Why is the mind in so much turbulence?Why are we always trying to escape any form of unhappiness/uneasiness/discomfort?Are we afraid to face our ‘demons’( mostly from the past…mistakes and regrets,hurts and hidden lies/secrets/jealousies ,dissapointments and shattered dreams,phobias and dark agendas)Are we afraid of our own self…..of being alone?
In times of loneliness(lonely feelings can arise even when surrounded by people,feeling lonely can also come about when one is busy doing something but feeling a meaninglessness within)….the mind is wandering,it is not Present! When the restless and disturbed mind goes into ‘fear’mode(triggered by guilt/shame/helplessness/anxiety,anger)…………..stop!……look at it…it is asking of something,healing perhaps?….it warrants our attention and not go to look for temporary reliefs.
How to calm this restlessness?
We have only our natural given resources right here where and who we are already…. Within ourselves!
The greatest self given tools are the gifts of the breath,the mind itself and the human heart(the seat of universal consciousness and conscience) holding the full capacity of Love,compassion and wisdom…….
Whatever we need to do, we need to be in a train of continuous mindfulness of all that we do…….we become mindful of the mind itself and be watchful of its thoughts…..when thoughts come in,we simply know and say to ourselves that we are thinking,and become aware we are thinking,but don’t identify with its contents,otherwise we get caught in its fear/anxious/worry driven components.
Mindfulness also encompasses the ability to be aware of everything that we do in the moment…….if we are sitting simply know we are sitting,if we are washing dishes, simply bring the attention to know that we are washing dishes in the moment,if we are looking at the sky simply know we are looking at the sky and nothing else!The whole truth is to be aware of everything we are thinking, saying, doing and feeling and knowing as of in the Now!
Training our minds like this brings our focus to only this moment and we can bring the wandering mind to be attentive and present………there is no need to be forceful,defensive or resistive …..just allow to be,so the mind is not in control but learns to come back to the present moment.There is no hard and fast rule to follow….just simply be and the mind will co-operate.Most importantly don’t be hard on oneself…..Do NOT try to force any thoughts,good or bad to stop or be suppressed,no matter what,it only gets stronger and harder to let go…..thoughts are meant to be acknowledged and slowly let go.The more you watch the mind/thoughts and allow it to be…….it gets ‘shy’ and will no longer want to appear and be a distraction!
And be on guard with falling into the trap of fantasizing and daydreaming while watching the mind.
The breath is our life force,are we aware that we are breathing?Again we can learn awareness and presence from the breath.
Stay connected with the breath,become aware of the breathing,take a deep breath,be mindful of the air that goes in thru the nostrils and the rising of the abdomen,stay with that in-breath and feel the pause of relief……say to oneself……’inhaling,I breathe in peace……let the breath out slowly,follow the flattening of the abdomen……say to oneself….’exhaling,I let go of the restlessness’…… become aware of all that is going on,the thoughts,the feelings, the physical sensations…….name it if possible,be honest,if feeling angry, say to oneself’angry’….look where these sensations are coming from,why it is coming on,what is the underlying reason for the restlessness….does it need acting out,does it need to hurt oneself or others?
The tendency here is,it might bring on some knowledge where addictions and habitual patterns arise.Addictive behaviours are not exclusive only to drugs, alcohol,gambling,sex,food but include,use of technological gadgets, gossiping, selfishness,meanness,being angry ,flaring tempers,annoying and ill-will to others,causing problems for others thru words and deeds(even intentions),ignoring to help others,rudeness, crudeness,busyness,with work,self hatred/loathing,etc…..What does it feel like……..be with it,stay with it,know it!
Remember not to identify with all afflictive states,they arise and they can be subdued and healed when we are ready to be sincere and make amends.
With the constancy of being in awareness,it brings understanding and this leads further to the wisdom of the healing process.
Constant practise of mindful breathing and looking into the thoughts,actions, sensations and feelings,we will slowly bring the mind to some concentrated silence and peacefulness.Every time the mind is disturbed with thoughts bring the mind back to the awareness of the breath…….to know when breathing in and to know when breathing out.With each breathing in we can say something like ‘breathing in I feel comforted, breathing out,I let go of discomforts’…etc,
Through this practise, meditation can begin naturally as the mind gains some degree of concentration where it can be further trained to be silent(stilled).Sitting upright is imperative for breathing and meditation, whether on a chair or cross-legged on the floor or with a cushion.Personally I could not crossleg and sit on the floor so I always sat on a chair with my back not slouching on the backrest of the chair and the feet firmly grounded on the floor/ground with hands on my lap on top of each other,eyes could be focused on an object( for concentration) or simply open looking straight..
Meditation is awareness itself….the awareness of presence outside of ourselves and inner introspection where we are in tune with ourselves and is attentive to all our thoughts, emotions,physical conditions and attributes without making judgements,comments,self criticism and fault finding( in other words examining our conscience to the full extent of truth).
We will discover and uncover insights and analysis of the whys,hows and understandings of the true nature of our own self.We will also soon discover that the mind is the main cause of unecessary sufferings.As the mind gets stabilised in being stilled through devout meditation practices,the heart will take over and love can prevail.
Find a comfortable,nurturing spot(at home,walking, nature,anywhere that feels safe)to ground the self and be in quiet understanding and remembrance of why we dedicate the time to practice doing good for ourselves…to end unecessary sufferings for ourselves and others………………..
Connect to the innate loving heart,become aware that there is a caring,forgiving,compassionate, understanding and merciful Presence Within….become aware of that energy that allows kindness and benevolence to flow……..allow the self to ‘cry’ in tenderness knowing it wants to heal but needs strength and guidance and courage to do so.Allow for the sacred silence within to speak and it will if one is sincere and humble to know one’s weaknesses and in need of help.Resistence, defensiveness,denials, self doubts and limitations are hindrances to progress for peace,calmness of mind and the heart to love unconditionally.
People have this tendency to get disheartened when things don’t seem to progress.All endeavours take time,with faithful and trusting perseverence, all efforts will pay off sure enough……………….As sentient beings we are always looking for quick fixes and solutions to all problems and think that self healing takes place in a day or two!Again here we might allow the restless mind to take control and churn stories in the mind to giving up when things don’t seem to change for the better or improve…let the mind be on guard again…..know what is happening and start again……….when we give up, the mind takes complete control and restlessness looms again!
In truth we all can curb the restlessness and disturbances of the mind and cultivate loving kindness and enjoy peacefulness in every aspect of life for ourselves and others.We can use the loving creativity of the heart to pursue healthy activities and spiritual practices like joining a meditation/spiritual community,learning breathing techniques,volunteering(church,temple,soup kitchen,animal shelter),yoga,getting counselling help,reading books of self help/growth/meditaion,listening to spiritual talks,spending time in nature,nurturing relationships/friendships/children,nearby or faraway travels,silent/directed spiritual retreats and of course spending time alone for reflections and introspections,taking up a course that is of interest to oneself….cooking, gardening,animal care/grooming etc………and I am sure many more………….sometimes,we have to open ourselves to the enhusiasm of trying something we have never done before.Most importantly generating kindly actions and intentions to everything that we do,allows a healthy inner growth…………..
Cultivating a moral lifestyle helps foster the mind mature with understanding and respect for oneself and others.In the Buddhist teaching,these are known as the five precepts of training in self discipline namely…..
to not steal/taking away of things that do not belong to you…..(coveting others as well),
to not kill and to do no harm(violence),
to not gossip and tell lies(causing trouble and problems)
to not take intoxicants,drugs/alcohol(they could distort the mind to be aware of dangers to self and others),
to not participate in sexual misconduct(without respect and loving kindness)
Opening into the heart
In my own compassionate experience journey, I found out that the power of visualisations helped enhance my spiritual growth rapidly and with devoted practices, it helped open my mind and heart to see the immense suffering I was undergoing and it aided to open my heart to love and forgiveness,I learned to understand the sufferings of others just the same.
The power of the breath,mindfulness,meditation and visualisation can help rid of this false ideology that the end of unnecessary suffering is impossible.Active visualisation helps one make positive changes/transformation to benefit ourselves and others.We could be followers of various religious practices,but our true direction is to follow the inward journey from the restless mind to the loving wise heart…where we actually witness our own divine spark and come to the full knowledge of who we truly are and the understanding that we are One with the whole of creation,there is no separation.
We allow ourselves to find the time and sacred space to do this……….again,anywhere that we can find a quiet spot,where we will not be distracted.I used to do in this in a quiet church.We can simply sit,breathe in and out,become mindful of the breath,come to a remembrance of this sacred time and why we do this….so we can find harmony within.When we are ready,we become aware, we start to imagine/visualise and see ourselves,in sincere humble supplication sitting, kneeling,lying prostrate,head bowed down(although we may be sitting upright). In front of us there we imagine the image of a deity,Jesus, Buddha,Mother Mary,saints of any religion,Wise Being or even someone we knew/know who embodies kindness, love, mercy, understanding,tenderness, compassion,goodness and peacefulness(we can use one image or more if we like).
We visualise ourselves being loved and cared for and forgiven for all our past and present actions/mistakes and imagine how we are truly loved unconditioned and being tended to in a kindly manner and that we are being understood of our struggles, difficulties,weaknesses and mistakes,we can start allowing ourselves to be truly repentant of our faults.We start visualising our heart area opening up and being transmitted with love and forgiveness and understanding from the heart of the deity.We imagine,ourselves interacting with peace,joy and love with the deity like a lover and the beloved, like a loving mother/father and child,like loving friends,like a compassionate teacher and devoted student.
As we practise this visualisation technique with true devotion, we will witness the poignancy of Love and forgiveness opening up Within.Then only can we feel the true transformation taking place within us and experience the power of compassion for ourselves and others…………
I write from the knowledge of my own compassionate spiritual experiences of the journey from self hatred, suffering and restlessness of the mind into one of understanding and respect of all human conditions…………most of my adult life I was suffering from bouts of depression and was taking prescribed anti-depressant medication,I was seeing psychiatrists and trying to pretend that I had a normal life like anybody else,running around like a chicken without a head……I knew I was terribly unhappy deep down and was living my life carelessly/foolishly……not until 20 years ago when I was knocked down to my knees that I decided to pull myself up and do something beautiful,something transformational and thus,I learned to breathe, be mindful,silence my mind in meditation and with the power to visualise ,I discovered and uncovered unconditional love,compassion,forgiveness,wisdom,truth,and goodness to be living realities innately alive within each and every human being.
If we do not allow ourselves to be witnesses of our own true human experiences and make the effort to learn and change from it…….we will not be free from the wheel of unecessary suffering and misery.Do we really have to wait to be brought down to our knees before we will see the light?Everything that we need for this wondrous journey is already waiting Within……….