BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Jan. 21, 2016, Toronto, ON - "Why do you do yoga?" That’s pretty much the same thing as asking me "Why do you meditate?" For yoga, at its core, is mediation - and meditation is just a tool.
As a domesticated species, we have a lot of free time on our hands. There is no need to hunt for food, we have supermarkets for that. There is no need to search for water, we have taps for that. There is no need to build our shelter, we have optimized homes on the market for that. Domestication (the softer synonym for captivity) breeds suffering. In fact, humans aren't the only ones to feel this. We can even begin to see this same development in household "pets". Suffering arises because we have provided too much freedom for the mind, when it has not yet been readily disciplined.
Granted, with so much free time on our hands, we have also gained the ability to contemplate and create amazing new things. (After all, how else would you be reading this if it weren’t for the internet - an invention of the mind?) Unfortunately, everything comes at a cost. And our cost is that we have become weak. We have become so addicted to our own docile-happiness that it is our attachment towards this lulled sense of “safety and security” that has tricked us into thinking that we are our minds; when in reality, we are just mind-ing.
The goal and practice of any meditation is to bring oneself out of the mind and so fully into the present moment, such that, one becomes absorbed in it; unable to discern the difference between themselves and another, simply because there is none. You are the universe and the universe is you - a scientific fact.
To depict this process visually - throughout the day, our constant mind-ing can oftentimes look like this:
We experience the highs and lows of our mind-ing, mind constantly being bombarded by a grocery lists of things that it needs to get done. Moving both quickly and erratically from one activity to the other, having one foot firmly planted in the future, and the other, firmly planted in the past. Moving from here to here, with no sense of what is truly here.
On a good day, our mind-ing can also look like this:
We are more calm, collected, and at peace. Yet, we still have various things on our mind, nagging away at us and pulling us out of the present moment. We are not quite there yet, but never the less, it is still a good day.
Ultimately, the whole purpose of meditation is to achieve this:
The aim is to enter into a state of stillness, of homeostasis, for both the body and the mind; because the body is the mind and the mind is the body. Accessing our innate ability to become fully absorbed in the present moment, through the act of letting go, that we come to realize the true nature of all things. Everything is non-separate.
So, should you choose, begin to learn to take some time for yourself. Allow yourself a reset. And come into clarity by watching through an awakened state of awareness. In this moment, through and with each and every passing breath.
Because everything else is just a mind game.