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Sunday, May 15, 2022

More thoughts on Meditation and Faith

 

More on Meditation

Meditation, it seems to me, to be a personal journey in which I am seeking inside of me a sense of something that is sacred, an abiding energy which is always there. By that definition, that abiding energy, that sacred something must be present in every life and everything.

During a guided meditation with “Thay” on “Sitting with the Buddha”, the words he suggests for helping to focus are: “I am sitting with the Buddha; I am breathing with the Buddha”. I found myself asking “Who am I?” and also “What is that I?”

If I ask myself: “Who am I?”, the answer I get is: “I am an impermanent historical entity made of several elements which came together to make this body with life and those elements will go back to nature when the body is gone”.

If I ask myself: “What is that I?”, the answer I get is that it is that sacred abiding energy which is at the base of this “I”, and of all the “I”s and of all there is in this Universe.

In the epilogue to his famous sloka called Manisha Pancakam, Adi Sankara relates to body, life, and the abiding energy (spirit) as follows: “Oh Lord, in the form of the body I am your servant. In the form of life, I am part of you. You are within me and within every other life in the form of soul/spirit.”


More questions on Faith

“Thay” says: “Do not try to be peaceful. Just Be Peace”

“J.K” says: “Do not try to be yourself. Just be that You”

Buddha, Sankara, Jesus, Ramana and other realized souls ask us to have faith in our inner self and experience the Divine within. Is it possible to have faith in oneself without getting arrogant and self-righteous? Those Divine figures could do it. Can we, ordinary people, do it?

If we cannot reach that level of experiencing the Divine in oneself and yet stay humble, like they did, our faith is more likely to lead to intolerance and harm to others, and even to oneself. This is one reason given in the Vedic Hindu tradition to stay with and learn from a Guru, an enlightened one, so one can learn humility in addition to knowledge.

Putting our faith completely on an external source is also not without its problems. It is not conducive to growth since we lean on others and do not think on our own. It may also be dangerous as we have seen over the centuries with faith-based wars. But it is an easier path. And, if things go wrong, we have someone else to blame!

 



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