Meditation as a Service for Humanity

Humanity-pic-Internet-file-shotWhy do you meditate? There are probably as many answers are there are meditators, with no right or wrong answers. You may sit for the clarity of mind it brings, or to reduce stress, or because your doctor recommended it. You might not have a current practice but are curious what meditation can do for you.

One reason to consider meditating is that it can be a service for humanity. You don’t have to look far to see that this world is struggling for peace and harmony. Every day we’re confronted with issues of war and man-made chaos. Anyone concerned about the fate of humanity, our planet, and of our ways of living may be asking, How can we develop a higher consciousness together, as a civilization?

Consider that energy follows thought. The technique of meditation expands consciousness, including the entire consciousness of the planet. Meditation involves spiritual contact, a means of furthering the evolution of human intelligence, the capacity to love, and the ability to bring the personal will into alignment with the divine will.

In fact, meditation may be the single most effective means for transcending the sense of separateness and isolation which imprison human consciousness. Meditation is creative in every sense of the word. It can change conditions, invoke the higher spiritual potentcies, and brings the world of men and  the kingdom of God into alignment.

The intention to be of service to mankind is the essential motivation for all true creative meditation. Expansion of the human mind is based on the ability to love and to serve one’s fellowmen. The ultimate result in the consciousness of the individual is illumination, wisdom, and the will-to-good, and an expanding ability to cooperate in the creative and redemptive purposes of our planetary life. Meditation as a planetary service is both practical and effective.

One of my own meditation groups meets once a month and spends some time reading and discussing a spiritual text (currently Alice Bailey’s “Externalization of the Hierarchy”), then meditates on the dissolution of the glamor of separateness for ourselves and our world.

Another way to participate in meditation for humanity is through the United Nations Days and Years and Decades meditation group (unmeditation.org), which uses themes useful for world service meditation and crucial for a world developing a culture of peace and right human relations for nations, individuals, and groups throughout the year. Information and ideas for organizing a community event are available from many places including the U.N., the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) and CPI TV.

As meditators, we have the responsbility to build the thoughtform of a lighted house for humanity. Although we can see the obstacles and current state of affairs on this earth, we also have analytical and intuitive skills to see beyond to a greater idea. In this field the possibilities inherent in our time can be known.


Advertisements

There is No Boredom in the Present Moment

Heavenly Boredom

Boredom is one of my bugaboos. I was definitely one of those kids who whined a lot about how there’s “nothing to do,” and who had a comeback for every suggestion to go play outside (“but I already climbed that redwood tree”), go over to Suzie’s house (“but she’s so boring”), or hey, why don’t you do some chores (“oh, I’m busy meditating!”)?

I know that boredom is at the root of why I engage in busy work to avoid my sitting practice, or to procrastinate a difficult task. It’s what’s happening when I start writing a shopping list in my head during meditation, or fidget with my fingers, or think, “If only I burned some incense, then I could really focus here!”

In today’s society we’re used to being constantly stimulated. Our minds crave novelty and excitement, and technology has only increased that hunger. When faced with the idea of paying attention to our breath for 15—or even 5—minutes, many of us resist. In fact, we expend a great deal of money and time trying to avoid being bored.

We think boredom is caused by our circumstances. We think the situation we find ourselves in is simply not interesting. The mindfulness traditions, on the other hand, regard boredom as the product of inattention. In other words, we get bored when we withdraw our full awareness from whatever it is we are experiencing at the moment.

Boredom

When asked by one of my meditation teachers during practice what I was noticing in the present moment, I said, “Boredom.” To which she swiftly replied: “There is no boredom in the present moment.” It was one of those moments when I wanted to get up and bitch-slap my teacher. “I don’t know what present moment you’re experiencing, but I’m BORED!” I thought.

I had to chew on that one a lot, practicing taking the stance of the witness: here I am meditating, noticing boredom, aware that my attention is wandering, coming back to the breath… It’s taken me awhile to realize that boredom isn’t caused by our external circumstances but by our own mind, and that the antidote to boredom is paying complete attention. Rather than paying attention, though, most of us are inclined to continually seek out new mental stimulants to keep our minds occupied with trivialities.

The practice of mindfulness encourages us to relinquish the craving for stimulation and simply be attentive to what is. Boredom itself can be interesting if you simply observe it patiently without judgment.

demotivation.us_Boredom-there-is-always-a-solution_130705589596

I’d Rather Be…

I have a license plate frame on my car that reads “I’d Rather Be Knitting”. And it’s true: most of the time that I’m stuck in traffic or traveling from one place to another, the idea of knitting while curled up on the couch sounds much more appealing than what’s taking place on the road.

Id-rather-be-at-the-beach-wooden-sign

But after spending a week in the desert practicing mindfulness, I had to chuckle at myself. How much time do we spend wishing we were doing something else, rather than being present with what’s happening in the moment? How many times have you “woken up” while driving, only to realize your auto-pilot had navigated the last five miles while your mind was reliving something in the past, or projecting into the future?

images

Recently I was driving in stop and go traffic when I noticed the driver next to me eating a burrito with one hand and texting with the other. I got upset and started tsk-tsking at her, staring at her and shaking my head in disbelief, until I nearly rear-ended the car in front of me. Who was being more mindless?

A new study from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands documents that experienced drivers between 25 and 35 years of age are perfectly capable of focusing on the road while listening to music or the radio, even when driving in busy urban traffic. The study showed that drivers sometimes drove better while listening to music. This may well be, and I, too, like to listen to music while I drive. It’s one of the few places I can really crank up the volume, sing at the top of my lungs, and not worry about offending bunny ears.

images1But one of the take-aways from my week in the desert is that I’m often multi-tasking to the detriment of my ability to stay in the moment, to focus on the task at hand. Even in the silence of my meditation room, my mind wanders and gets distracted. I’m not saying that I’ll never listen to music again in the car, just that we always have a choice.

So how can we change these patterns of the wandering mind? One simple way is to return to the breath. Let the breath be your anchor into the present moment. If you notice the mind getting caught up in something other than the task at hand, simply take a breath and return your awareness to NOW. Meditation, and indeed all of life, is this practice of gently returning, over and over and over again, to the present.

Your car is a great place to practice this. Imagine a world where all drivers were focused on driving, how much less stress we’d have, fewer accidents, more peace of mind… Ah, but there I go again, thinking.

A Poem for You

Hi Everyone,

The blog is on hiatus this week while I attend a Teacher Training in Joshua Tree, CA for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I’m sure I’ll have lots of inspired nuggets to share when I return. Until then, enjoy this poem:

Still the Body

by Kabir

still the body
still the mind
still the voice inside

in silence
feel the stillness move

friends
this feeling
cannot be imagined

flat,550x550,075,f

%d bloggers like this: