Mr. Nobody turned 40 by august 2017. The resolution he took on his birthday is to learn transcendental meditation or transcendental consciousness training. He gave a reason that his mind is always running with numerous thoughts, that is bothering him so much and hence he need to find a way to calm his mind. He paid a good sum of money to a reputed guru and attended a 25 day residential work shop.
Mr. Nobody was ecstatic when he came back. He was telling that he can conquer the world with all these techniques he had learnt. He was very confident and was exuberating a great level of energy, and all for a period of time. The dawn of the month October left him drained. He was not oozing with the energy, he used to have after the workshop. He called me and said he would like to have a chat with me. We met at the café coffee day on that evening.
I asked how his TCT or TM is going on. He said he was not able to do it from the month of October, as it was very chilly. I asked how it is relevant. He answered that how can he meditate if he can’t shower? I was amused and asked, why you don’t use a heater to have a warm water. He replied he was instructed to have a cold water bath every day in the ashram. I asked then I am doubtful if the process is correct; he got angry on this and told me, it is a time tested process and many sages mastered this art and achieved highest degree of wisdom. He also added that they used to sit In TM for days, weeks, months together. I asked then, how come they do that, if they can’t meditate without having a bath? That question struck Mr. Nobody very hard.
The process of meditation is an internal process, but he confused it with the external purification process of bathing. This happened because we are often ill advised to be focused. The advice per say is not ill or evil, but it is the third and the final step of a process. If the first two steps of the process hadn’t explained, it is very difficult to pursue the third part.
The sequence is something like this.
This is the first thing to master, if one wants to have unwavering focus. Paying attention means, effectively combining your physical sensors with your cognitive receptors. If you see a house on the second floor of a building, and if you say you have to climb steps to reach the house, then you are using only the physical sensor called eye. If you are able to say how many steps you should be climbing, then it can be said that you have effectively combined physical sensor with cognitive receptors. We should begin with this. This is in itself an art and a skill which will take time to build. Consistent following of certain activities can help you master it.
A beautiful definition of Awareness was given by one Transactional Analysis Expert in a seminar. He said. Awareness is the feeling that we have a choice. What does this mean? When you have a choice you should act on one or the other. But choice is meaningless, if not acted upon. If one is just pondering over the choices, the person may get delusional and confused. Awareness is more of a verb than an abstract noun. It should be approached in that fashion. You pay attention first and because of that you will find you are having choices. Acting upon the choice is called Awareness.
As we saw, Awareness is more of an action the difficulty comes when doing it. People generally feel discomfort and pain while doing things. They feel them in whatever they do, but the degree of the pain and discomfort varies. To an acceptable level they bare them and do things, or do things in spite of them during a survival threat. Else it is very hard. So when they stray from the doing the choice they made with awareness it is called wavering. Lack of Focus. It is quite natural as we are biologically designed that way. But the key is to bring the focus back on the choice one has made with the awareness.
In Mr. Nobody’s case he didn’t pay attention on why he joined meditation class (to control his thoughts) and because of that he was not aware (that he can do meditation, without taking bath) and hence lost focus of the ultimate goal (Having peace and tranquility). Don’t be Mr. Nobody.
I am Suresh Balachandar, Your Mindfulness coach and Enneagram Expert.