Meditation- A Foundation for Peaceful Living

The Eternal NOW- Aruna Giri

All human beings have a deep desire to be happy and peaceful, to be free of sorrows, fears and frustrations. Every human being is faced with the dilemma of death - that one day all that is presently perceived will be no more. Generally there is great denial of the fact that there is so much inner turmoil and suffering. The problem is always seen to involve an “out there”- what others are doing and not doing, whether as individuals, families, groups, communities or nations.

However, suffering always originates from the mind of the individual. The process of individual transformation - from being self-contracted, fearful, hurt and frustrated to living life full of happiness, love and contentment - can only happen if the individual comes to understand that suffering is a self-generated condition. The solution to this dilemma is found by turning awareness inwards. There is no external solution to freedom from this mind-generated suffering. The escape from bondage to freedom happens from within.

Although the self-contracted suffering seems so real, the paradox is that peace and contentment are always present, moment-to-moment, at the core of our Being. Layers of accumulated mental conditioning and reactions obstruct this Living Truth. We get drawn into the dramas of the mind by becoming solely identified with bodymind (i.e. thoughts, emotions and sensations) and thereby losing conscious knowledge of our true essence. Instead of Conscious Presence of the One Self that includes one’s bodymind and the apparent manifestation, there appears a self-contracted condition within the bodymind, creating a belief in a “me” that is separate from the Totality of Life. The happenings of life are then viewed through the filter of the mental conditioning and reactions of the mind. The individual creates his/ her own reality based on these mental conditionings, generating a reality that is an illusion.

If life is seen, as it is, moment-to-moment, free of the filtering involvement of mental conditionings and reactions, life becomes the One Life, the One Presence, that includes everything and at the same time is Transcendental. For the Living Truth to reveal itself to the individual, the layers of accumulated mental conditionings and reactions need to be embraced. In the full embrace of a self- contracting condition - whether a thought, emotion or feeling - the awareness shines it’s conscious light into the unconscious darkness of the self-contraction, thereby liberating it.

An example: the mental conditioned reaction of fear causes certain vibrations, sensations and thoughts in the bodymind of an individual. If the person isn’t fully conscious of the arising of these energies, immediately a projection is created of one’s circumstances. An “apparent” reality of life is formed based in fear, the world is then seen to be unsafe causing one to be on constant guard to various threats. This type of living sustains a disturbance of inner energies and breath, and contraction in the physical body, leading to emotional and mental unease. There is a distinction about types of fear, the fear I am referring to is psychological fear and not pure fear. Pure fear is an instinct and is always in the moment and is a brilliant survival mechanism of most animals, where as psychological fear involves no immediate threat and is based on unconscious past conditioning.

Meditation and Self-enquiry offer an approach to turn the mind inwards with one-pointed focus, and dive deep within one’s bodymind organism. We can then become consciously aware of the strategies of the mind that cloud our essential nature of Peace, Silence and Stillness. With pure intention, openness, trust and surrender we can fully embrace a mental conditioned reaction and liberate a layer of suffering from the bodymind.

So again taking the example of the mental conditioned reaction of fear: the general human condition ignores the fact that the fear is ultimately self-generated due to a lack of awareness and insight. From this limited perspective, the reality that is perceived is really an illusion based on a fictitious me fearful of a world of objects (other people, situations, circumstances etc) that can be physically and emotionally harmful or disturbing. However, a person with an inner meditative inquiry into the reality of life would have a different response to the arising of fear. First the person realises the condition is self-generated due to past conditioning. This happens by having an inner awareness of the bodymind organism and seeing/ perceiving that there is self-contraction within, in the form of feelings, thoughts, emotions and energies. Then with a one-pointed focused mind, the awareness can further consciously explore within. When the light of awareness meets and embraces the fear, the fear weakens then dissolves. Each conditioned reaction that manifests in the mindbody can be met with the light of awareness and be transformed from unconscious reaction and suffering to pure consciousness.

As the layers of conditioned mental reactions are lifted off we become more happy and content. An inner Silence and Stillness is revealed. Life then can be lived from this foundation of Peace. From Silence and Stillness – our essential Eternal Being - there comes a deep unshakeable Trust that allows one to Surrender into all of life’s ups and downs, seasons and cycles, joys and sorrows, and the mortality of the bodymind organism of oneself and others.