Saturday, 9 January 2010

These icy conditions are an ideal practice walking mindfully!..

I must confess that in the last couple of days I have practiced the deepest mindfulness walking meditation. The stakes have been high which is why it has been so focused. Those stakes are to do with my own safety and not breaking a limb while walking. I have been so aware of the heel and toe of each boot as it connects with the earth but the fact that I have been primarily doing this to ensure my own safety means that the power of the awareness is not as great as if what I had at stake was the holy grail of enlightenment. The fear for the safety is real which concentrates attention. Enlightenment for most people is simply a word that has been bandied around. We are aware of the consequences if we slip on the ice and break a bone but as humans we are not aware of the consequences of living a life without achieving a state of awakening or enlightenment (I'm not sure that there's much difference between the two).

I remember once reading somewhere that it is only when a person wants enlightenment as much as a drowning man wants air that there is a possibility of it happening. The trouble is that very few today are willing to want something that badly and want it paradoxically without attachment. It is attachment to anything that kills its beauty and freedom. On the spiritual path it is easy to get attached. The consciousness gets a glimpse of something 'other' and immediately seeks for that experience again. I see this in the posts of one man on Facebook who has obviously undergone a profound experience. There is an attachment in his posts to understanding why it happened to him so that (and this is my opinion it hasn't come from him) he can cause it to happen again. But this is something that can never happen with a spiritual/mystical experience and this is both the beauty and the frustration of such peak experiences as called by Abraham Maslow. They shift the consciousness but unfortunately leave a memory which creates craving and attachment. If as human beings we had no memory then I assert that there would be no suffering. It is the memory of a perceived hurt or injustice and then the feelings of resentment that this creates which keeps the state of human being as like the Buddha said 'in a state of suffering'. Yet I am not so naive as to believe that the world can human beings could function without memory.

Memory is necessary to have a world that works but memory is like the tail wagging the dog. It should consist of a memory of an event not a memory of what we decided that event meant and the story we put on it. It is the story that we put on the things that happen to us in life and not the event itself that causes the suffering. Separate what happens from the story we tell ourselves about what it means and the result is freedom from suffering. I do not agree with conventional therapies for the simple reason that in many cases they simply indulge a persons story about an event that happened and this far from liberating the person from the suffering caused by their story just sucks them in deeper. My commitment from this blog and for everyone I meet is through my way of being and not so much from things I say that people will be able to separate the events that happened to them from the story they told themselves about that event.

If I can give an example. If my friend is late meeting me - she is just late meeting me. My story in the past around this would have been 'she doesn't want to meet me, that is why she is late'. The truth is I don't know why she is late. The only thing I know for definite is that we made a definite time to meet and she is late. If every human being could live life with just this distinction then the level of personal happiness in the world would shoot up. All this is going to take is people seeing this for themselves and sharing it with others - this is causing the transformation of human being from a life of suffering to a life without suffering. The Buddha knew this that is why he said 'I teach only two things suffering and how to be free from suffering'.

I'm looking at my window as I write this and to my absolute amazement it is snowing again here. Everywhere looks so white and pristine and I have now accepted that this ice and frost is not going to stop me from doing anything else that I have given my word to do. I have enough experience to know that honouring my word and being responsible to have my word happen when circumstances are going against me is the way to be the bold leader that I have aspired to be since 1988....

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