MEDITATION: Being our True Self

January 17, 2019 | By More

Our true identity is boundless consciousness, connected with all that is. Yet, here we are being human and identifying ourselves with all the roles we play; going to work, being a parent, a partner, a friend. Every role tries to define us and makes an imprint on our mind. Our constant interaction with the world around us fills our senses and calls on us to respond. Our thinking minds become overloaded with stuff to sort out and pretty soon we have forgotten the spiritual truth of what we are.

Meditation is the tool we can use to reconnect with our deepest self. Sitting down and simply following the breath allows all those impressions stored in the subconscious mind to come flowing upward to be released. Gradually the mind calms and we gain a sense of inner spaciousness and serenity. 

At times we need to consciously release the roles we play. We can start a meditation by saying “I give up being a student, (accountant, teacher etc.), I give up being a parent, husband, partner etc. By doing this we can allow ourselves to move into the present and release the identities and thoughts that are keeping us preoccupied with the past and the future.

Often we may be storing tensions and feelings in our bodies. Stretching, moving and breathing consciously can all assist in releasing these tensions. Then our energy starts to flow and we can bring more awareness and focus to the present moment.

Traditional yogic meditation incorporates the practice of “pratyahara”; the conscious removal of the mind and senses from the external environment. This can be as simple as imagining that you are in a special place far away from your everyday life and responsibilities; a place where you have come to be one with the infinite consciousness of the universe. Similar techniques exist to withdraw from one’s identification with the physical body and from identification with the wanderings of the mind.

Establishing oneself in a space of inner quiet we get to experience ourselves as a pure and peaceful witness to whatever is flowing through us. Instead of being the feeling or being the thought we are the witness of it. It floats through our awareness and we do not hold onto it. The rhythm of the breath takes over and we may feel like we are floating gently on a great ocean of peace and calm.

In the yogic tradition of meditation it is common to repeat a mantra internally while meditating. This helps establish focus by giving the mind something to concentrate on in addition to the breath. When the attention wanders you return to the rhythm of the breath and the sound of the mantra. This simple act, this constant returning of the mind to focusing on the breath and the mantra builds the muscle of attention; it builds the knowledge and experience of being awareness and of being pure consciousness. 

Now the mind is a fluid and expansive entity. It can take the shape of whatever becomes its object. It can take the shape of a pink elephant or it can take the shape of a problem at home or at work. But, by giving it a sublime and transcendant idea to focus on it can flow into an expanded state of identity. A mantra is somewhat like a Koan in Zen Buddhism; the conscious, reasoning mind can’t grasp the “sound of one hand clapping” or the meaning of a mantra such as “everything is love”. Only a subtler level of mind, the intuition, can grasp or imagine such a transcendant idea. Our mind can intuitively relate to this subtle idea and be further encouraged to flow in a state of expanded awareness beyond the inner dialogue which occupies so much of our energy on a daily basis.

Being aware, being still, being in a state of flow, all of these states emerge through the practice of meditation and we experience ourselves as we truly are; boundless consciousness, a drop in a cosmic ocean that releases its limits and becomes one with the vastness of all that is.

Chris Simmonds

Chris is also known by his spiritual name; Acharya Chandranath. He is an ordained teacher in the Ananda Seva lineage and has been practicing meditation in the yogic tradition for over 40 years. He leads group classes and workshops in the Ottawa area and internationally. He also provides personal instruction in the more advanced practices of his tradition. For more information about current offerings please see www.ottawameditation.ca

Category: Articles, Spirituality & Meditation

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