Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

trying something new

I decided to do something new last night. Here’s what happened:

I was coming home from class, and was doing my usual routine; cleaning up the kitchen, brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed, whatever. As I was hopping in, I looked at my phone and saw that my battery wasn’t completely wiped. I thought, oh wow, I barely used my phone today. And it was kind of great. The days that I am so engaged in life and whatever is going on in the real world, as opposed to the virtual one, have seemed to usually end on a brighter/better note. Interesting. As I was hopping in bed, I looked at my phone and decided that something was going to change.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before you close your eyes to go to sleep at night? For me, it was checking my emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every now and then. Literally. As soon as I would turn my alarm off in the morning, my fingers automatically jumped to the mail app, then the Facebook one, so on and so forth. And the same exact thing would happen at night. Let me just check really quick to see if anything new and exciting has happened since I last checked 30 minutes ago. Now, I get it.

Is this really the thoughts and energy I want to absorb myself with as soon as I wake up, and the last thing I do before bed? Realizing now, it doesn’t really jive with the positive, Truth-seeking life that I am trying to live. I love Facebook and Instagram, don’t get me wrong. But, I realized that it can’t be my life. There are so many more amazing things that I could be spending the last few minutes of the day with.

So, here’s what I am doing. I’m going to put aside my phone at night, and focus on what’s important to me. Get back in touch with my journaling, spend some time reading the hundreds of books that are on my “to-read” list, close my eyes and meditate/reflect on the day, actually go to bed a little more peacefully. And what am I going to do in the mornings? The same thing. Not look at my phone (except to turn my alarm off, of course), until I’ve finished my morning routine, finished my yoga and pranayama practice, and got a little meditation in. I’ve also decided to start my day with some words of wisdom, from whomever. Right now, it’s The Mother.

It may seem trivial or not even worth mulling over, but everything is sending you energy, whether it’s gross or subtle. If you want your day to be amazing and end amazing, you have to make the conscious effort to make it happen. This is how I’m doing it.

How do you start and end your day on a positive note?

From Prayers and Meditations by The Mother

November 2, 1912*
ALTHOUGH my whole being is in theory consecrated to Thee, O Sublime Master, who art the life, the light and the love in all things, I still find it hard to carry out this consecration in detail. It has taken me several weeks to learn that the reason for this written meditation, its justification, lies in the very fact of addressing it daily to Thee. In this way I shall put into material shape each day a little of the conversation I have so often with Thee; I shall make my confession to Thee as well as it may be; not because I think I can tell Thee anything — for Thou art Thyself everything, but our artificial and exterior way of seeing and understanding is, if it may be so said, foreign to Thee, opposed to Thy nature. Still by turning towards Thee, by immersing myself in Thy light at the moment when I consider these things, little by little I shall see them more like what they really are,—until the day when, having made myself one in identity with Thee, I shall no more have anything to say to Thee, for then I shall be Thou. This is the goal that I would reach; towards this victory all my efforts will tend more and more. I aspire for the day when I can no longer say “I”, for I shall be Thou.

How many times a day, still, I act without my action being consecrated to Thee; I at once become aware of it by an indefinable uneasiness which is translated in the sensi- bility of my body by a pang in my heart. I then make my action objective to myself and it seems to me ridiculous, childish or blameworthy; I deplore it, for a moment I am sad, until I dive into Thee and, there losing myself with a child’s confidence, await from Thee the inspiration and strength needed to set right the error in me and around me, — two things that are one; for I have now a constant and precise perception of the universal unity determining an absolute interdependence of all actions.images

this too shall pass

The second round of vipasanna was one of the hardest things I believe that I have ever done in my life. Never has the phrase “this too shall pass” resonated in me more than it does now.

There is a concept of “annicha” that Goenkeji talks about in his discourses. Everything is in constant motion; nature, animals, us, even the walls that surround us in our homes. Our minds just aren’t subtle enough to pick up on it. Everything is impermanent. Everything.

This idea of impermanence is semi-easy to understand. It is a concept that we learned in physical science back in 8th grade along with other Newton Laws. I even remember watching a science cartoon (nerd alert, I know!) way back when about this idea, and remember them proving this fact that everything is in constant motion. As simple as this idea sounds, and as simple it is to “understand”, it’s not exactly an easy concept to fully experience or realize. We are constantly looking at the gross, and change is something that isn’t always received well.

Permanence. This idea of being stuck, static. When you think about it from this angle, it sounds a little ugly. Who wants to be stuck? Static? Continuously in the same place as before? I know that I don’t. And the cool part about it all, is that we’re not. You can never step into the same river twice, because the river is constantly flowing towards the ocean, and because of that flow, you are always going to be surrounded by new water coming from the source. And just like the river, we too, are constantly in motion, in constant change. Sure, it may not seem like it from the physical, external shell that we see each morning in the mirror, but think about all of the internal changes that are going on inside of you at this very moment, the next moment, and the next one after that. Really, you are not the same person every day you wake up. On a more physical level, you definitely aren’t the same person you were 1 year ago, 5, 10, 15 years ago, otherwise you’d be stuck in a period of infancy or being a child or even worse, being stuck in your preteen appearance. Who wants to face that agony on an everyday basis?

We are constantly changing. We are impermanent. Dr. Lad gave a really good example in class last week, similar to this concept. Our blood cells last about 108-120 days (Ayurvedically speaking). But every time they “die” do you turn around and mourn their loss? Probably not. And although this example can be taken a little bit morbidly, what is the essence of what it is saying? There’s an attachment issue in this world. A stickiness. And classically speaking, raag/dvesh (pleasure/dislike). And this runs our world. Attachment.

If we can begin to realize that everything is impermanent, that even the strongest storms that create the hardest sorrows, pain, and hurt, that they don’t last forever, maybe we can start minimizing this attachment, whether good or bad. Attachment isn’t just to things that you enjoy, but to things that you dislike as well. If we can start peeling back the layers and figuring out where this is actually coming from, maybe we can be one step closer to figuring ourselves out, because at the end of the day, everything that we see around us, externally, is all just a reflection of what is going on inside of us. It’s really not you that is making me upset, but it’s me that is making me upset.

I’m realizing more and more everyday, that this path I’ve chosen, this path of wanting to seek truth as it says in my bio, as I have set intentions for, as I have began to revolve my life around isn’t easy. At all. It’s even harder than vipasanna, and I didn’t even think that it was possible. To truly be happy, to truly live a life with purpose, to truly live a life filled with love and compassion isn’t easy. At all. It takes a lot of work, and boy am I realizing that now more than ever. Even when I’ve figured out the root cause of a problem I’m having, figuring out what to do with that, is really confusing.

We create more and more layers around us every single day. It’s time to start clearing those layers away. Those layers, too, are impermanent; it takes a lot to see that.

One of our teachers in class said something that really struck a chord with me today. “Even a raindrop will find the ocean one day.” We’re not stuck. We’re not static. We are constantly changing. And one day we too will find the ocean.

 

daily encouragement

And what better daily encouragement to go with my last post then this:

“When we are aware that each moment of each day, each gesture and step we take, is truly mystical and full of wonder, we will live our lives with greater thought and care. We will also have greater respect and appreciation for the lives of others.”
Daisaku Ikeda

Enjoy!

individual dharma

Hey all! I wanted to share something we did in class as an exercise with you guys, because I think it is pretty powerful!

So, we’ve been talking a lot about dharma and individual dharma these past couple weeks. Rightfully so, since dharma is a huge part of Vedic culture/tradition/theory/whatever. Growing up, I’ve heard a lot of different translations of dharma, “religion”, “duty”, “purpose”. But, one of my teachers put it so eloquently, that I had to share with y’all. She said that dharma is (talking about individual dharma, your personal dharma) is the path to knowing who you truly are. And of course, with that comes all of those other things like purpose and religion and duty and stuff. But, I just really loved this. The path to knowing who you truly are. Being in accordance with your true nature, whatever that may be. Then she continued to say that your career and profession doesn’t have to be your individual dharma. What a thought! It’s all about alignment with your true nature, your true self. I just love that. Because to me, that is what life is all about. Finding out who you really are, and when you do, letting that idea, thought, whatever take hold of every aspect of your life and seep in to every facet of your being. This is so awesome!

I think that once we figure this out, even to some extent, we can stop compartmentalizing different areas of our life. I no longer have to separate Nishita the student from Nishita the daughter, to wife, to sister, to whatever. I don’t have to draw lines between my relationships, family, spiritual practice, study, etc. Every facet and everything that makes you, you is governed by this idea of your individual dharma.

So, our teacher made us do this assignment where we figure out why we think we were put on this planet. What purpose do we serve during this lifetime? When she handed the sheet out, I had no idea what to put. Sure, many times before this I’ve said my purpose is this or that, but I never really put much thought or effort into what my purpose really truly is–what my individual dharma is. Once we figure that out, we have to create life goals that surround our individual dharma for different areas of our life: career/profession, spiritual practice, relationships/community, recreation/play, rest, finances, and study. How does my individual dharma relate to that?

I sat down yesterday and filled it out, and it was amazing that once I started thinking about my individual dharma, the rest just poured out of my heart and somehow filled in the categories. It’s incredible to see something that is such a vague and abstract idea become concrete on a piece of paper. Seeing it written creates some kind of new will power that you want to achieve this no matter what it takes.

But more importantly, I think it was so cool to see how one idea, one life goal, purpose, whatever can be intertwined amongst everything you want to achieve in different “categories”, and you realize that those categories aren’t even necessary, because every part of your life is revolving around one idea, one purpose, one path, one dharma!

WOAH. okay. this is a lot of realization for one post. But, in all seriousness, take some time out to think about why you were put on this planet, and see how that one idea can be the driving force for all those other boxes in your life.

I am superwoman

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I find it really funny how things come into your life when they do. Every day, there is some sort of subtle reminder of why you are here, or one that helps you stay focused on the path that you’re walking.

Yesterday and the day before I had a breakdown, and literally thought the entire world was against me. I felt as though nothing was going the way I’ve been anticipating, and all in all I was just really upset and frustrated. I even had to step out of work for a second to regain myself. It was just one of those days.

I had attitude of “I can’t do this. I’m no superwoman. I am just one person trying to get by. There’s no way that I can handle everything that is on my plate right now.” Basically, it was bad. I let it affect a majority of my morning, which unknowingly could have affected the people around me. I decided to succumb to what I needed to, and with a pouty face, I agreed to an option that I didn’t want to agree with. Whatever. I’ll make things work.

I got home feeling a little better. My students this week at summer conference are so great, and they helped turn my day around. I went about my evening doing my normal routine. But, when I was on my dad’s iPhone, I saw that he has an app that has a bunch of Swami Vivekananda quotes. I opened it and began flipping through all of the quotes, and I stumbled upon this one:

“The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.”

My, my, my, what a kick in the rear end. “And the greatest error is to say that you are weak, that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.” I realized that at that exact moment, God was giving me a boost of confidence. I am capable of handling everything that is on my plate right now. There is no “I can’t”. If anything, I am superwoman. I know it may sound a little snobby, but we are all capable of being superhero-like. We all have that power. We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have some sort of can-do attitude (as cheesy as that sounds). I’m serious. I think back to everything that I have accomplished in my 22 years of life, and I realize that if I didn’t think I was a superwoman, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did. I wouldn’t be as proud of myself or the life that I am living if I didn’t think myself a superwoman.

I am successful and awesome. We all are successful and awesome individuals. We are not down-trodden. But, we can be our greatest enemies if we begin to believe that we’re anything but superman or superwoman. I am beginning to realize that our attitude and perspective on life is one of the biggest factors as to how we get by day to day. Are you going to live a life of optimism? Or pessimism? Because at the end of the day, even a glass half full of water, is still have full of air.

Happy Thursday!

daily encouragement

“Many things happen in life. There are joyous days and times of suffering. Sometimes unpleasant things occur. But that’s what makes life so interesting. The dramas we encounter are part and parcel of being human. If we experienced no change or drama in our lives, if nothing unexpected ever happened, we would merely be like automatons, our lives unbearably monotonous and dull. Therefore, please develop a strong self so that you can enact the drama of your life with confidence and poise in the face of whatever vicissitudes you may encounter.”
Daisaku Ikeda

daily encouragement

“To possess both wisdom and compassion is the heart of our human revolution. If you have wisdom alone and lack compassion, it will be a cold, perverse wisdom. If you have compassion alone and lack wisdom, you cannot give happiness to others. You are even likely to lead them in the wrong direction, and you won’t be able to achieve your own happiness.”
Daisaku Ikeda

Book Review: Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources (part 2)

So, thus begins part 2 of my book review for Eknath Easwaran‘s Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources. In the first post, I talked about what the book is based off of. In this post, I want to explain his idea of original goodness via what he calls spiritual laws. These laws are the eight Beatitudes. Like I mentioned in part 1, there are some beatitudes that I want to discuss in detail, and I’ll get around to that at some point other than now.

Purity: We have put so many filters in our life, that we don’t see things as they really are. We see them through these filters, which is essentially distorting our view of the world and ourselves. We have to clean these panes, so that we are able to our true self, our core of goodness more clearly. These filters of feelings, memories, and desires have begun to dictate what we see, what we don’t see, and how we see it. We are basically creating images for ourselves that are not a true reflection of reality. What can we do to start cleansing ourselves mentally and spiritually so that we may become more pure, and truly have a vision filled with love? Meditation. Meditation is the first step to begin looking inward, and to see things as they really are. This will eventually give us the ability to “transform our personality from self-centered to selfless, from unconcerned to caring, eventually from human to divine.”

Humility: We have become so engrossed in doing things for ourselves. I have to go to school for my degree. This is my plan. This is my education, my job, my life, my family. Everything we talk about belongs to us apparently. Have we forgotten about the other individual? Are we essentially isolating ourselves from the rest of humanity by focusing on our personal needs all the time? Easwaran says yes, we are. “Asking life to make a selfish man happy is like asking a banana tree to give you mangoes.” We need to stop dwelling on our personal needs and benefits so that we can experience what true joy is. Here’s a reality check if I’ve ever heard one, “the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” Dang. How freaking true is this? I need to make my ego zero, because when it’s zero, God can fill that void with true love. How amazing does that sound? To be filled with pure love. How can I make myself zero? By losing myself in helping others, selflessly. That is the key here. Selfless vs. Selfish. “If you live today completely in love–hating no one, hurting no one, serving all–then tomorrow has to be good, whatever comes.”

Simplicity: Easwaran defines simplicity as “singling out what is worth living for, and then shaping our lives around what matters and letting go of everything else”. Do you have a list of things you are living for? If I had to think off the top of my head, my list would entail God, spirituality, family, and close friends that are basically family. Ask me if I’m willing to let go of everything else though. The answers no. Man, I have a lot of work to do still. He talks about how simple living is the art of using minimum means to attain maximum results; live gently. One way to do this is to realize that really nothing on this earth belongs to us personally, so we can look at things in a more simpler way. What is ours? “Simplifying your life then, does not mean cutting back on anything of value. It means learning the delicate artistry of making your every action count, taking notice of the needs of the whole.”

Patience: “Life is full of ups and downs. But you don’t have to go up and down with them. You can teach your mind to be calm and kind whatever comes.” Patience is something I’ve talked about before, and is a virtue that I need a lot of work in. Impatience can create a lot of negative energy in your life. Meditation is a tool that you can use to calm your mind, and truly create an inner peace. Impatience can bring stress into our lives, not that our lives can use any more of it. But, we have to learn to roll with what life gives us, and to remain calm in these situations. Again, something that I’m not always the best at. (No one’s perfect here!). Personally, after doing the 10-day vipassana course, I am trying to approach life in a very neutral manner, so that when I do act, my actions are coming from a truly pure and compassionate place. This is really important with patience, and I definitely agree with Easwaran that meditation is the key to creating a calm and patient mind and soul.

Love: “Love is a full-time occupation, a continuous state of mind.”  What kind of love is Easwaran talking about in this chapter? It’s really normal for us to separate love into different aspects. The love you have for your friend is different than the love you have for your family which is different than the love you have for your significant other. But, if we look at the root of all those relationships…what is the commonality in them? Love; the kind of love that we would be willing to do anything for those people because we truly love them. Easwaran points out that love is being able to still be kind to someone after they’ve blatantly been mean to us. Love is going through the rough times with another individual, and being that support during that period. Love takes endurance. But, I think the most profound thing that he points out, is that we claim to love God. But, how can we love this Being who is the epitome of selfless love, when we can’t even love another individual selflessly? We want to have a selfless relationship with God, but when do we go to him? When we want to pass a test, or make it through something. That’s anything but selfless. We have to first learn to love another individual in the purest definition of love before we can even begin to love God. Woah. Anyone else beginning to think that they have a lot to work on?

Mercy: I think that I can summarize this entire chapter into these words: “As we sow, so shall we reap.” Every action that we take, every thought that we think is accounted for. There is a popular modern saying, that isn’t my favorite, but it goes something like “karma is a b-word”. Well, it’s really easy for us to think this way when it doesn’t effect us. When someone else we don’t like or don’t get along with gets a bad card dealt to them, we’re so quick to say “karma is a b-word.” But, everyone gets what they sow. Why don’t we all just realize that it’s always better  to pick the side of mercy? In the end, we’re all fighting the same battle. So, why not help the other person win? “Mercy teaches that all of us in this world are on the same side.”

Peacemaking: “We must active cultivate peace as a virtue, trying to make it a permanent state of mind.” Why should we try to make peace a permanent state of mind? Because our thoughts become our actions, oh so quickly. Not only does this happen, but our perception is influenced by what is our mind is constantly dwelling on. If we are in a permanent state of negativity, consistently say my life sucks, my day sucks, I hate the people around me, then all of those things are going to come true. It’s all about attitude people. I think we all know the old saying, two wrongs don’t make a right. And it’s so true. If there is wrong done to us, we don’t need to fight it. Accept what happened, and move on. “Our children deserve to grow up in a peaceful world, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to see that they get the chance.” Instead of spreading hate, why don’t we start spreading a little love? We need to personally take responsibility and be the example that those around us need to see.

Desire: The Upanishads say, “You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your deep, driving desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your dignity.” Take a minute to think about what your desires truly are. Are they worthy to be told to the world? Are the worthy enough to live by? To eventually be your dignity? The problem is, is that we let our desires dictate our lives. We’ve let them take control of our mind and intellect, when really, it should be our mind and intellect that control our senses. We shouldn’t run after every single thing that catches our attention. Training our mind though to become in control is a really tough task. Meditation is the tool to accomplish this. It trains your mind to stay in control, and to become unwavering, so that it won’t falter when we’re put in situations that can make our senses go gaga and want everything.

Holy moly that was a lot I feel like. And I didn’t even cover a lot of the stuff that I wanted to. Like I said, this book was dense material-wise. At the end of the day, I think that it is a great book which talks about real-life examples of how we can implement a daily meditation routine into our lives, so that we can truly live out these eight Beatitudes.

Easwaran is an incredible soul and an enlightened individual. Reading his books and understanding his perspective puts these huge philosophical, sometimes daunting, theories into such simple language, that it’s impossible not to grasp. I can only hope that my 2-post review did him and his writing justice.

Please check out this book! Think about ways you can implement these qualities into your life, after all spiritual laws are a good guide for anyone. I think everyone needs a good guide on this journey, and Easwaran is a fantastic pick.

For more information on Easwaran, his meditation technique and center, programs offered by his organization, or to just sign up for Thoughts of the Days, visit http://www.easwaran.org! This is a great resource for many spiritual needs.

Book Review: Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources (part 1)

I just read a phenomenal book that I wanted to share with you all.discovering-your-hidden-spiritual-resources I finished reading Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources written by Eknath Easwaran just a day or two ago. I’ve mentioned a few quotes from the book here and there, but I wanted to do a complete review. There are some things from the book that I want to do entirely separate posts for, but that’s a different conversation for another day. This book covers a lot of material, so I’m just going to talk about the highlights. It’s a great book, so I recommend buying it and reading it for yourself!

So, what is this book all about? Throughout the entire book, Easwaran takes the eight Beatitudes and talks about how we can implement those qualities into our own life, and how meditation makes the process easier. He calls each of these qualities a “spiritual law” which will help us to peel off the layers upon layers we’ve created in our lives, so that we can seriously uncover the “uncreated light” within us.

What are these qualities he speaks of?
Purity: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Humility: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Simplicity: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
PatienceBlessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
LoveBlessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MercyBlessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
PeacemakingBlessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
DesireBlessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Easwaran starts the book off by talking about original goodness, and uses this idea as the basis for the rest of the book. What is original goodness? Original goodness is this idea that our core, as humans, is good. That we are inherently good, not bad. Because of this, we don’t have to figure out how to make ourselves good, because we are. All we have to do is get rid of the layers we’ve piled on ourselves that is covering that inner, pure layer of goodness. He says, “…before original sin was original innocence. That is our real nature.” He goes on to say that that we all have the capacity to reach God. But, it takes a lot of effort to meet that end. We are all seeds of God. However, we need to put that goal in our life. Having that goal makes us work hard to attain it. We have to realize that God is our home, and that is where we ultimately belong. Home is where the heart is, and the heart is the seat of love. He quotes Mechtild of Magdeburg, “The soul is made of love, just as the body is made of flesh–and must ever strive to return to love. Therefore, it can never find rest nor happiness in other things. It must love itself in love. By its very nature it must seek God, who is love.” I thought that this was just really beautiful.

How do we know when someone has reached this state? When he/she has “an unbroken awareness of the presence of God in all creatures.” They exemplify the qualities of “unfailing compassion, fearlessness, equanimity, and the unshakable knowledge, based on direct, personal experience, that all the treasures and pleasures of this world together are worth nothing if one has not found the uncreated light at the center of the soul.” I don’t know about you guys, but that state, the state in which you can seriously see God in every single soul and every single living thing on this planet, is really hard to get to. I mean, unfailing compassion. I still have mean thoughts going through my head when someone says something bad to me. But to still love that individual and see the God in them, despite that person being mean to you…that is such a Godly state if you ask me. I’d like to think that I know nothing I own and want and “need” has no worth, but honestly at this point in my life, I would have a hard time parting with my nail polish collection. I need some serious progress folks. But, in the end, this task isn’t easy. It’s daunting, scary, unpredictable. But, I don’t think God would have made it easy in the first place. We have to be aggressive on our spiritual path to find the Ultimate Truth, or else we’ll just do everything at slow, unfinished pace, and that’s not development to me.

Meditation: Easwaran talks about how meditation is a great and powerful tool we can use to start that introspection process, and really begin to see our true selves. (Y’all, I’m beginning to see a pattern here in my life. Meditation is the key to everything. Seriously. I’m hearing it everywhere).

Ok, what I’m going to do now, is write a synopsis of each of the Beatitudes in another post. There are a few that I want to go into in-depth detail in subsequent posts, because there was just a lot of good material in them. For now, however, I’ll try and talk about the crux of each spiritual law.

Vipassana experience: part 2

I’ll have to say, that the first couple of days were actually extremely boring for me. I found no mental stimulation, and focusing on my respiration and the reality of my breath was tedious and anything but exciting. Plus to top it off, it was raining the first few days, and I had holes in my shoes, which equals wet feet. Great.

Day 4 finally came, and we were actually going to learn vipassana meditation (up to this point it was just ana pana…focusing on the breath and concentrating your mind). Maybe I won’t be so bored anymore. This is where the real stuff was kicking in. It was an adjusted schedule this day. We had a sit from 3-5pm where we weren’t allowed to leave the room so that we can fully understand Goenke’s directions. So, we’re sitting, eyes closed, focusing on our respiration, focusing on the area underneath our nose and right above our upper lip, observing any sensations we may or may not be feeling there. Then, all of a sudden, he tells us to bring our attention to the top of our head, and slowly make our way down the body to the feet. We must make sure to feel every sensation, whether it be hot, cold, tingly, itchy, prickly, sweaty, whatever, in every nook and cranny of our body. And let me just tell you, woah. Like, freaking woah. I literally felt a movement of tingly-ness run through my body again and again. It was probably the craziest and surprisingly cool things I’ve ever witnessed. It was hard not to create an excitement towards this feeling that overcame me. To just observe and be neutral was a much harder task than I originally anticipated it to be.

Over the next several days, my meditations were just a bunch of ups and downs. My mind just would not stop on some days. I couldn’t stop thinking, and the music would not stop playing. There were days where I just could not concentrate and focus. At all. In the discourses every night, he would mention the importance of working hard. But not just working hard, but working diligently, patiently, persistently. I would walk back to bed some days thinking maybe I’m just not working hard enough, despite my serious effort to concentrate my mind. What was going on? I just wanted to concentrate. I just wanted to feel those sensations like that first time of doing vipassana.

Gji-sittingBW

Hey Goenkeji!

And there it was. I was creating craving and aversion before my very eyes. The one thing that Goenke said not to do. Well played Goenke, well played. Everything began to click towards the end of the middle. The root of misery, craving and aversion, I was creating for myself. I can’t blame anyone but myself.

I decided to work even harder than I was. I wanted to work diligently, patiently, and persistently, without wanting the good sensations and without wanting the bad ones to go away. I can’t say that my concentration and focus got exponentially better and that I could sit hours upon ends focusing on the sensations without being bombarded by my thoughts. Honestly, that happened a grand total of 2 times. Just two. All the other times it was a struggle. But, I worked. I worked hard. I know that this practice is going to come with time, and that’s okay.