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Category Archives: Spiritual thoughts

Mindfulness for growth and transformation

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for personal growth. Recently one of my friends began an email by saying, “I am in a bit of a rut right now” and concluded it by remarking, “I really feel the need to have something to look forward to”. The reason for this was the fact that being highly talented and hardworking she did not find the present job to be challenging nor did it give her opportunities to make use of her abilities to the maximum. At the same time her current situation prevented her from quitting and taking up a new job. This situation was going to continue indefinitely. The fact that there was nothing that she could look forward to was taking a toll on her emotionally.

How can mindfulness help?

First and foremost it ought to be seen that none of the thoughts that appear on the screen of our mind is either good or bad. In this case the thought was that there was nothing meaningful or rewarding to look forward. Mindfulness means to be aware that such a thought is appearing on the mind-screen in the present moment. The normal tendency of the ego-mind is to identify personally with the thought which is appearing.  That there is a poor little “me” who is suffering this.  It is this personal identification that creates the suffering. The moment this happens we have lost our control to the ego mind and fall into the rut.

Starving the ego-mind

Being mindful prevents us from making this kind of an identification or attachment to the thought. Rather than becoming the character who is suffering, we are able to become a spectator to the issue. Instead of being embroiled in the drama we are witness of the thought. This detachment prevents us from supplying energy that the idea needs for its survival. The thought feeds and keeps itself alive on the energy that it receives by our identification with it. Once this supply is switched off it simply falls away. The energy that was being spent on propping up this drama is now available to be used creatively.

Growth and transformation

The result of our identification with the thought is that the mind remains agitated. Unlike the still water which can reflect the moon clearly, the ripples break up the reflection into a thousand bits preventing clarity. Mindfulness helps to prevent the ripples so that the mind can reflect reality clearly. The energy is now available to bring forth creative solutions and personal growth. Innate wisdom will arise and guide you. Suddenly you find that the wall on which you have been banging your head is no longer there. Your higher self will guide you to come out of the rut. Old negative patterns that had become deeply etched in the mind will be erased and pathways for life enriching growth and transformation will open up.

Personal growth

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Spacious Mindfulness

What is Spaciousness?

Lao Tzu’s poetic text ‘Tao Te Ching’ is built around the concept of ‘spaciousness’. One of the example that he uses is that of the space within the pot. We do not actually use the clay of the pot. Rather the clay creates a usable space in which we can put what we like. Similar is the case of a house. We do not live in the materials that that the house is constructed with (walls, door etc). But rather we live in the space created by the materials. This spaciousness is what allows for everything in existence to be possible.Our true self is this birthless, deathless, timeless, limitless, eternal spaciousness.

The mind could be compared to a pond. When the concentration is on one object, it is as if one throws a single stone into the water. You can then observe beautiful rings expanding out from one point on a smooth surface. When there are a multitude of thoughts, it is like many stones hitting the surface of the lake, Ripples start going all over, running into each other, making any sort of clear reflection off the surface of the water impossible. Similarly, when the mind is full of thoughts it is impossible for any deep awareness to manifest. Neither can any deep reflection about oneself to take place.

This is the way the mind exists most of the time. In that condition, all we can do is attend to one thought before another breaks through, whether we like it or not. Thus, the individual is continuously forced to deal with the constant agitation of the mind.  Being pulled by our senses, desires, goals, dreams, attachments, aversions, or attempts to serve the demands of others. In such a situation there is hardly any peace nor can we experience our true self. Not only can multiple demands on our life lead to a sense of stress and overwhelm us physically. It can also feel unsustainable and hopeless emotionally.

The advantage of Spaciousness

What is often helpful is to seek the larger landscape which can hold one’s experience. A spacious mindfulness practice can benefit a sense of larger perspective. A bigger picture, an openness that can soothe the mind and calm the heart. And even if the practice does not completely do this every single time, it may do it enough so that we can be present one more moment, one more hour, one more day. It allows the boundless qualities of Life to arise and remind us that a clear mind and open heart are possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

One of the classic images used to express this is a storming bull that is caught in the confines of a very small barn. What happens as the animal rages and bucks against the narrow walls of its prison? Likely, it will both destroy the barn and deeply injure itself. However, place the bull in the space of an open field with no obstacles or boundaries; its energies will surely be vented, and its forces also will also exhaust and calm themselves over time. Our minds and hearts are similar.

Placing our minds and hearts within a larger landscape allows whatever to arise to be held with mindfulness. The broader the picture we have of our life, the more space we have to maneuver any difficulties that arise and to tend and care for all of the multiple joys and sorrows that come our way. This kind of spacious open awareness does not repress, deny, or change the experience of the mind. It simply gives the mind room to breathe, relax and come into its fullest potential — to be kind, clear and free and at perfect peace.

Spaciousness

 

 

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Happiness – the starting point, not the destination

Happiness and sense of fulfillment in life has very little to do with accomplishments in the external reality. If we are enjoying music, it is not the music that makes us happy.  From this is the expression of our love for the music we  creates\ our joy. If we are happy in our job or career, it is not the job that makes us happy. The expression of our love for what we do creates the experience of happiness. When we are enjoying a beautiful day, it is not the day that is flooding us with emotions. It is our love for the experience of the day that we are flooded with.

Creating happiness

Happiness is a feeling created by the expression of your love coming out of you. If you express emotions of fear and anger, you will experience fear and anger. How you feel is determined by the emotions you create. You can control your happiness to the degree that you can control your attention in your mind. The truth is that you make yourself happy. You probably just don’t know how anymore. Through mindful awareness it becomes real and waits to be freshly rediscovered in the next moment of awareness.

Happiness, Mindfulness

 

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Peace is our essence

 

Quotefancy-3891434-3840x2160There’s a Buddhist saying that peace is like a sun that’s always shining in your heart. The most basic fact about human nature is that peace is our own fundamental and true essence. It is not something we gain by doing/not doing certain things or by following certain disciplines and techniques. The reality is that this fundamental nature cannot be conceived or perceived by the mind. The mind can only know a form, a shape, a color or an image. It can thrive only in the world of phenomena.

Our fundamental nature is a luminous expanse of awareness that is beyond all conceptual fabrication and completely free from the movement of thoughts. From this basic nature of emptiness everything is expressed. And from this everything arises and manifests including the mind. Until we realize this fundamental essence of our being, all that we do to experience peace will only disturb the peace we already are. But when we realize it, everything that is done, rather than being an attempt to experience peace, becomes an expression of the peace that always already exists.

Mirror likeness

This peace which is the wholeness of our true nature is likened to a mirror. It embraces and reflects whatever is put before it. The mirror itself, however, no matter how vile the object it is reflecting. It remains detached from and never tainted nor stained by its reflections. Always remaining the same, retaining its intrinsic purity and never wearing out. The reflections do not affect the mirror.

Once we recognize and become more familiar with the pure, spacious mirror-like peace that has been our ever-present condition from the very beginning, we then are able to simply rest and abide in and as that, realizing that we already have in our possession that for which we are looking.

Ranji Varughis

 

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Balance is the key

The life of every living creature depends upon breathing. Breath is the union of two – inhaling and exhaling. Breathing in and breathing out are not two opposites but two parts of one process that are organically connected and cannot be divided. It is these two functions that that maintain the balance of life. Choosing only either one of these functions will actually suffocate us. Now this is also true with regard to our dealing with thoughts feelings and emotions. Unfortunately we are conditioned only to attach ourselves and identify with every thought, feeling and expression.

Attachment is only one part of the process. There is also the function of detachment. If we choose only either one part of the process it will definitely disrupt our balance. This is where meditation plays an important role. Meditation is the time and space we create to detach ourselves from all thoughts, feelings and emotions. Once we master the art of detachment we transcend both attachment and detachment and we begin to act from a place of stillness, peace and balance. Balance then becomes as natural as breathing and goes on even without our knowledge. It is when we become mindful, aware and one with totality. That which we are searching for will then be found. Let every breath remind us of this.

Ranji Varughis

 

Fusion of opposites

 

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Witness to the mind’s journey

The mind is always on a journey that begins by judging the present. Most of the time the judgement brings regret about the past or worry about the future. The journey is primarily to seek a solution to this uneasiness. But since the mind can conjure up unlimited amounts of possibilities it is hard to meet its challenge using the mind. The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. The answer lies not in fighting or avoiding the mind but in transcending it. Beyond the changing mind is a changeless background. The Higher self remains untouched by the dreams of the mind just as the movie screen remains unaffected by the images projected on to it. The realization that the witness of the mind is not affected by the rulings of the illusory mind brings an end to the journey.

I AM realization

Listen to the voice in your head. When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. Do not judge or condemn what you hear. For doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You’ll soon realize: There is the voice, you are listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind. So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence – your deeper self – behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.

Ranji Varughis

 

Stillness

 

 

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Say YES to life

 

Living in the moment

Mindfulness is more than being conscious of thoughts, feelings and actions. In fact we are conscious all the time and are aware of everything that we experience with our senses. But the difficulty is that we are not willing to accept the present moment as it is. Mindfulness is the faculty to remain as a witness to whatever it is that is appearing in the moment.  It is to be able to remain in the present. Unfortunately our life conditioning since childhood is always to pursue a goal that is always in the future. To use the words of Alan Watts, “you are always living for some where you aren’t”.  While it is of tremendous use to look ahead and plan for the future, it is of no use planning for a future which when you reach you’ll be looking forward to some other future. Unless you can live the present moment fully you cannot live it all.

Ranji Varughis

Life

 

Links : Mindfulness Coaching Online

 

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