Stay Fresh

To calm the mind, the ego, to boost my self-esteem. Because low self-esteem is judged to be a hindrance in life.

But part of me doesn’t lack esteem – it is aware of its position, its stature.

Something else – ego – doesn’t accept this stature as real. Ego doesn’t feel that it is justifying its existence unless it is telling me to improve something, or telling me it’s no use, I’m no good, everything is bleak.

This is the constant dance.

During lockdown, ego has been on top, dominant, with Rajas and Tamas. But Sattwa* is always there. All things are always there – relax and experience them.

 

@tomhcharles

*Rajas, Sattwa and Tamas – the three Gunas – Hindi philosophy for understanding human experiences. Rajas = Movement; Sattwa = Lightness; Tamas = Heaviness. More on the Gunas here.

Mooji

“Don’t become addicted to personality or identity” – Mooji

Reading Mooji is not reading an instruction manual. The spirit of the writing is as important as the words taken literally.

Not to be caught up in ‘things’ is one pointer he gives, but there’s nothing wrong with genuinely enjoying material things. Just know that there is more enjoyment in appreciating just being alive.

Each morning I tune into my senses, to know that I exist as a human being. Here, the phenomenal things arise – desire, doubt, thinking-planning-analysing. But above and underneath all of it, I exist.

And above and underneath, within that, I am not separate to everything else that exists. And I am not separate to that which holds all of that within itself.

Pic from YouTube – Moojiji

Tom Charles @tomhcharles

I Sit With My Thoughts…

When the lights are off, the music on, my mind drifts like tumbleweed being blown through a desert

I sit with my thoughts, emotions, memories, dreams – constantly twisting like a psychedelic Rubiks cube – yet not looking to create order, but just being….xxx

by Mark Bolton
@MarkCBolton1

below by @tomhcharles

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Love Lockdown

As I sit in front of this screen my heart feels a longing to hug those I Love – to let them know it’s going to be alright,

Letting our auras entwine, creating colours beyond the spectrum – feeling that bond pull tighter, becoming one with the universe, being made whole and pure for eternity…

by Mark Bolton
@MarkCBolton1

below by @tomhcharles

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Mid-Lockdown

I never post anything just for the sake of it – Been very dry+uninspired last few days…but as in boxing, most fights are won or lost in the middle rounds,

So whatever you’re going through don’t give up. I won’t…It’s never over until the final bell..xxxx

by Mark Bolton
@MarkCBolton1

below by @tomhcharles

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Mindscape

It’s important we know the times we live in – but to do that, we first must truly know ourselves – our true self.

What we think, fear, do when we are on our own. Accepting our own imperfections helps us accept them in others. Wisdom without grace is futile as is knowledge without Love.

by Mark Bolton
@MarkCBolton1

below by @tomhcharles

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9:1 Soul

An uncountable number of books have been written on attaining serenity. Access to this ease of being, our birth right, is offered up in works ranging from the sublime to the quick fix.

The texts aim to end anxiety and promote peace. Some to make money and fame for author and publisher. After all it’s a whole industry, this outward search for meaning.

There are gurus and mentors who have been on their own journeys, seeking peace of mind and they offer up their words to help others.

There are religious sermons, retreats of all kinds, a wide variety of techniques are on offer. But the common factor of all genuine teachings is that they point within. Why?

Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).

A book or speaker might connect you to this teaching for some moments. Faith also plays a part in this and faith brings hope; hope in something greater than this world, beyond our space time dimension…hope brings dopamine and peace.

Lifted by the reminder, the effect wears off and the search begins again – online, elsewhere…The feeling was so freeing, but so fleeting; the search for more is not optional.

So, this 9:1 ratio is a reminder too, that what you seek is not necessarily out there. It would be so convenient if it was consumable like a product, but even the 10% that is consumable is a deceptive figure. This 10% is mainly made up of reminders of the 90% so your outer search will only lead you back inward again.

9:1 is so lopsided a ratio that it means you cannot be in a heavenly, hippy, heightened state all the time – it must incorporate the mundane too. The compartmentalisation of the spiritual from the cerebral and physical is part of the spiritual industry – but, they are all intertwined. Some folk are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use!  It’s about seeing and doing the mundane and knowing that those acts are on the same path

The 9:1 ratio is not a life of passivity, sitting at home or sleeping for nine hours out of every 10. It is a reminder of what is already known – give up the search for a conveniently packaged messiah and embrace your self. IQ, knowledge and any amount of activity crammed into a lifetime will not save your soul.

The seeking is not confined to what are usually categorised as ‘spiritual’ activities – meditation, chanting, praying, yoga, reading Rumi and so on. Most human activities have peace of mind as the end goal; body building, blogging, gaining knowledge…everyone is seeking peace.

Turn inside to what is constantly available; timeless vastness, where thoughts come and go apparently from nowhere and apparently to nowhere. Who or what is watching the thoughts?

Somebody recently expressed peace this way: “the ever-present flow of love and knowledge within.”

But the 90% experience is beyond words, no matter how eloquent, beautiful and succinct. Expressions of peace are only that, pointers and reminders…

Ponting your attention back at you and reminding you that it is all within.

 

Mark Bolton &

Tom Charles @tomhcharles

 

 

Old School Meditation 4

Blogs inspired by the material taught at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London; these notes are taken from the material taught at groups during early 2019…

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Advaita?

“A longing inside the heart to know yourself or to be free of suffering must be there for anyone to realise the truth of what this ancient and practical philosophy is pointing towards” – Mooji

Unlike most popular methods of spiritual exploration, Advaita Vedanta does not proscribe tasks or impose a hierarchy of worthiness. It does not require adherents to attend a sacred building or listen to the sermon of a holy man. Advaita is more direct and places less emphasis on actions that are designed to satisfy the mind.

The mind wants to get things, to fathom things and see linear progression towards a goal, but Advaita is too simple for the mind to grasp. While the mind likes concepts, Advaita likes freedom and spontaneity.

“Freedom kills the conditioned mind” – Mooji

Not Meditation

The material at the School of Meditation seeks to identify potential obstacles to the enjoyment of freedom and spontaneity.

The material, comprised of spiritual and practical teachings, accompanies the practice of meditation. But the material of session four pointed out that sitting in a meditation posture is “not meditation”.

Meditation is when all feelings of separation are gone.

Strange Effort

Reciting the mantra is the “single stimulus” that enables meditators to access deeper, subtler levels in themselves. When thoughts carry us away, the mantra can be listened to. 

It is a conscious effort to decide to be here now and not travel to the past or future. It is not the usual kind of effort, but an effort to be aware of life itself manifesting in us now.

In meditation, we can expand our attention to include everything and everyone, letting go of what we think we are. Meditation is really nothing but this. The material includes a quote from the Shankaracharya that when people let go of what they think they are and expanding their awareness, they are behaving “artistically”.

Artistic Effort

To observe is to become free of being a ‘doer’, a person who is anxious for action. Counter-intuitively, action can then be taken with ease, without the heavy burden of duty. No longer a dour doer, now artistic and efficient.

The mind demands we become the ‘doer’ again but that is because the mind can never be the observer. It cannot comprehend that which is doing the observing.

The mind cannot understand the ungraspable. But we can experience it…

 

 

Next time, part five

Tom Charles @tomhcharles

 

 

The material in this blog was inspired by the teachings at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UH. The school opened in 1961 and was taken under the wing of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles’ meditation teacher, who introduced the school’s founders to Shri Shantananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Northern India. In a series of Q & As, the Shankaracharya provided answers to the questions of the visitors from London. These answers formed the basis of the school’s teaching material.

Old School Meditation 3

Blogs inspired by the material taught at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London; these notes are taken from the material taught at groups during early 2019…

#1 #2

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The session three material considered technique and tips, warned against unrealistic expectations and delved into the meaning of Advaita:

Sit upright, become restful, breathe easy, close your eyes, and keep your eyes still. When the body is still the mind can follow.

It is not necessary to achieve a particular goal. More important is to approach meditation with innocence and openness. The mantra is not a battering ram, Continue reading

Old School Meditation 2

Blogs inspired by the material taught at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London; these notes are taken from the material taught at groups during early 2019…

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Infinite Source

There is a level of being which is the same for us all regardless of our social and economic circumstances, ethnicity, age and the other categories we regularly have to tick boxes for. The School of Meditation teaches the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, which sees an infinite source of everything that exists in creation.

This idea is a mystery to the conceptualising mind; but the practice of meditation can offer a direct experience of this infinity.

The material tells us to: Become still, be quiet and experience your very being, the very fact that you exist… Continue reading