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Posts Tagged ‘buddhism’

If you have traveled with the Urban Monk diaries right from the first post, and taken time to reflect on each of the messages, that is admirable. It is a great achievement, and one that you must be happy about.

One of the great things about adventures is that, you don’t realize how far you have traveled, till you actually look back.

We are at that point now in our journey.

It’s time to take a drinks break. And see how far we have come from where we started.

You probably feel like this guy. Enjoy the scenery from here. Let it fill you with joy.

It hasn’t been easy. You may have started with idle curiosity. But later on, it was only your own courage and the burning desire to taste freedom that has brought you this far.

Yet, let us not forget that the journey has been an adventure of the spirit. Often, you have shaken yourself up from head to toe, just so you can clear the clutter in your own mind. You have removed stones, avoided falling rubble and seen through the fog. But you have done so, and kept pushing ahead. All the effort has been your own.

That makes the view all the more enjoyable, doesn’t it?

As we settle down to have some tea and snacks, let’s have a little chat about how you are feeling.

– You may have started to get more detached from day-to-day affairs. It is perfectly natural. It’s not harmful. It won’t damage your relationships. Rather, it will strengthen them, when you get clearer about how the 8 chambers work. Hopefully, you have an understanding partner who will give you the support you need to reflect. If not, try and create your own space and time for a few minutes each day to reflect on your favorite post or check out some of the linked pages.

Relaxed attention, which we covered in an earlier post, is the best way to live the experience any time of the day, irrespective of the activity you are engaged in – at work or home or in a pub with friends. Just be aware. There is nothing like a right or wrong place to practice awareness. There is nothing like a right or wrong time to practice awareness. There is nothing like a right or wrong action to practice awareness. There is nothing like a right or wrong thought to practice awareness. So, make full use of it. Whether you are in the beginning or middle or end, it is this practice that is the bedrock of reaching and sustaining Aha!

– Some of you may be getting increasingly critical of others. You might be jumping at every opportunity to ridicule their understanding of the world, mock their desires, or find fault in their actions – with very little provocation. When this happens, remember this view and the scenery. You haven’t come this far, only to roll down the hill again and lose all the hard work you have put in. That is precisely what will happen, when you become critical of others. You will slide faster, while they will stay where they are. So, the most practical thing to do is, to let them be. They will get their turn when they are ready. You push on at your own pace. Leave them to their maps.

– Some of you may start to get nervous about where this is heading. Thoughts like ‘Is this another cult?’ or ‘Is this in line with my religion?’ etc may crop up. That’s perfectly normal as well. I don’t have any justification to offer, other than saying “You have trusted me this far, haven’t you? Any time you feel I have a hidden agenda; remember you are just one click away from leaving the site. So, don’t worry.”

– Some of you might be wondering ‘why haven’t we spoken about meditation or any of the traditional stuff yet? Is this some new-age approach?’ Dear seeker, getting clear understanding is the first step. It’s been almost 6 years since I last sat down to meditate. Why? I sharpened the practice of relaxed attention so it lasts right through the day – from the time I open my eyes in the morning, till at night, when the first dream starts. Sometimes, I am aware, even during a dream, that it is a dream. If I can do it, so can you.  Its just practice. ‘Meditation’ will not help you taste even rest, let alone freedom, if you don’t master the practice of relaxed attention first.

– And now, it’s my turn to smooth any feathers I may have ruffled during these months, due to my own insensitivity in writing and use of language. Hope this virtual hug is enough to make peace between us again. :-)

OK. We are now ready to move on. That was a good drinks break.

Let’s take a look at the road ahead.

I must warn you a bit before you get too complacent. This segment of the journey is not a mere extension of the earlier one. During this leg of the journey, we need to be alert. It is steeper. We need to be fit – physically, mentally and emotionally. We need to reflect, analyze, synthesize – in short – investigation and discernment. We may lose some colleagues along the way. They may return to the city. There is increased breathlessness due to lack of the oxygen of city living. But the summit is where enlightened minds live. We need to get there and taste freedom for ourselves.

The view is the most breathtaking from the summit. Then, when we return to the city, we will see the value of making this steep ascent. You’ll feel happy you did, your loved ones and even strangers will feel the difference – even if there were lot of cuts and bruises you picked up on the way.

As a few last words, before we set out, I will share the encouragement a wise one gave long ago to seekers at this stage in the journey.

Imagine that the whole earth was covered with water

and that a man were to throw a yoke with a hole in it into the water

Blown by the wind, that yoke would drift north, south, east and west.

Now suppose that once in a hundred years a blind turtle were to rise to the surface.

What would be the chances of that turtle putting his head through the hole in the yoke as he rose to the surface once in a hundred years?

Well, it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being.

So, lets gather our backpacks and move ahead – with clear vision, an alert mind and a light heart.

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