Meditation Offerings

Meditation At Be Yoga and Wellness Mondays at 7 pm,
Any Time Fitness, Okaville Tuesdays at 7:15 pm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thoughts of Love

Thoughts of love

Thought is a label attached by the brain to one of its apparent functions; thinking. It names breathing to the functioning of lungs, seeing to eyes, hearing to the function of ears and so on. Love is a special thought but another label for the thought that tries to explain attraction felt by a human body. Similar attractions occur all through out the universe but they are labelled differently by the brain, e.g. Gravity, magnetism and electrical energy.

If we try to go deeper into the meaning of the label "thought or love", we quickly end up at the bottom of the rabbit hole. This is not unique to this label but to all names and labels. Take "table", a word used to describe the functioning of a rectangular object made of something called a tree, which is made of something called molecules, atoms and then strings and eventually energy. What is energy, another question at the bottom of the hole, begging for what philosophers call the "one free miracle".


I wrote an essay on "nature of thought" here in April 2011(check the archive). My thoughts (pardon the pun) have changed somewhat. I used to agree with the then experts that thought was a function of brain; hearts pump, lungs breathe and brains think. But more recent neuroscience research shows that thoughts actually follow a human act not precede them in most cases.

The most appealing albeit controversial theory about thoughts, memory and other seeming brain functions is that they actually exist outside of our organic brain. An event or trigger brings a thought into consciousness and the brain takes ownership of this calling it "my" thought. It turns out upon serious looking that there is no I, you or self as we know it and so anything being "my" thought is incorrect. "You" don't have a thought, but thoughts do happen. They are in that sense the same as breath which happens or walking that happens. It is part of living that happens without a me or you.

Let's look at it another way. How can we stop or significantly reduce thoughts? Meditators will tell you and neuroscientists will confirm that by retracting your attention from the senses and concentrating on one object such as breath, you can indeed reduce or even eliminate thoughts for long periods of time. Also, in deep sleep when the brain activity has slowed, thoughts do subside.

That means there are two essential interactions that spur thoughts; between the brain and one of the other five senses. So thoughts happen as a result of seeing, breathing, sitting, eating, sensing. It is an integral part of living. The brain calls this a thought and claims it as it's own creation. There is no evidence to support that brain produces thoughts. Most likely it is aware of thoughts after the fact. It does the same thing to other acts of life. Life happens and  brain claims it is "my" living.

Love is another label or name of a special thought. Attraction between two objects is a fundamental aspect of the material world. Negatively charged electrons love positive protons, particles love other particles and planets love the sun. We call it gravity. It takes extra energy to repel things from other things. But the ground state, when all energy has been spent is love. When this primordial feature touches consciousness, it is expressed by the brain as the word love. Everything is part of this one whole which is in love with all of manifested creation. But rocks can't express their love of water or trees their love of the sun, the same way humans do. So love becomes a big word instead of a very natural feature of existence.

Love is the very nature of consciousness. It too just happens as life happens. Until a human brain becomes aware of it and claims it to be its personal thought of love. There is no such thing as "your" love. There is just love. Just as there is no your thought, there is just thought. There is no my life, there is just life.

Is thought, or love (a special thought) hinderance or help on the path?

I find the "I" thought to be a great hinderance. These are thoughts that have an incorrect ownership attached to them. Just removing the personal connection makes them quite tolerable. Even when "your" house is on fire, you will do a better job to try and put out the fire by considering it  just another house. This works well in most aspects of living or loving. When this understanding of true nature of thoughts takes hold, it is of great help in keeping me true on the path.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Consciousness

Consciousness is an attribute, a property, a quality of living things, even inanimate things rather than an independent object in itself. If we start looking for it like an entity to be found through meditation or pilgrimage, we may find something very different. In fact its the attribute of all there is. Consciousness of emptiness brings manifestation into this presence.

Consciousness or awareness does not perform an act or control anything directly but through an object such as a human body. In fact all functions of a body and it's mind can be attributed to its only property,  consciousness. Eyes do not see, they funnel light through a lens onto a detector whose signals are rearranged into images and then consciousness of the body allows us to see. Same with all other senses. Even thoughts are just electric signals in the brain which get translated into images or sounds and the conscious ability of brain allows us to make an intelligent thought.

In simple terms its like the colour of an object. Just like the red of a rose allows us to see it, fragrance of it allows us to smell it but neither is the rose. Similarly consciousness makes us conscious of everything else but it is not a thing. Its just a property of beings. In that sense it could also be a property of inanimate things but they express their consciousness in a different, inanimate way. Perhaps it is the consciousness of an electron that allows it to be entangled with its twin, billions of light years away.

This doesn't mean that consciousness isn't the all pervasive god, brahma or rigpa scriptures speak of. It just means that looking for consciousness as an object will always lead to disappointment, its just not there. It is the attribute of everything in the universe; it makes us human, rose a flower,  earth a planet, sun a star and space the space.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Yoga Philosophy Sessions At Be Yoga

JANUARY 19 , 7-10 PM

Patanjali, well known seminal author of yoga guide for all practitioners, defines yoga as "chitta vritti nirodhuh" meaning "cessation of mental formations." We will cover the eight limbs of yoga that leads to this cessation in what is known as samadhi, a complete absorption into and of the self. Yoga without understanding what the process is designed for is an incomplete practice.

FEBRUARY 16 ,  7-10 PM

Bhagwat Gita, is a satsang between an undefeated warrior, Arjuna with his charioteer, friend and teacher, Krishna in the middle of an epic battle. Gita's lessons of how to conduct oneself while arrows and spears fly past you and still maintain a meditative calm are as good today as thousands of years ago. This is the guide for all who want to find peace without having to escape the vicissitudes of life and its torments.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Enlightenment

Literally to bring something out of darkness by shedding some light on it.
The same definition could be used for guru, a sanskrit word meaning someone who brings you out of darkness.

But in the end it is a word based on a concept like the one described above therefore it was created by a human brain which has but one purpose, to produce happy chemicals through actions to stimulate its five senses and through thought. And ironically it is the frustration felt by that brain when it fails time and again to find a permanent and constant source of happy chemicals that it wants the panacea of enlightenment.

Most teachers point to a great mistake, an illusion, a maya perpetrated by the brain or mind as the source of all suffering. The brain keeps trying to end this suffering by making another mistake, this time to seek enlightenment.

It is when the brain realises its error, the great mistake by retreating from the endless loop of seeking happy chemicals, the light goes on.

The curse can only be taken off by the witch who caste it; the great mistake or illusion  of separate self can only be realised by the one  that created it. There can be no guru other than you.

All living things with brains share the ability to generate happy chemicals through the senses. Nature designed this as a way to protect and perpetuate the species. Human brains have a special ability to create these happy chemicals through thought, concept and ideas including illusion. Magic, movies, art, music all represent this remarkable human brain feature. Its a natural result of this brainpower that humans create the illusion of self.

It starts at inception as the special ability of thought and deductive reasoning, used by the brain to create a separate self which is and has to be served by others to keep producing these happy chemicals. Its not the milk that makes me happy but the mother who gives milk. The biggest bondage for the human mind is the mother child relationship. This is the beginning of the great illusion and cause of more subsequent suffering. It leads to other emotional illusions like love, hate, jealousy, envy.

The great illusion is not that there is no Mona Lisa but that Pablo Picasso painted it. Yes there were two hands of a body labelled Pablo which went through the motion of moving colours on a canvas. But this great work of art is the creation of millions of years of training and evolution at the cellular level. This is the great illusion of separate self.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Meditating When Life Sucks

It almost seems like you have to be already in a neutral mood, not too happy not too sad before you can follow the simple mindfulness meditation tips and tchniques, like paying attention to your breath, finding a comfortable seat, peaceful corner, on and on.

Well that's not much help. If I am already calm and neutral or happy, who cares. Why mediate? It has to work when all you can see is doom and gloom, bleak future and painful present. And when you sit to meditate when you're upto your navel in alligators, all your mind tries to do is solve the problems you have and protect you from the impending disaster.

But you really need to meditate when life sucks. How?

What I have found is a simple two step process works quite nicely.

One, bring the suffering in front of you instead of hiding from it and then resist trying to solve the problem right now. Say to your self, first I must calm myself now becuase then I will be better prepared to find the best solution. Do this by separating yourself from the problems you face. Instead of I am angry, anger is arising; or instead of I am jealous, jealousy is manifesting, or I am exhausted, the body is tired. And so on. Buddhists call this selfing. So try to avoid selfing, be vigilant.

Two, scan your body and find spots where the anger, worry, sadness is showing up. It is usually in the stomach, chest or neck. While breathing regulalry, keep a focus on that part of your body.

Try this. It works for me everytime. You may have to repeat this often until it becomes a habit.

Now, should you still meditate when everything is peachy? Yes, becuase that's when the body is trained how to sit and be quiet.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What is love?

Literally it is the attraction between a human, the only species that has this word, and other beings, matter and thoughts which include concepts, ideas and imagination.

But this word is so heavy in its impressions. It is the reason for much anguish, for so many conflicts and heartaches.

Attraction between two objects is at the heart of all creation. Gravity makes earth go around the sun, stars around black holes and galaxies in spirals. Gravitational attraction keeps the entire universe from flying apart at much faster speed and instantly vanish into the original void it apparently came from.

Attraction keeps particles bound in specific orbits that make the infinitesimal to macro; molecules, cells, rocks and trees.

This attraction is innate in all living beings. It's this attraction that makes all living things seek company of other living things. Even though a lion kills for food, he only takes what it needs. Only one animal actually hates as well as loves. And that is the homo sapiens.

Why?

Something happens in the evolution process when living organisms graduate into a thinking machine. The mind thus created, instead of being one with nature, instead of being one interconnected living matter starts to see itself as a separate being, a separate self, master of its own domain. By definition, a separate self sees all others as separate. The innate attraction which is seamless for all other species and inanimate matter takes on duality; me and you, good and bad, love and hate.

The birth of separate self changes entirely, the word love. From being innate attraction common to all things in the universe, it becomes a restricted emotion only known by us humans and a feeling that comes and goes along with thoughts typical of a separate self. Impermanence which is suffering as taught by Buddha is the chief characteristic of the separate self. Love becomes just one of the five aggregates that fade in and out.

The road back is deconstructing this separate self, in seeing for what it is, an illusion created by thought, impermanent as everything else created by thought. Then, love is the same for man as it is for mosquitoes or electrons entangled with each other, a stable innate property of the universe.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

One Minute Bhagwat Gita

I am all there is...

Krishna is I
Arjuna I believe falsely to be me.
Kurukhshetra is the world I have imagined
Mahabharata is the war I engage in all the time
Happening now
Demons I have slaid in my mind
Virtues I have to protect in my mind.
The grand vision of godhead is the infinite nature of my field of consciousness.
Arjun must surrender to know me.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I want everything

A sufi master, Dr. Syed Hussein Nasr during the 2013 festival of faiths in Louisville said why is it that horses do not overeat nor do most animals, but we do? Even after your belly is full, the craving for the next tasty morsel persists. Even after you can barely see, you want another drink. It doesn't take long before your heart is after another lover.

 His answer was that something propels us to want everything, the point he made was that within us  is a desire for the infinite.

Where does this desire for the infinite come from? Surely it can't be the organs like a mouth, a stomach or even our sexual body- none of these have a will. They serve a bigger master. Is it the brain or its representative, the mind? When we look we find no mind, no brain, just thoughts coming and going like wisps of clouds; sometimes arbitrary and other times evolved out of a stimulus.

For a moment just imagine an engine behind all desires in the world including yours. This engine has no name but same attribute-less profile as pointed to by masters from the very beginning. This energy or force for lack of a better tag, takes on your body as its consciousness. And as soon as that happens, the body's senses and its accumulated memory becomes the person you experience. This process repeats itself billions of times a day for billions of entities. One residual quality of this latent force is its infinite nature, expressed as an unlimited appetite for all there is.

The body mind is feeble compared to your infinite nature which frustrates you when you assume the identity of this body, hence you suffer. Realization of this false identity relieves the suffering.

For a moment step back from your personhood and see if you really are what you appear to be? How does it feel?




Saturday, April 23, 2016

Past, Present and Future

Past regrets and future worries are the main ingredients in a soup called suffering. Masters recommend seeing through the dream like quality of these in many words such as time is in the mind, only the now is real all else imaginary thoughts and that history is just a story.

The difficulty in truly accepting and understanding these arguments lies in the fact that the present or now seems so real. And that past events were at one time felt just as real as the present does now. So how can we possibly say that the presence is real but not the past? Or that the future will not be similar to the real now.

The answer lies not looking at just the past or future as dream states but deconstructing the present as being unreal. This is impossible as long as we use our senses which report a very real direct experience of the now.

But there are two components of this now. There is the sensory experience including the sensation of thought. And overlaid on them is a fog like story that keeps swimming in our brains. We are dreaming even now. Separating these two into a directly observable experience now and a thought based conceptual commentary often labeled, I, me and self. And seeing that this manufactured self is not real and never to be found.

The absence of self now must mean an absence of self in the past or in the future. This diffuses suffering substantially.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Can it be that simple?

As a four year old, I attended a satsang with my grand uncle who was practicing pratyahara by abandoning all usual domestic life and wandered small villages of mithila giving words of wisdom to whomever would listen. Unfortunately, 7 pm was about the end of the day for me and I pretty much fell asleep in the wonderful ambiance his presence along with candles, incense and flowers had created. All I remember is his first word which was samsara and a memory of deep peace. I asked older folks later what he meant and they told me the world. It has taken me sixty years to really understand the vastness of the word and what world he was talking about.

I have spent pretty much rest of my life to try and find simplicity in teachings which mostly confuse me even now.

So when Mooji says look, I find mostly noise confounding most of my senses. So I close my eyes and the loudest noise from photons disappear. What remains when I sit for a while is a vast ocean of quiet and peace with frequent disturbance of thoughts and vapor like images. These noisy things become loud when I let my attention get attracted to them. It takes some practice but it's possible to drag my attention back to the vast silence. And I love it.

Can it be that simple? When zen masters tell you to sit or when adviata says inquire within. Can I be just that, the simple wide field of silence. Why not? Every other pointer seems so complicated.

Closing your eyes is a metaphor for really stilling your senses. It works with touch, smell and taste as well. Shiva in his vigyan bhairava tells of a meditation practice where you close all your senses and see. See not look because looking gets your mind active again which by its very nature is hard at work looking for an object, all the time.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Be Madly in Love

Is enlightenment supreme bliss?

So many of us on the new age path are attracted to the veiled promise of satori bliss, SHAKTIPAT sidhi, nirvana peace or sakshat moksha. These promises originate from certain ancient, current teachers and authors who have described the fruits without properly releasing the contradiction.

Nirvana means blowing out the fire of ego, enlightenment happens to no one and moksha means liberation from the body. So, if there is no one left after liberation who feels bliss and joy?

Body and mind do not disappear until death. Feelings are intact as ever perhaps even more. All hindrances of mind chatter, negativity and preoccupation are gone. What is left is a body and mind with sensuality only available at a primordial time or perhaps at birth.

The body falls madly in love.

Falling madly in love is the natural state of the body and mind. It longs for this twenty four seven. Alas, most objects it finds including other beings are impermanent leaving it to seek more and seemingly forever. Until one day as many enlightened masters have pointed, the objects disappear and only love remains.

Kabir said :" Most exhausted themselves reading epics without results but one who learnt the word with two and half letters Prem (love) became the wise one."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Just Disappear

Why not just disappear?

Take a look, a close look
Are you really needed in whatever
That fills your day, good and bad
That makes you happy and sad?

It's not a magic trick
You disappear every day
When you lay down to sleep
When you are engrossed in tv.

Are you there when you fall in love
With a person, an object or an idea?
Are you there when you are
passionately angry or happy?

Why bother showing up
When all you find is suffering
With an occasional smattering
Of relief.

Just disappear into the space
always there when you close your eyes
Beckoning you to spend time
In solitude, reverie and meditation.

Just disappear into a place
So familiar it feels home.
So vast, there is no end
Nor beginning, just calm.

Disappear to whatever aches you
To unwanted arguments,
Useless future plans
Or past hangovers.

Disappear into the background
Like a tree, the cloud and the earth.
Just being there to serve all
That deserve your molecules.

Monday, March 7, 2016

What's the purpose of your life?


There are two questions here. First, what is the purpose of life itself. Many have tried to answer this and there are millions of words written on this.

The purpose of your life is perhaps easier to understand, for it is limited to an assumed identity, you. This assumed identity has been programmed by your parents, teachers and society as well as the biology itself to charge it with a purpose. The biological entity acts for survival and procreation. This purpose takes on the shape of the world you know, live in and love. This world of action seems to have no end but if you reduce all the grandiose acts from exotic dinners to space flights to discovering dark matter, it comes to common denominator of biological progress.

This natural path of securing survival comes to somewhat of an end for many when the body feels secure. Until then, the answer to the question is simply taking one step after another towards this mundane goal of survival. You share this purpose with all living beings.

But more importantly, ask why has this question surfaced in your mind or rings a bell as something significant? Is it a call in response to struggles and suffering in the way of taking that step one after another? Or is it a call from somewhere deep? How can you tell? Just take a look, an honest look.

In either case, meditation helps. If it is due to resistance to mundane living, a deep look into impermanence significantly reduces the tension. If it is somewhat of an spiritual call from within. Look at what the answers may be and how these answers may change your actions now and in the future. Are you, for instance trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

Monday, February 29, 2016

So good to see you

How do you feel when someone says to you, it's so good to see you? Or, you look so pretty, handsome, cheerful or wonderful today. Feels nice? Why?

Doesn't matter who you are, a king, a popper, a minion or a boss. It feels nice. Why?

Even if you don't believe the words. Even if the teller is disingenuous. Even if he is a stranger. It still feels nice. Why?

And this nice feeling, where does it manifest in you? And how long does it last?

Watch your thoughts when hearing these words or when you do not hear these words but were expecting them.

Why?

For therein lies the true definition of what makes this illusion of you.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an adopted name originally from the word yog which is still in use by languages derived from Sanskrit. Yog simply means a way, a method, a process. Some say it comes from the word Yoke but I can't find any reference to this.

Yoga as it is practiced in our neighborhoods today is just one (asanas) or may be two (pranayama) of the eight limbs of Ashtanga as taught by Patanjali in his book of sutras which is the most esteemed reference book used by yoga schools.

The eight limbs of yoga are Yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

The first four of these are practice of yoga but normally we find asanas (often in Hatha yoga)and  pranayama taught in most studios. The first two, Yama and niyama are codes of living as recommended by Patanajali and also by Buddha in vipassana. Practices like vegetarianism, noble silence are part of Yama and niyama practice.

Pratyahara is withdrawal from five senses which is a result of yoga practice of the first four.

DHARANA is concentration upon senses like breath, vision or hearing or objects like treka on candle light or bindu on a wall etc. Dharana leads to dhyana or meditation (on the mind) and is often an integral part of yoga. Attaining an equilibrium or samyama of Dharana, dhyana and samadhi is the ultimate intention of yoga. Results can range from sidhis or unusual powers to complete liberation and enlightenment.

Mindfulness which simply means paying attention is an integral part of all yoga. Simply put if you pay keen attention on (or be mindful of) your practice of Yama, niyama, asanas and pranayama, pratyahara results which leads to a samyama of dharana, dhyana and samadhi (or meditation). When realized, as a minimum it leads the body to a blissful state such as raising kundalini or harnessing chi and as the ultimate buddhahood.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Lotus

lotus

Putrid is the smell
where I was born
Filthy is the pond
Where I took the first sip.

Where cows defecated
Buffalo played and frogs frolicked
Beasts used it as a playground
Humans use as a dumping hole.

From where the grass
Looked greener outside.
A home that looked
Dark and murky.

Then I saw the light
from a blazing sun
cutting through layers of filth
it reached my innards.

I opened my eyes
looked for nectar in the crud
little by little
I drank the wine.

Little by little
I blossomed and got stronger
to raise my head above the grime
until blue sky and clean breath.

Now all I see is love
of shining treasures
beauty beyond 
occasionally the filth I left behind.