Our Natural State
Our natural state of Being is awake, empty, and free. An experience that is rooted in equanimity, bliss, and a lack of mental modifications. Our mind has been conditioned through our relationships and environment on having a knee-jerk reaction and response to each thing that we experience through our sense-awareness. The onslaught of critical and judgmental thoughts create beliefs and responses that limit the full, vivid experience of life itself. Storylines get created and our internal operating programs run off the beliefs with behaviors that create self-fulfilling scenarios. We are what we think. Once we have cultivated a consistent, disciplined meditation practice we begin to work on honing and refining our tools and techniques so it helps to facilitate the shedding of another layer, the dissolution of our ego. Allowing us to open further and fuller into that which we already are – our Essential Being.
Even on the martial arts mat, our mind wants to add something to a technique. Whether that is muscle, force, or aggression, we recognize over time and with practice that all of those things only further hinders our body system from moving in a natural way due to the limitations that our mind creates in what we think we should do, or how we think we should do it. The mind is ceaseless in what it does and how it operates. Instead, once you’ve learned the technique begin to let go of all the ideas and thoughts of how it should be done and play with allowing the body to move naturally without any obstacles, barriers, or challenges in the way. We are allowing ourselves to engage with the aspects of space and emptiness within. A great example was when Sensei was demonstrating an ‘entering’ technique by simply reaching his arm out to touch the uke on the chest. The uke (attacker) was to use his sense-awareness to stop Sensei from touching his chest by deflecting the entering move. When Sensei’s movement came from his shoulders, arms, or legs they were all detected by the uke and deflected accordingly. Whereas, when Sensei’s movement came from the natural release of his knee joint, letting gravity drop Sensei’s body in an effortless way, Sensei was able to enter and touch the uke on the chest time and time again without the uke being able to detect the entering force and therefore being unable to deflect of defend against it. When I witnessed this, it struck home for me how effortless and effective we can be when we operate from our natural state versus the mind with all of it’s mental modifications on how the one should move. The body has it’s own innate intelligence, that’s what it was designed for yet, our mind wants to jump in and take control of it, which handicaps the body’s natural functioning system. [Read more]
This is similar to the mind. When we let go of thoughts and indulgent storylines (i.e. beliefs, identities, etc.) in our meditation practice we begin to recognize clearly and distinctly when our ego is getting the best of us and taking us off balance. Having a spiritual teacher alongside us during the journey is an added gift to help us forego the indulgences into the stories of the mind. We don’t even recognize how much we can get sucked into the drama of life until we sit on our meditation cushion and work to drop any and all thoughts that arise. The mind is an insistent and clever little beast, which speaks to how valuable and important consistent practice is so that we begin to tame the mind and eventually let go of thoughts completely during our meditations to allow ourselves to experience the Worlds of Light through our Essential Being.
Through consistent practice the attachment to people, places, and things lessens and eventually dissolves altogether. Each attachment comes with it its own shelf life that mindful practice helps to tend to like a well-placed shovel at the root of a weed and disconnecting it from the soil so that it doesn’t continue to grow despite how many times you have trimmed the weed. With continued practice not only do we gain insight to the inner workings of the mind we also gain experiential experiences with our Essential Being of blissful emptiness, peace, and pure joy that spans beyond any concept of mind.
Begin right now with this 20-second meditation technique then build upon that to 1 minute, then 2 minutes, and so on. Notice when you do sit how the rest of your day unfolds, no matter the minutes or seconds, build a daily practice and see where that journey takes you.
If you are ready to dive deeper into your personal practice, register for our 2nd Annual Begin Again Retreat - Meditation Intensive. Rejuvenate your practice with this powerful and transformative event, no prior meditation experience is needed.
I look forward to sitting with you and wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!
p.s. Check out an excerpt from the New York Times interview with Tina Turner who mentions Frederick Lenz's book. Dr. Frederick P. Lenz was an American Buddha who fostered the growth and development of American Buddhism.