How mindfulness will transform your life?
If you ask me, what is your name, I will say, I am Tarun Nanwani. You acknowledge my answer and use my name as a reference whenever required. This is Mindfulness.
Now, I once I tell you my name, you may start thinking. What is the meaning of his name? Is it short or meaningful? You might relate my name with some other person who has got the same name. You might also become little apprehensive, if you might have some bad experience with someone by my name. Now this is not Mindfulness, in fact it is like a mind which is too full and is not willing to accept anything. Let us take an example here. Suppose we buy a new house, a 3-bedroom house instead of the previous one which had 2 bedrooms. The rooms are bigger and more spacious which was why a huge investment was made.
The fact that the rooms have now become big, we decide to have bigger beds, so we can enjoy our time on the bed. The additional space will be quite helpful for a study table. The old refrigerator though quite enough for storage, does provide issues when there are surprise visits from guests. So, we buy a bigger refrigerator. Times are surely changing and a bigger screen television is the order of the day. A new house needs to kept nice and tidy, so a shoe stand will be a good investment. A room dedicated for books along with a small area for a little temple will only add value to our house.
A new house was bought because the previous one was too congested. But in a matter of couple of years there is not much space left in this house, too. It has become too full to accommodate anything new. Same is the case with our mind. We make it too full with unnecessary thoughts till there is not much room left for anything new.
The great thing about Mindfulness is that there is no need to remove or declutter all that is stored in our mind. MINDFULNESS is about Acknowledgement and Acceptance. The simple awareness on our breath will begin to do its work, its magic and the results will become evident quicker than we can imagine.
It reminds me of the childhood story of American President Washington. With his honest acceptance of his mistake of destroying his father’s favorite tree, he was forgiven and escaped punishment from his father. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest freedom fighters of the world, did not let his ego come in his way, when he confessed his errors to his parents.
With Mindfulness, we do the same thing. Accept things as they are with complete awareness. Staying aware of the breath during inhalation and equally Equanimous at exhalation. Let the air come, let it go. There is no need to judge it, or interfere in its process. Be a spectator, stay as a witness. Also be aware of the process. If your breath is too long or you are breathing too fast, you may regulate it. But just in the initial stage, then it will take care of itself.
Now we will have a brief mindfulness session of 5 minutes. And indeed consider it as a starting point for our mindfulness journey, though you may have done it before. Breath in slowly, focus on your inhalation and then be equally aware when you are breathing out. Focusing more closely will help us feel the passing of air in our body and releasing that air. If you feel it too daunting and difficult to follow it, count one when you breath and two when you breath out. Set a target of 10 and then do one more round. Or you can say IN when you breath in and OUT when you breath out. If you cant do it for 5 minutes do it for 2-3 minutes now and then find some other time in the day.
Congratulations, your journey has started. It may be very difficult to believe but this is one of the ways to attain Nirvana or enlightenment. Many have already reached to that stage and many are going to attain Nirvana through this. My primary focus friends is to motivate you with talks and at the same time make you practice. Theory without practice is of no use and only waste of time. We have already wasted lot of our time doing insignificant things which we had thought as significant in the past.
A paradigm shift is on the cards and together we will only go forward. Every task when undertaken has to be backed up with milestones and a meaningful purpose. Don’t confuse this practice with others. Every little session we have is a milestone in itself. The relaxation you will feel and the bliss in your life will be evidence in itself. You will surely benefit out of it, but the greatest benefit will be for the people around you. They will feel great joy in your company. Who would not love a company of a calm, composed and a serene guy or a girl?
Follow the processes is my humble request. Nothing great was achieved without any sacrifices. Investment of time and faith in the process will be the sacrifice you will have to make. The sessions you will sit in the lotus position may seem a great challenge for you. But the biggest sacrifice, I believe you will have to make is to be a witness to your breath. In a world which is running at a frantic pace and we are trying to match it up, this awareness of breath may not be the ideal recipe on your plate. I read a quote, “Life is a race. Run! Run! Run!” Our technique is exactly the opposite, there is no need to run. All the time and space are within you, so where will you run? All time and space are in us, we are not in the realms of time. It is for the convenience of humans, for reference, we have set the boundaries of time and space. But the advantages we got by the references of time and space have been misused and it is turning into our biggest enemy. We have started to become slave of the clock and are strongly bound by the place we live. Breaking the boundaries is not going to be easy and we are not going to attempt it at the start.
We will begin by short sessions of 10-15 minutes, sitting in one position, sincerely and humbly. Humility and sincerity are the key for any practice. And even more important is the trust in the practice and trust in the teacher.
Learning a totally new philosophy and integrating it in our real life is difficult. And it is even more difficult to advance through online podcasts. But we are aware of it and we will proceed at a slow pace, explaining you the theory and backing it up with practice. It is a sacred practice because it is the practice of the Buddha. So, we need to take responsibility to keep the practice sacred. There are many ways to live the life. Fortunately for us, we are, knowingly or unknowingly, discovering The Buddha Way. It has indeed transformed the lives of many and will continue to do the same in the future. The beauty of this practice is that it is simple, basic without any extraordinary fanfare. It is so simple to the point that the simplicity itself proves to be the scariest thing.
Sitting in a lotus position with a straight back and hands arranged in a certain way, and then just focusing on the breath, is not something which we thought would transform our life. But it will, I bet. And even if it doesn’t at least try and then reject it. It is a battle with the inner world. When the whole world lures us to satisfy our cravings, we are resisting the temptation and taking refuge of the breath. Only those who persist will get the fruits. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to start our practice and bring some momentum. We have been going in circles and literally wasting our precious life. We need to come out of our comfort zones and also be prepared to challenge our incorrect methods. No change, especially at the mental level, is going to be easy. I apologize for being rude but it is like, “We need to change or stop complaining that our life is not working!”
When there is so much of science and confidence infused in us by The Buddha through this practice, we need to show intent. The journey has to be started and the first step, for sure, is the most challenging step. With this powerful and brave beginning of the practice, we are on our path to conquer a demon, which not many have been able to do. It is our Ego. It will be a big battle and our progress will surely be slow. The “I” which has led to the demise of the true nature of man is more dangerous than we can ever imagine.
Without getting too excited about the long-term results, we need to just take the first step. Doubts about the practice, lethargy and procrastination are big enemies which will make all possible efforts to distract us from our sacred practice. Lack of discipline and expecting quick results will also make matters worse. The beauty of the practice is that it is no practice. It is a way of life. What we are trying to do in fact, is to make our nature as Buddha-Nature. It is like a person who has just joined a new organization. It will take time for him to get accustomed to the environment, people and processes. If he is patient, he will gradually learn the work, too. There will be difficulties and frustrations which will prompt him to run away. But if he perseveres, after 2-3 years, he will become an integral part of the organization. He will develop more affection and love for the organization. He has not done anything extraordinary; he has just kept on learning and following the processes.
To make our nature as Buddha nature, we don’t need to do anything extraordinary, too. In fact, anything which is extraordinary is not in line with Buddha. The Buddha method is simple, and nothing extra needs to be added to it. Anything added to it, will make the practice lose its fragrance and purity.
This reminds me of a story where the father decided to make his son learn all the scriptures from a yogi. The father went to the Yogi and told him that he wanted his son to understand all the scriptures. The Yogi agreed to impart knowledge of Vedas to the student. He told the father, “There are 4 Vedas in total and they include all the knowledge of religion. They are Rigveda, Atharva Veda, Samaveda and Yajurveda. But learning this will require the son to stay with him.” His father agreed and replied, “There are 4 Vedas, so if you teach 1 Veda every day, it will take him 4 days, so I will come after 4 days!”
We should not make the same mistake as the impatient father did. We need to believe that every time, we breath with awareness, stay in the present moment, we are making progress. The advantages will immediately start but they will be evident little later depending upon our practice, process and trust on the practice.
So, in this episode we went through the basics of mindfulness in a simple manner. To summarize, mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. It is about acceptance and awareness. It, for sure, is a means to reach to Nirvana or enlightenment. The vehicle which we will use to reach that stage is our breath. The simple process about awareness on our breath as we breath in and being equally aware when we breath out, is but a wonderfully effective method to progress.
We will conclude this session with a simple mindfulness exercise which we discussed in the middle of the session.
Thank you, very much.