your chest) Breath naturally not forced, breath gentle and soft as a baby would. This breath awareness will ground you, and surrender, let go of yourself…. Of course you mind will not let you concentrate for long, it will start to project thoughts of the past or future, memories, goals etc, People think mindful meditation is about stopping your thoughts all together, this is not the case, What this meditation aims to achieve, is to be fully aware of when your thinking, feelings, sensations when it arises.
One example I like to use of how to explain this method is this;
“Imagine a the ocean, with the waves crashing around on the surface of the waters, everything so much hecticness and so much Chaos nothing in the water is clear, this is our thinking mind on a daily basis! But the further down or deeper you go, everything becomes still, you can see clearly it becomes serene and calm, this is the awakened mind, when we are in mindfulness state”
So lets get back to the Meditation method, when you feel you thoughts pulling you away from your breathing, let the thoughts come, be aware of them, not pushing them away, then let the thoughts dissolve gently just as a cloud comes and disappears. DO NOT try to avoid your thoughts, just let them simply come and go and gently return back to your awareness of the breath, keep repeating this as the thoughts occur. This is know as taming the mind or monkey mind.
When in this state of awareness when you mind is calm, and you can see your thoughts coming and going like your on a island watching them go by, simply turn the awareness inward and ask “what Am I” or “what hears that sound,” “who sees” what is perceiving? Do not ask this question as a conceptual question, but turn the light of awareness inward.
This in between thoughts…. Is what we are aiming for, when thinking gets cut off, before a thought arises again, this is Zen… This is the state of being in which we are just there in the moment, is infinity, it’s never born and it never dies, it just is, everything just as it is!!! Oneness with all things! No thoughts of past or future, no worries or anxiety, some people from different spiritual ways of thought, call this beginners mind, no mind, Christ nature, true self, the cloud of unknowing, don’t know mind, Tao, source, God.. But naming it or calling it something is already a mistake….
The first line of the Tao Te Ching, is as follows;
“The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.“
But for teaching purposes people use the above names etc., the point is, the state of awareness of all things.
This state of being with practice, gets bigger and bigger, so you can be in the moment when you are washing dishes, out walking, when worries occur etc.
In the beginning of sitting, you will experience you mind will be all over the place, one minute you will be watching the breath, then you thoughts will take you away from it for minutes at a time, without you even releasing it, but with practice, you will learn to tame this mind. When I started sitting myself for the first few weeks or so, It was like a kios of thoughts and commentary, like if someone was flipping the pages of as picture book, thoughts and vision was bursting in my mind uncontrollably!
I feel that meditation needs to be done everyday for at lest 25 mins, or as you can manage, it’s like refilling your petrol tank everyday or recharging this way of ‘being’, it takes consistency.
But I found big changes in myself, after a few weeks or months after practicing mindfulness meditation. I felt calm in myself more, and able to handle inner and outer turmoil better. But again I tell you, meditation needs to be done everyday as a way of life, for true self of oneness to be present as it always is, but buried beneath the clutter of mind habits and illusions of this world.
Anyway, I hope that my research and practices brings you some goodness to your life as it has mine, Zen is a daily practice for myself since November 2015 and each day I am becoming more aware and living in the moment and aware of true nature. Mindful meditation and self inquiry, is firstly should be to become aware of the true self and to live in the present, moment to moment.
As always, feel free to leave a comment if this has helped you in anyway.
“The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see I will never find the light unless, like a candle, I am my own fuel.” –
All of the above is from my own practice and research, I am self taught.