Learn To Meditate - Meditation Podcast - Meditation Society of Australia
Summary: This beginners meditation course features a variety of meditation techniques including mantra, meditating with the breath and music, concentration and meditation on a object. Each class includes a discussion topic and a guided meditation exercise. The Meditation Society of Australia (http://meditation.org.au) has no religious, political or financial affiliations, it is a community organisation designed to help people meditate.
In the world of meditation, TM (Transcendental Meditation) is Coca Cola and Mindfulness is Pepsi. These two ubiquitous brands are everywhere meditation is taught. They both use famous personalities to sell their product and to surreptitiously emphasise that theirs is the ‘real thing’.
Many times spiritual seekers put themselves inadvertently in conflict with themselves. The ego is an example of this. Many feel that the ego must be conquered or supressed or even completely disregarded or ignored. As though, for some reason, the ego was a mistake and we have to do all we can to ignore or overlook or disown it. The ego is not a mistake, it is not a hindrance, it is not a curse, the ego is our life’s curriculum of ‘doing’ for the expansion of our ‘being’. The ego is actually probably the most important aspect of us in this life and it is an absolutely awesome design. It tells the story of how we think about ourselves and our universe. Everything is mirrored in our ego.
As spiritual seekers we are often quite hard on ourselves. In these next two classes we are going to talk about being kinder, specifically the body and the mind whilst in class 50 we will be discussing the ego. To be clear though, even though we will be talking about the body, mind and ego, these are actually just labels for different aspects of the soul. In reality everything is soul, these are just distinctive aspects of the soul we are already familiar with.
The iconic tag of Nike from the 90's was 'Just do it'. This advertising line did a few things, it told the public that the Nike corporation was interested in its customers being more driven, more ambitious to achieve not only their sporting goals but their life goals by doing more.
Is suffering really necessary? If this is heaven as many say it is, how then can we be free of suffering? In Sunirmalya's opinion, the masters of the past might be famous because they suffered so much and offered freedom from suffering after death, but he contends that if heaven is here now, then we have to deal with suffering and our attachment to it.
It turns out that we do not so much have to search for change but let go of our resistance to it. You see, change is a constant. It is natural. There is a flow to our evolution. It is always there, the more we resist it, the more difficult our lives become. There is a natural flow and a natural pace to that change. Our impatience is another form of resistance, telling the universe it is too slow or too fast and it is not to be trusted. We feel we need to inflict our own timeframe, so we disconnect from loving the universe from the natural flow and try and force things in our way and schedule.
Authentic love Kobi loaded up his gun, adjusted his glasses and helmet and jumped down from the tank. As he ran towards the shot up wall of the small disused school in front of him, he thought for a second of his boys, Kai – the eldest, would have been at school in Melbourne right now, it seemed another planet away. He stopped and gazed through his sights for the enemy and not for the first time, wondered. He wondered why? How? How had it come to this and why do we still fight like this? It felt surreal in that moment, for just then he saw the ‘enemy’ climbing a tree behind a building looking for ‘him’. Or anyone like him. He had no helmet, no glasses, his gun was more of a rifle, but what struck Kobi more than anything was that he was a child. He could be no more than Kai’s age but most likely was younger. He was skinny and malnourished and wearing a scarf over his head, but Kobi could still see his eyes and they immediately haunted him, scarred him. There was so much hate and so much soulless fear.
There is an idea of heaven, of perfection in another place and time, as some kind of Garden of Eden where everything is flawless and nothing ever goes wrong and there is no suffering. But what about the idea that what we have here and now on earth is heavenly but out of ignorance we choose hell? The Garden of Eden scenario is born out of the idea that we are visitors, temporary inhabitants of this strange land with no real express purpose other than to be drifting through to our real final static unchanging destination, heaven. That we are sort of victims of a creator’s wish for us to be readied, to be made perfect, for our real life in the thereafter. That this world is imperfect and full of suffering for some grand reason we don’t quite understand but we will totally comprehend when we are sitting in the clouds free from all misery whilst somehow being oblivious to the suffering of the poor wretched souls still here.
Many people that meditate make all sorts of judgements about their practice of meditation and their levels of material prosperity or financial success. Whilst it is true that meditation creates the mental and spiritual environment for a more balanced and whole person, this does not have any direct correlation to our world’s judgement of success. In fact to be really ‘successful’ or authentically ‘prosperous’ has very little to do with our old paradigms which may be more about being rich or famous.
Douglas Adams, author of the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, proffered the whimsical view that the answer was 42, and whilst way back in class 2 our view on the meaning of life was presented it seems poignant that we should revisit this important topic in this class 42 with respect to Mr Adams. In class 2 the idea was introduced that rather than ask what the meaning of life is, we should just consider what moments in our lives have been meaningful so far. Once we spend a moment a two reflecting on this, we realise that every meaningful moment is a moment of love and that everything we do, every endeavour, every art, sport, every music, every thing in the end becomes an experience of love. The simple purport is that to be in the flow of love, giving or receiving love without conditions or expectations or obligations, is the highest thing we can do with our life. We realised that all suffering comes from our distance from the flow of love and all happiness from our immersion in it.
We all know the importance of physical exercise and diet for our physical fitness. We all know it is important to be mindful, to be aware of the thoughts we are thinking and to try and be more positive mentally. But real spiritual strength is something we generally do not understand. We see inspirational people who seem able to, no matter what the calamity, sail through with calmness and equanimity, even taking such events as lessons or blessings. They seem strong, serene in their certainty, powerful in their sureness.How do we become strong, what muscles need to be exercised for us to be spiritually tough?
Our world is geared towards victims and most of us feel that is what we are. We are victims of the events of our life, we 'deal' with life, 'struggle' through its trials and tribulations, for 'life was not meant to be easy' - we have to work hard to get what we want in our 'dog eat dog' world. We are the victims of our bodies. Have you ever noticed a baby when they soil their nappy in the beginning, they have no idea it was them that did it? Our body is too young, we poo in our nappy and then we smile or act as if it is not our fault - we are the victim. We just poo, we don't really know how or why it happened but we are sure someone will clean it up. As time goes on gradually we are able to show the baby that it is them that is making the mess and they are obliged to poo responsibly. But still we are victims of our bodies. Our bodies are decaying and wrinkling and sick, dying and sad. We need less fat here and more muscle there, our bodies are never pretty enough or strong enough, again we are the victim. Then we are old and pooing in a nappy again. We are the victims of our circumstances. Our parents did not give us enough love or opportunity or money. Our school did not have good enough teachers or enough facilities or was too crowded or too backward. And every politician, every government will tell us that it is not our fault, that we are victims of the last government or the peoples of another country, or the global economy and everything is about to be ok, now that they are in charge. We are victims of their lies, of their incapacity to fix all of our problems. We are all victims every night on the news. We hear about all the victims, all of the people that died or who are sick or who are worse off than us. All the people that were bullied or murdered or stepped on or over. Where is the good news - the wonderful things that happen to 99.99% of the people 99.99% of the time? No, what we are told over and over again is we are victims, we have been victims or we are about to be victims.
TREE of LOVE.. We each are unique. There is not one of us that is not treading a path different to the next. That is what is so perfect and so interesting about our journeys. Having said that, our experience of love has some interesting similarities. It might surprise you to realise, for example, that along the path to real unconditional divine love, for many of us there may also be fear and mistrust. Whether we realise it or not we are all growing into a state of perfect and unconditional love for all things and every one. This is how we evolve and grow and perhaps the only thing in our lives that we really have no choice about. We have no choice because that is what we actually are. The deeper we dig, the more we find our real nature is that of an unconditional flow of love. To come to this realisation might take many life times, many years but eventually we must all realise that there is an inevitability about our journey and that is that we are all growing into becoming unconditional love. That is the nature of the universe, the nature of God, that is the nature of us because we are the creators of the universe, we are God and we are all one.
Condition less. Everything ends in love.. We have discussed in previous classes the concept that every idea, every action, every thought ends in love. More than just love - it is unconditional, divine love. As an example, let us say that we are learning to play the piano. Initially our body has to learn to place our fingers correctly, our feet to comfortably push the pedals and so on. As we progress, it is our mind that has to learn to focus and concentrate so as to play the piano without distraction and to learn the most effectively and efficiently. Next, there will be aah moments of the heart where the piano is being played more intuitively and creatively with the heart. Finally, we realize that the highest experiences that we have in playing the piano are when they become effortless, where we are being powered by the universe or God and both we and the piano are instruments. This final stage comes about as a result of the flow of unconditional divine love. You can reflect upon everything you do and realize that the same process is taking place. It might be as simple as walking the dog, or as seemingly convoluted as your career or goals at home. For us to be more likely to be in the highest flow of love we must first understand that one of the most powerful components of this highest love is that it is unconditional. This may sound trite but how many things do you do unconditionally right now?
Our addictions are usually caused by us not being loved in the way we want to be loved. As you know, to have perfect love we must begin with trust and faith in the thing or person we are loving or being loved by. Often when we are caught by addictions we have lost trust and faith in so many things or people that we rely on our addiction to show us the unconditional love we so desire. What in our lives does not judge us, does not expect anything of us and is always there like a donut to love us and give us that wonderful, warm feeling of being loved. For the food addicted, the humble donut may just be the only entrance to unconditional love in their life. Often a food addiction comes at a time when we feel that we cannot trust or have faith in others and even more so, ourselves. You will see the same pattern emerging with alcohol or drugs or cigarettes. These things do not judge us. We can lock ourselves up in what we think is our safe, little cocoon of our addiction and feel that we are being loved - but in actuality the opposite is unfolding.