Jun 17, 2016


A recent interview from the North American Heartfulness Conferences.

When did you start meditating? 

The first time I tried to meditate was right after I graduated college. In one of our last classes in the Theater program, a professor suggested we incorporate it into our day to support a healthy career and lifestyle. I sat under a tree and tried to relax and concentrate. It lasted about twenty minutes and I had no idea what I was doing. It took another five years before I tried again in earnest. 

A good friend of mine from college went to a Vipassana retreat. That’s a ten-day silent meditation workshop. She thought I would get a lot out of it and she was right. It was like being in a lab for your mind/body. Having studied acting and learning about subtle energy from healing practices, it was a natural extension of the self-observation I had begun. But now instead of just being aware of myself, I was being trained to be equanimous to the sensation. It was like this key I was missing. As the sensation arose, I noticed it and moved on without reaction. This training helped us learn to react with neither aversion nor attraction and gently train our mind to find that middle balance.

I felt high afterwards. There was a hyper-awareness and a feeling of stability I had never known. But it didn’t last, and neither did my practice. There wasn’t an organized community outside the retreat, so after a month or two my practice fell off.

Apr 8, 2016

MEDITATION: PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST


Sometimes people imagine meditation is out of reach for them. In an already busy day, how and when will I find time to meditate? My good friend once said that meditation is as easy as brushing your teeth. Once you start doing it every day, it just feels natural to do it and feels kind of weird and uncomfortable if you stop for a while. I’ve found this to be true.

I had the fortune of loosing my job a few months after I started meditating. At the time, I didn’t think it was fortunate. I was pretty shocked. But not only did I learn the value of work in a new way, I also had a LOT of time to find regularity in my Heartfulness practice. For some time it was the only major pillar in my day. So I respect that I didn’t start my practice with the challenges of a 50-hour a week job and a family too feed, like some people learn to do.

During that period, I had a lot of space and time. That space and time became a clearing of a lot of anxious and sad existential feelings that I had harbored for some years prior. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt guilty going on a hike or to the beach because I wasn’t being “productive”. So I sat in front of my computer most of the day. But I didn’t have work and couldn’t bring myself to apply to a mediocre job. So I went on social media a lot and frittered away the day. Somehow that made sense in my millennially-oriented, pre-prefrontal cortexted mind. But, I was meditating. Every morning when I woke up, and every evening before I went to bed. And somehow it stuck.

And somehow, slowly, I began to feel better. I began to feel a new feeling of love and lightness and peace inside. It was a feeling I had known, however vaguely, for my whole lifetime was possible but yearned, in vain, to access. And it was becoming my reality. And so the meditation perpetuated itself. The effort was so minimal. I just decided to do it, and did it. I have never been a particularly disciplined person. But if something clicks, I don’t have to be disciplined. It becomes natural. It becomes a joyous part of my life.

Feb 5, 2016

CHOOSING SUBTLETY: CURATING OUR INTAKE


“I still don’t understand why you don’t like to listen to music,” my sister gaped, sitting across the table. “It’s not that I don’t like music,” I explained, “It’s that the trade-off is too high for me to do it very often.” I went on to elaborate about how I’m actually a very musical person, it’s just that when I listen to a song, it locks in my head and won’t stop repeating itself for a few days. While I like the song at first, this constant looping isn’t pleasant in the long run. So I tend to stay away from music to prevent it, unless I make the conscious choice to partake and endure having a song linger in my head for a few days. 

Like the first time I started meditating. I was at a 10-day silent vipassana retreat. The vast majority of my headspace was a playlist of a random smattering of songs I had once heard across the span of my lifetime. Music, apparently, is my mind’s default expulsion.

Since I started Heartfulness meditation, I have a better understanding of why this kind of thing happens. Throughout the day, we accumulate impressions of everything we interact with. Occurrences that create a stronger impression, if we attend to them, become more strongly rooted in our awareness and we can continue to entangle in them. So as a part of the Heartfulness practice at the end of the day, called cleaning, I sit and suggest that all the impurities or complexities that I’ve accumulated during the day are leaving the back as if they were smoke or vapor. After this cleaning, I feel light and more balanced. Even if I had a pretty awesome day, there’s a freshness that comes afterwards.
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