Finding Our True Home
Being comfortable with ourselves
Staying home, being alone... can be challenging for many of us. We habitually resist and turn it into a negative experience of loneliness, boredom, etc. Then we desperately try to escape from that experience and eventually fall into all sorts of addictions — making it a life long struggle. We can either play our usual game of trying to run away from our experience, or we can use this situation to learn to be comfortable with ourselves.
To fulfill our inner-poverty, we have been running away from ourselves and chasing all sorts of activities and attachments. But they can only provide temporary reliefs and often come with a huge cost. It is like a bad case of poison ivy; we automatically scratch only to make things worse. Meditation is a method to soothe our irritations and restlessness, so we can slowly learn to be comfortable with ourselves. Whatever our experience might be, we can learn to calm-abide without being carried away into our habitual tendencies.
Facing reality just as it is
When there is uncertainty and confusion, we feel insecure and fearful. So, we cling to some beliefs to feel comfortable. And these beliefs become our prison. But, if we are courageous enough to stay mindfully with that uncertainty, we gain clarity and understanding — that lead to skillful actions. The challenge is staying open to life just as it is, without getting caught up in the cycle of hope and fear.
Whatever our situation might be, stress and fear only make things worse. Just two or three deep and slow mindful breathing good enough to break the body's stress response. The problem is that most of the time we are not even aware of our stress, as we are so absorbed in our busyness or emotions. We can use a simple practice of taking "1-minute break" for every hour or so, and bringing mindfulness of our normal, natural breathing — just counting to 10 breaths (using fingers to count). Then, we can approach the present moment with a fresh and open attitude.
Finding Our True Home
We may be staying at home, yet we are far away from our true home. We have been searching for peace, joy and fulfillment everywhere except within ourselves. Unless we find our own source of happiness, we demand the world to provide it; one way or other, consciously or unconsciously, we "use" people to satisfy our neediness in the name of love, business, religion, politics, etc.
Within every one of us, there is a beautiful and safe home. Whenever we feel fearful, uncertain or confused, we can take refuge in it. We can get there with mindfulness of breathing — which creates a space of relaxation and strength that leads to clarity and insight. Our sanity is just a breath away! The trick is to get a knack for it through proper training and practice. This may take some effort, but it is a worthwhile journey — as our deeper well-being depends on it. All the best!
"Don't take refuge in anything outside of you. In every one of us there is a very safe island we can go to. Every time you go home to that island with mindful breathing, you create a space of relaxation, stillness and wisdom. If you dwell on that island in yourself with your mindful breathing, you are safe. That is a place where you can take refuge whenever you feel fearful, uncertain or confused" — Buddha
(Buddha in fearlessness mudra/gesture, art by my niece)
04 April 2020
Sometimes finding our home can be difficult in the beginning. On our way, we may find things that are painful and scary. Please be gentle and go slow, bringing too much awareness suddenly can be overwhelming. Whenever possible, please work with a good teacher. Meditation is like planting a seed; one can plant it, water it, nurture it, but cannot force it to grow. Please do not force meditation, it simply comes to you as you nurture it with care and attention (We cannot achieve meditation, it only comes as the greatest blessing). Please be kind and gentle towards yourself.
If there is NO gentleness, it is NOT meditation.