The most profound things in life are also the most simple. I’m going to pose a very simple, yet profound challenge for you. Can you just sit down someplace in your home, or the park, or wherever, and for one hour do absolutely nothing? In this challenge, you’re not allowed to do anything as you sit there. No goofing off on your phone. No daydreaming. Not thinking at all, especially worrying about all the things you “need” to be doing. Can you just sit there, doing nothing, thinking nothing, and just be there where you’re sitting?
I can pretty much guarantee you that if you haven’t been practicing this, and learning techniques about how to free yourself from compulsion, it’ll be difficult. Your mind will wander all over the place, mostly worrying, probably about things you’ve sat and thought about a million times before. You’ll get compulsive urges to look at your phone, check Facebook, read the news, or whatever it may be. You’ll get pangs of hunger, and then want to eat snacks, sip soda, or something. There’s always a distraction, always some compulsive behavior, generated by the brain, which yanks you somewhere and you follow it, no matter if it’s making you depressed, ruining some aspect of your life, or keeping you from doing things that are actually worthwhile. The human brain is this compulsive mess, and it bombards us with mostly stupidity, all the time.
You know why this is important? Maybe you don’t, so I’ll tell you. This is about taking control of your life. It’s about actually being in the driver’s seat of your life, instead of being driven by every random compulsion your brain generates.
Just to give a few random examples, with some, when a situation arises which makes them nervous, they have to have their cigarette, even when it destroys their body. With others its food. They just can’t stop eating. I’ve heard overweight people tell me, “This is one of the few joys I have in life. This food!” They look at their body and they’re morbidly obese, but they keep putting food in their mouths, even when they have all kinds of health problems. To some its alcohol or marijuana. Something in life is making them upset, nervous, or bored, and they have to go to that substance. Compulsive negative thoughts must be combated by some substance to drown it out, or distractive compulsive behavior to compensate. Their mind just goes nonstop, mostly negative thoughts filled with worry, despair, anger, and depression, like a recording playing over and over and over. Then they have to run from it, and it just goes on and on.
And you know the worst part of it? The brain never stops, so if you always have to run from its compulsive thoughts and emotions, they are in total control of your life. You’ll go to work on something important to you, or try to spend time with your kids, or whatever, and then uh oh, the compulsion’s here. Oh no, now what do you do? I need my distraction! I need my mind numbing substance! I can’t just sit here, I’m bored! This is terrible! I need something to do! I’m going crazy! So off you go, reacting to random compulsions instead focusing your mind and efforts, and directing your life.
This is why just being able to sit in one place, doing nothing, is so profound. It’s not that sitting is profound. It’s about being totally free of compulsion and distraction. All the random desires of the body have been put under control. When you see some Yogi mystic sitting beside a temple, meditating, doing nothing for an entire afternoon, it’s profound because they’ve liberated themselves from all the passions and desires of this world. The body’s compulsive passions and thoughts are a form of slavery which they are delivered from.
Take this next video for instance. Sadhguru is a Yogi master who teaches meditative practices to help one achieve peace of mind. Someone in the audience asks him why these Yogi men, living in the mountains and temples are so often celibates. What’s wrong with sex?
He tells them there’s nothing wrong with sex. Being a celibate has nothing to do with abstaining from sex, it’s about not needing sex to be happy and fulfilled. To these Yogi masters, sex is simply irrelevant. That’s hard for our society to understand because we’re obsessed with sex. How many of us have seen our friends date the “wrong” man or woman, all because our friend was caught up in sexual attraction? She’s hell incarnate and he’s a walking demon, and that makes our friend miserable, but look at that face and body! She’s all he thinks he needs! Our friend’s sex drive is leading him down a path of misery. It’s no different than an obese person ordering a few large Domino’s pizzas for dinner, chowing down. So he tells you, “Sure I have high blood pressure, I’m fifty pounds overweight, and have stones in my gall bladder from this grease, but a man’s got to eat doesn’t he!?” Keep telling yourself that, but you know and I know that you should be eating better.
Do you see why this is a big deal yet? If you can sit for an hour, in one place, and not let all the tugs and pulls of the mind and body dictate your behavior, you are once again in control! If you can do this all afternoon, just sitting on the porch, watching the birds, thinking and doing nothing, then wow, you’ve made it! That’s because deep down within us is our core consciousness, the real reality. It’s already at peace. It already has all it needs. It’s always been there, and will continue to be there. You’ve just always been running away from it. To deliver yourself, you only need tap into it and it’s like, oh, this is nice, I never needed all the things I thought I needed after all!
You can have a big house, a small house, a brand new sports car, or no car, a significant other, no significant other, a good job, a crappy job, lots of friends, no friends, a wonderful family, or no family, it doesn’t matter if you know how to quiet your mind. All of these desires, these thoughts of what you think you need, they’re illusions, they’re ghosts, they’re not real.
You see why this is such a huge deal yet? How many of us went to college for years, studying things we don’t care about, all in hopes to land a “good” job, to earn all this money to buy all these things we never needed in the first place. We told ourselves that we won’t be happy unless we have a certain level of material comfort and success. These things are supposed to bring peace of mind, but it’s a lie, just like everything else in this world. It’s all lies.
One of my professors who I did research with was trying to hook me up with a job working in military technology for the U.S. Air Force. One of his former students graduated a few years back and has been working for them and is now making close to a quarter million dollars a year. So after I completed my thesis paper they were going to hook me up with a job there. Just drowning in money. But I didn’t take the job. What!? Who wouldn’t want to make $25,000 a month and work on state of the art technology!? What are you doing Jason?
*Shrugs* You know what job I did take? I work as a lecturer in math and physics, teaching young undergrads the fundamentals of math and physics, and go to the workshops and help students solve problems. I’m a teacher. I may make way less money, but you know what really fascinated me? That former student making all that money, when asked about his massive paychecks, you know what he said? He said he has no idea what to even do with all the money. When I sit and think about it, at this point in my life, I honestly don’t have any use for all that money either, so why take on a job that’s more stressful and builds weapons which are used to forcefully used to impose one’s will upon another in warfare? I’m not about force and enslavement, I’m about working together, freedom and expression of individuality.
But Jason, you could own a giant mansion with twenty bedrooms and six bathrooms, and an inground pool, and your own private gym, and your own private theater, and everything else. Then you can buy some overpriced car and be a big deal! Wouldn’t that be cool! *Shrugs* I don’t mind hopping in my Jeep Patriot and driving a few minutes to the gym. I don’t really watch movies; not very often anyway. The university has a giant olympic sized swimming pool I can swim in at any time for free. As for the giant house, I don’t have any need for all those rooms. All I need is a bedroom, a closet, a larger room for my computer and video games, enough space to have friends over to play video games with and hang out, a guest room for when friends need to stay with me, a kitchen, bathroom, a basement to store stuff. Check. Well that’s about all I really need. The rest isn’t really of any value to me.
The same goes for all sorts of things in life. People are always asking me when I’m going to get married. When asked, I may lightheartedly joke about it, but deep down, my real answer is that I honestly don’t care. That’s not a depressing “I don’t care, what’s the use.” It’s a “I’m already fine as is.” And the funny thing is, now that I don’t have any strong desire for marriage, and am content within myself, I’m actually at a place where I’d probably be a wonderful husband. I’m at a place in life where I’m “full” and am more about giving than taking. It’d be more about, “What can I do to make your life better”, than “Here’s all the things you will do for me.” I suppose it’d be nice to have help doing all the little things in life, like getting groceries, running errands, etc., but I don’t have any problems doing it myself.
My goals at this point in life do not involve careers, money, relationships, family, or anything like that. To some this may sound strange, but as I journey down this road of peace of mind, my goal has been to connect more and more with what one might refer to as higher consciousness, or the higher self. Christians would call this the Holy Spirit, Buddhists and Hindus the ‘Atman’. I’m working to develop a deeper relationship and understanding of what some circles refer to as God, or others as Brahman, the infinite, eternal truth and bliss which is unchanging, yet is the cause of all change, which it seems to me exists both deep within me, and also without. If you want to practice this state of mind, when you look at another person, see them as the Ultimate Reality/God/Creator. When you look at yourself in the mirror, see the Ultimate. When you see the world around you, see it as an aspect of the Ultimate.
There are aspects of consciousness and existence within me which need further understood and explored. The Tibetian Book of the Dead talks about entering the clear light upon death and to avoid the duller lights, even when they’re easier to look at. That’s where I’m going, connecting with that brilliant eternal radiance, as much as possible in this life, and upon death, whatever of mind/spirit/existence remains of me, I’m going back to that light. I’m lovingly detaching, if that makes any sense.
This may sound superstitious to a lot of you. But as I’ve developed a relationship with this… higher self… I call on it all the time. I ask for my mind to be cleared, for peace and silent happiness to fill me and be with me, and for my emotions to balance; I quiet my mind and focus on that intention, and it happens. It used to just happen sometimes. Now it happens EVERY time. If I start feeling emotions that are unpleasant, I go back to that place. I want clear, brilliant silence. You may say, Jason, that doesn’t happen. You can’t just feel like crap inside, and then focus on some intention and your entire mind and emotions clear, and you’re left at peace. That isn’t real!
*Shrugs* Say what you want. Maybe it’s not real to you. It works for me. You can’t tell me it’s not real at this point. I do this over and over and over again. The world is still a chaotic mess, but it bothers me less and less each day. Like I’ve mentioned in past posts, I’ve unclogged a lot of the gunk in my … mental/spiritual pipes.
This morning I was quite proud of myself. I needed a signature from one of the physics professors on campus, and I stopped by his office. I then ran into someone in the hallway who told me he wouldn’t be in for about an hour. I thought, well, I could go home, and then come back, or maybe I’ll use this as an opportunity to practice clearing my mind and just being present. So I leaned against the wall, and for about thirty minutes (he showed up earlier than expected) I did nothing. I just sat against the brick wall, doing nothing, thinking nothing, just observing the room I was in, feeling the texture of the bricks along my back, moving my toes around within my shoes and enjoying the experience.
To many this sounds boring. I should’ve loaded a game up on my phone! I should’ve read news articles! I should make the most of my time! But I ask you, why? You know why you think that? You think that if you just sit there, avoiding the present moment, you’re going to be bored. Boredom is horrible and must be avoided at all costs! But in actuality, if you’re really “present” in that moment, thinking nothing, there’s absolutely no problem. If you know how to be present, you’re not happy, nor are you sad. You’re just there and the room is just there. That moment is there, and you are there in it. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s no unpleasantness at all; there’s no suffering there. It’s quite nice.
I want to be silent and at total peace within myself. I want to be free of compulsion and disarray. I’m getting better everyday.