Waking up early during the summer of 2009, there was a
pervading need to see the sunrise. It was still dark, as the consciousness in
waking slowly came into being. In anticipation of a beautiful moment in time, I
found myself rushing to meet the light. Standing upon the pier, I witnessed the
beginning of a new day.
The mind has an opportunity to wake to a new consciousness
as well. Every day the mind finds itself surrounded in thinking and perpetual
thought. As I stood on the edge of the pier, watching the darkness fade away, I
was reminded of the beauty that is the Light that takes away all darkness. In
that moment, my mind felt the Light of Awareness as it responded to the ever
approaching rays of sunshine.
I stood quietly in a meditative state.
Ever increasing awareness is obtained as the illumination in
the power of light over shadows the darkness of the mind.
Do you find moments in nature that like a sunrise brings a
greater sense of awareness? Does it provide a greater feeling of peace with
oneself and of knowing who you really are? Many of the great gurus of our time
have taught how important it is to find the path to greater self awareness and
“Through the mind and intellect, consciousness is divided
into I and other. I am on one side, and
the world is on the other. Light is on this side and the other side is dark”.
The Direct Experience of Truth
From the Discourses of Swami Parmanandji Maharaj
Our daily lives at times are filled with what seems like perpetual forms of the mundane. This is when the life around us appears to slow down and things appear to stand still. The thinking mind is no longer centered, but restless—searching for something to attach itself to. It is moments like this that we long for distraction. We may at this time unknowingly appear to be succumbing to this longing, but it has been there all along. It is the ego and it is at the foundation of our cyclic existence: (samsara): uncontrollably being reborn under the influence of disturbing attitudes and karmic imprints.
Today, I am experiencing such disillusionment or distraction. I am not at all centered. I want to think of something to do or find a profound gesture to give my life greater meaning. I say to my-self “you can create some art, or write a post for the blog or rehash thoughts about what I want out of life.” Now that (rehashing thoughts) is certainly a great way to keep one-self distracted—to be out of the present moment. The quickest way to address these moments of being “lost” in our thinking is to sit quietly and just observe the thoughts through our practice of meditation. Let the thoughts, like the waves of the ocean, rise and fall. We can say to ourselves, “I am thinking.” This is the beginning of Liberation: freedom from cyclic existence and Nirvana: the cessation of unsatisfactory conditions and their causes.
So today, I see the mundane for what it really is: a distraction from what is: We may call it mundane, but it is life itself in this present moment, and we can learn to embrace it.
And when we see it for what it truly is, we are free from any misconceptions that may arise.
We are on the path to Liberation and the end of Samsara.
In 2002 I moved from Philadelphia to South Carolina. It was a time for a deliberate and conscious change. The beautiful natural landscapes of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia all provided a sharp contrast to the harsh urban decay of what was becoming, in some parts, the City of Philadelphia. It was a very positive move for me, and I immediately embarked on a journey to rediscover some important sustaining elements of my life i.e. Mind, Body, Creativity and Spirit. I call them my Four Jewels. The very first thing I did when I arrived was go up into the mountains. I hiked, explored and found beauty, space and peace. Hiking as an adventure has a wonderful aspect to it, that is physical, emotional and exploratory. Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is home of the Mile High Swinging Bridge and various trails. It is one of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi. While walking along the bridge, above the beautiful gorge below, one can begin the journey of self discovery. And in doing so, find a subtle, yet profound emergence of the meaning of man and nature as one.
We often try to understand who we are through the process of knowing. In doing so, we come face to face with a peculiar dialectic. That peculiarity is how to bridge the awareness of being the knower and the known. To do this, one must understand that everything in awareness is known because of you. Our perception of the things around us is derived from an ever changing inherent existence. Things can never exist upon their own power, nor can the awareness of things be from the thinking mind alone. We exist in that place in between the two — You are Knowing. It is the state of Knowing that frees us from the misconceptions, the untruths of the object / known relationship and the subject / knower relationship. We begin the journey with our daily practice in meditation, and move forward when we let go of ourselves and the world around us and just Be That which Is.
Today I had the Honor of being of service to an individual, who over the years, I have come to love dearly. He has some special needs, and a heart to be filled with love. It is a beautiful thing what we discover in ourselves when we help others. I felt a great sense of well-being–finding its source in the expression of love through active compassion. In Buddhism, we learn that compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes, and that love is the wish for all sentient beings to have happiness and its causes. Let’s find a way together to build our hearts as one instrument in the service of others.
Over the weekend, a spiritual mentor that I highly respect sent me an email. It was a very thought-provoking and beautifully written letter. I found myself musing over its content. Particularly the heart-felt examination of how our relationships are there as “sort of mirrors.” So we can “see” ourselves. Lately, in conversations with others, I am beginning to find that this as a defining aspect of a relationship is taking hold. It has profound meaning. Is it why we share ourselves with others? Is it the longing to know ourselves through relationship? What do we learn? We may never quite know how to maintain a relationship, nor how to uphold companionship, but we certainly and sometimes unwillingly do see ourselves in the mirror of that relationship.
In continuing the theme of the stillness of mind and in it, the revealing of self-awareness, I am posting this piece entitled “The Mirrored Mind in Meditation.”
The background image for my blog is one of the visual components for the final piece entitled: “The Mind in Conscious Meditation.” Over the past few years I have begun to meditate on the Dharma teachings of emptiness: the lack of independent or inherent existence. This is the ultimate nature or reality of all persons and phenomena. In 2009 I started a series of works entitled “Chakra Flowers for Meditation.” This series embodies the concept of mindfulness and nature as one–with flowers as one of its main abstract elements. Here is the final image in its completion.