More and more I see meditation taking the forefront in society. I see it used by people to relax, escape, cope with pain and ailments, to find deeper meaning in one’s life, and for physical and overall health. It’s interesting and exciting to see American culture evolve and expand in it’s understanding of meditation and utilization of it.
“Recent research shows meditationâ€™s soothing effects can be detected in arterial walls and in the brain. Once considered outside the mainstream, today more insurers are paying for meditation, both as a form of medication and as preventive medicine.” – (abc news)
I feel like not so long ago meditation was lumped into a vague category under “New Age”Â along side with UFO’s, fairy’s, and fortune telling. Â Or maybe seen as an eastern religious practice but nowadays the line between science, religion, conciousness, and human well beingÂ is being stretched and blurred into what appears to be a very modern cutting edge approach to living mainstream life. Â Even doctors are becoming prominant advocates.
â€œMeditation is the act of disidentifying from inner thought flow and concentrating on calming and healing,â€ explains Robert Thurman, Ph.D., a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University in New York and the first American to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Through meditation, doctors help patients detach from their pain and anxieties and cultivate a connection between the mind and the body, he says.” (abc news)
Although it may still be in it’s early stages and far from completion, meditation in the US has proven to be a future force to be reckoned with. Â From dealing with minor aches and pains to asking the age old question “Who Am I”?
Modern science seems to beÂ asking this question more and more as advances show that the universe may not be existing as a material platform as previously believed for so many years. Â It seems to be trending from the objective to the subjective. Â Science, meditation, healing, spirituality, and the experience of life seem to be melding into one as people are becoming aware that they are more than just their mind and body.
In one of my favorite quotes from the book “Harmony Meditation: A New Way to Completion” Master Johwa says:
“If your thinking is trying to attach to something continuously, then instead of trying to release your thoughts from that attachment I want you to detach yourself from your thoughts.”
Who is doing the detaching?
“Savor Who Am I, and It’s Power”
“…So even though you may visit me and we would say that we are here and now, together, consciousness-wise everybody is in very different places.” Harmony Meditation
I was reading this passage this morning while sitting in the kitchen as my wife and mother were doing some dishes.Â The second I read that line I saw myself and them as if we were in our own worlds.Â Our bodies are here together but really I feel like we are in completely different places.Â An impression as if something vaguely above their heads are quite different and mine as well.Â Where are we?
Where am I?Â Sometimes I feel like I’m in my head, other times in my heart.Â Sometimes I feel like I am surrounding my body.Â Why?Â Which is right, if any?
I make a great effort to stay “Here and now” but what does that really mean to me?Â I have my own assumption, I guess it’s because I experienced somethings differently and associate them with “here” or “now” but of course I don’t think it is either completely.Â I just figure it is more so than what I am used to.
I make that effort but interact all day with people who these things are not important to.Â I find myself wandering away with them.Â Sometimes it feels like I’m drunk or dizzy.Â Other times I get frustrated and angry.Â Sometimes I express that anger and it seems to do no good.Â Other times it seems to work most efficiently.
Sometimes I am focusing with a great sense of urgency, then all of the sudden I am swept away by completely random things.Â What happened?Â Where did I go?Â Why is it happening all of the sudden?
Sometimes I feel like I’m Matt and it feels honest and sincere.Â Other times I feel like I’m Matt and it is completely false.Â A newer experience is Matt is there and I can talk about him without him getting too defensive.Â Sometimes he runs loose and now I don’t let that bother me much, when this body is tired there is no winning sometimes.Â Who is seeing that?Â Who the heck am I?Â Sometimes I don’t really care, other times I want to know, most times I want to know and feel fear.Â Why do I have to go through this even?!
So I am a me that isn’t me trying to focus on me while others are pulling me away from me but I have to continuously give extreme effort to focus on me while giving extreme effort to focus on them because the they who is not them is pulling them too far away from them that might cause too many problems for us who isn’t really us?!?Â Seriously What The Heck!!!Â Sometimes this is my 24 hour day experience.
An urgency wakes me up in the morning too early.Â My body wants to sleep, my thoughts aren’t choosing this either.Â Is this a real me?Â Even though it’s pushing me it doesn’t feel like me either.Â Why am I waking up?Â I don’t know anything at all.
Once upon a time, there was 2 angels up there.
One day it was the left angel asked to the right one,
“I heard that you are preparing to go down there soon, right?”
“Yeah”, he said.
“What about your 401(k), is that a robust one?” asked again the left.
The right one got frowned and replied, “Yeah, but I heard that you’ve got to be very careful when preparing “well-being-born” on earth”
“What’s matter?”Â Â
“You know, down there now is horrible, so even the kind-deed-money from your angel-pension will not be sufficient enough to protect you from becoming an evil again”Â
“What’s wrong?” asked the left.
“There are wars all over” said heavily the right one.
The right and the left both prayed hands in hands.
I remember once Master Johwa said, “People think of their life from birth to death.Â As a trainee you should look at life from before birth and past death.”Â It took so long for this to have deeper meaning to me.Â I guess that maybe at that time I couldn’t sense a deeper existence about myself, or was young and felt far away from death, or sometimes I think that we all generally walk around in denial as if we will live forever.
As time passes and the more training is done there is a deeper sense of reality about my existence.Â When I was younger things like having a soul or existing beyond this short life seemed like it was just in my imagination.Â A daydream that I liked to entertain but was not nearly as important as securing my material life.Â The more I go, the more real spiritual existence of myself and others is and the less important other things seem.
The more people talk to me about casual things the more my chest feels a deeper urgency for the both of us.Â Casual talk seems a little bothersome, as if we were in a crisis situation and someone is trying to talk to me about a football game.Â What can I do?Â I try to keep myself rooted in my heart and hope for the both of us while entertaining the chit chat so we can get along well. Is this how Master Johwa feels when he politely redirects my conversation to something more meaningful?
How big of a picture are we missing?Â I was talking to my wife recently about forgiving someone.Â What came to mind was how important it was to me when I was young to have a certain toy.Â Now looking back it’s so silly.Â Then I ask myself how long will I live?Â Around 50 more years give or take?Â Then I asked myself how long will I be dead?Â It’s so much more time!Â What about 1000 years after I die?Â How silly will the petty arguments and disagreements I have with people seem then?Â So what good is this toy now?Â What am I really doing here with this time?
After doing this last workshop with Master Johwa these things are really concerning me.Â My sense of urgency feels overwhelming sometimes.Â I feel like I have to do something now!Â But I can’t move.Â I know from previous experience that trying to do good even for others on a casual material sense is not really penetrating the deeper and more pressing issue.Â I need to do a better job within myself!
I use music a lot to remember my purpose and refresh myself.Â One of those songs on my playlist is “Man in the Mirror”, by Michael Jackson.Â I really love the lyrics and feel that when he wrote this song he was sincere and felt urgency about the world.Â The most important line to me is, “If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.”
Photo From Barbara Ann Brennan book Light Emerging
We have all given and received many compliments and apologies in our lives.Â Why is it that sometimes it is easier to accept those compliments and apologies and other times it feels like we just can’t move on?
It seems like humanity in general has become overly technical even in our basic self management and communication that it leaves and underlying sense of dissatisfaction between each other.Â “I said I’m sorry what more do you want?”.Â Well,Â I want to feel your honesty and the harmonization between us so that we can keep ourselves open and moving forward together well.Â “It’s a compliment, what else do you want?”.Â I want to connect with you honestly and not use semantics, linguistics, or flattery to be handled by you so that we can continue business as usual for comforts sake.
When someone is sincerely apologetic there is no need to even say the words “I’m sorry”.Â You can feel it when you walk in the room and your resentment towards them is immediately replaced with sympathy and a natural willingness to forgive them.
It’s no wonder that celebrities who have their entourage and fans who pamper them day and night still have problems with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, suicidal tendencies, domestic violence and so on.Â The mechanics and emptiness of language never satisfies or fulfills us.Â The intangible value that one gives from one’s heart can’t be faked or forged.Â It’s like we all have a detector inside of us for such things and even though we almost never realize it, there is always something lacking when someone try’s to pass off counterfeit love or when we do it to others as well.
I see people at work cleaning something.Â Then the owner cleans it and it is totally different.Â Doing anything just enough to say you did it not only puts off the obvious emptiness that went into the task but creates more of it inside of ourselves.Â Put a little heart into any task and the work alone was more rewarding than the result.Â It’s no coincidence that the people who have this basic attitude are usually higher up in the company and higher up in spirit.
Many conflicts arise in our lives, and manyÂ pass unnoticed because we are so used to them.Â The built-inÂ operating systemÂ of suppression/ release, openness/ closeness, judging good from bad is running in the background without a hitch. There is a time, however, when the conflict becomes so big we are not able to ignore it. Depending on the conflict resolution habitsÂ and personality type, some choose to release theÂ stressful energy through blaming and attacking the “enemy”, some choose to ingest it internally, some choose to ignore it. These could all be reasonable responses, however sometimes we need to go deeper and learn from it – what made me react this way? Why couldn’t I contain the stress and resolve it peacefully? How can I avoid repeating this pattern in the future? What made the other person to react to my words/ actions in this fashion?
When we are young, our minds are open and our hearts are big, and we can forgive and let go much easier. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we don’t have a strong preference of who we are. As we grow older and gain status and comfort, our mental attitudes might change without much recognition from ourselves. It becomes harder to forgive and stay open. We might abandon the process of examiningÂ the status quo of our beliefs and our default emotional state.
After gaining a stable social status and a comfortable life, I noticed that my mind shrank significantly. I became judgmental and closed to new people and experiences. I could only be friends with people who had similar background and views. I considered myself a sophisticated modern woman while I was just getting further and further away from myself.
I was not happy at all with that change and searched for answers. Through the practice of Harmony MeditationÂ I learned howÂ I canÂ stay open in my mind and warm in my heart despite the challenges. It does take courage and willingness to look deeper and see myself without embellishments. A discipline of applyingÂ critique to my own self can be excruciating. It is easy to blame the other party and close the subject. With practice,Â the process of exploring becomes much less traumatic. At times I amÂ able to chuckle at myself – what the heck am I doing? At times I even look forward to receiving a not-so-pleasant feedback from my teacher because I know and trust the process. I know that when I weather the internal storm of a hurt ego with a right attitude, a new beginning will come. And that feels like a miracle â€“ what a great potential each of us hold.
â€œIn our lives we can free ourselves if we realize that we have not one way to choose, not two ways to choose, but we can choose all possible ways.â€ â€“ Johwa Choi.
In a conflict situation, I try to apply the teaching before plunging the sword of judgment and declaring myself right and the other party wrong. I know the answer is almost never black and white, and there is something to learn forÂ me. By admitting that my worldview can be limited and flawed, I open myself to new possibilities and freedom.