“The meditator develops new paths of insight through direct communication with reality of the phenomenal world. He is able to see not only the absence of complexity, the absence of duality, but the stoneness of stone and that waterness of water. He sees things precisely as they are, not merely in the physical sense, but with awareness of their spiritual significance. Everything he sees is an expression of spiritual discovery. Whatever the situation, he no longer has to force results. Life flows around him. This is the basic mandala principle. The madala is generally depicted as a circle which revolves around a center, which signifies that everything around you becomes part of your awareness, the whole sphere expressing the vivid of life. The only way to experience things truly, fully, and properly is through the practice of meditation, creating a direct link with nature, with life, with all situations. When we speak of being highly developed spiritually, this does not mean that we float in the air. IN fact, the higher we go, the more we come down to earth. It is important to remember that the practice of meditation begins with the penetration of the neurotic thought pattern which is the fringe of ego. As we proceed further, e see through not only the complexity of thought processes but also the heavy “meaningfulness” of concepts expressed in names and theories. Then at last we create some space between this and that, which liberates us tremendously.”
- from “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
What I love about this (and what I loved when I discovered meditation) is that actually, freedom is anti-climatic. Freedom and peace are letting go of the constant attempts to solidify ourselves. With stories. With lovers. With beliefs. With agendas. With views of “why I’m right.” Initially, we adopt all these tactics to protect ourselves. Some therapists say we learn these self defending behaviors before we can speak. But, what exactly are we protecting? Ego.
Ego is the construct of who we think we are. It’s compromised of layers of ideas, names and definitions. Thoughts.
Here’s the rub: If we make the villain the ego, then we still haven’t gotten it. The ego is what it is. Instead, we can learn to watch it in meditation. We can learn to notice and maybe even laugh at the stories, fantasies and fears it concocts.
In meditation, we learn that the constant, never-ending, rushing, discursive chatter, is, in fact, just that. But, how we love to slide around in that warm, slippery mud of thought, thought, thought. Thoughts fuel emotion and oh don’t we love drama?
What I’ve come to learn is that drama, the real kind, comes anyway. People leave us, get sick, die. We see suffering of such great magnitude around us everyday.
Finding peace in ourselves, we will find peace in the world.
For everything we see is a projection of how we see ourselves.
Awareness is everything. We come to realize that the treasure isn’t found “when I get there.” The treasure is found now.
Jung said, “Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.”
Let us look inside.
* The Shambhala Center (Chelsea) is an amazing resource offering free meditation classes. My particular favorites are the weekly Tuesday night dharma gathering with a talk given by different Buddhist scholars. http://ny.shambhala.org/
* The Interdependence Project (lower east side) is full of awesome classes, guest speakers, etc: http://theidproject.org/