Bhuddha said, “There is no way, the way is made by walking.” So when someone truly feels the need to realize the higher Self, where are they to begin? There are hundreds of practices or techniques claimed by different schools of philosophy or spirituality. How do we find a practice that is best suited for us?
All practices have one common goal and that is to lead us to the state of Pure Consciousness. The mind’s impurities and illusions need to be removed before we can realize this state of Pure Consciousness. The only point of all practice is to purify the mind, to cleanse the mind of its illusions and impurities to realize the Absolute Truth.
The peace and happiness that we all are seeking is not out there. It is only found in the state of mind purged of all its impurities through continual remembrance and meditation of our eternal Self within. Only a soulful life is a joyful peaceful life; all else is transient, fleeting, apparent happiness, far from real Joy of the Spirit.
That is why there is a need for meditation and breathing practices. They will help us to go within and to cleanse from within. They create the space within us to attract higher thoughts. They create the inner space for the best to come to us in life. De-cluttering the mind is the first job.
It does not really matter which breathing or meditation practice we choose in order to begin the process of clearing our minds. What is most important is that the practice is consistent and focused and comes from our heart. An unfocused mind is the breeding ground of a lot of stress in life. Most often, the mind is in a mode of distraction. It is restless. It is only when the intellect decides with a firm affirmation to focus on anything that the mind starts to pay attention following the dictate of intellect. Paying attention is one of the major challenges. Mindfulness distills the focus with clarity, and that brings about a paradigm shift of attitude to life and its responses.
After all, with all the clutter clogging the mind space, where is our space? We don’t have a space in the home of our mind! We are wandering, directionless. But with regular practice of mindful awareness of our mind-body-spirit, an awakening happens that lights our mind and creates that space, and in that space blossoms the true Presence of who we are.
The method of finding the specific meditation or breathing practice that allows us to tap into the power for personal fulfillment is both simple and straightforward. At this point, our mind is accustomed to jumping from one idea to another, one thought to another, one desire to another, almost at random. We must slowly, kindly recondition our mind to stay focused on the practice we chose as most appropriate to realize our goal of cleansing our mind within.
It is not the occasional practice that can give us peace of mind. It is having consistency in our practice. It is the love with which we do the practice. It is our emotion behind it, the longing to be in our inner shrine undisturbed. It is the perseverance. It is our deepest yearning and conviction to explore the infinite ground of the mind that is hidden from our normal sight because of our mechanical, repetitive life. It is our single-pointed devotion and steadfastness that matters.
As we persevere in the practice of breathing and meditation, honing our attention to one task at a time, one step at a time, the mind slows down and expands the moments to see in the sand the infinite cosmos. This expanded vision and clear insight is the gift of regular practice.
Practice, practice, practice, attention, attention, attention!
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Kolkata, India): Globally acclaimed motivational teacher (mindfulness meditation, stress reduction) author, peacemaker (Man of Peace Award 2012) Visionary social advocate; founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission, 1985. Serves thousands of poverty-stricken individuals in India. (Lifetime Achievement Award, House of Lords, UK, 2015)