Facing our own compulsive drives and finding the will force to gently let them go, we come to understand the unconscious compulsions that are at work in creating the anxiety-driven, stress-amplifying, vital-force-depleting social condition we see so prevalent the world over.
One of the simplest things we can do to decrease our level of stimulation and increase our sensitivity is to sit comfortably and gently in a quiet place and just relax for a few minutes. We may call it meditation, but really it’s just a simple, natural thing that makes a lot of sense.
These days, we wonder how we can be like Sujata. We strive to make a difference in the world. We reduce our carbon footprints and participate proactively in the democratic process. We educate ourselves and serve others. Yet despite our best efforts, as a whole our societies still seem to be starving for compassion, thirsty for equanimity, and emaciated by the onslaught of digital disconnections. We wonder, what is the bowl of rice and milk that we can give our world to help to bring it into balance?
Just as we experience the fear, love, and humor of the characters in a movie, so do we experience the enlightened mind of the entities that we visualize. When we visualize an enlightened entity, we are able to recognize its enlightened mind because it is our own – it is inherent within us and it is the basis of our consciousness – so when we call upon it, we find it to be there.
All that is subject to arising is subject to ceasing. All things that are conglomerations of the five elements, of earth, air, fire, water, and space; All things that are the phenomena of consciousness, thought, emotion, concept, interpretation, understanding, and misunderstanding; Even consciousness itself arises and then ceases. In this way, everything is the same.
The process that I went through to come to my current appreciation of making offerings is a worthwhile lesson in curiosity, diligent investigation, and the development of evidence-based faith. I need things to make sense. I need to know that what I am doing has a purpose and leads to a measurable outcome. I’m not fond of hypothetical constructs, blind faith, magical thinking, adherence to protocol, or unquestioning obedience to authority. If somebody tells me to do something “because it’s good,” but then offers no reasonable explanation as to why it is good, I tend to walk away.
When we are lucid during a dream, instead of following along with the content of the dream, we have the opportunity to do a variety of useful and insightful kinds of meditation practice. Doing meditation practice while dreaming is particularly interesting because of how quickly and responsively our mental states are reflected in the content of the lucid dream.
Those of us who live under the influence of the unyielding drive of passion know that there is no escape from it. We must learn, we must grow, we must destroy every ego contraction the moment that we notice it has tricked us, and then we must blithely re-enter our wild lives like wide-eyed children, again and again.
I don’t experience myself as a consciousness residing within a body, or a body residing within a world. I’ve thought about it, and I recognize that that I experience it the other way around – world and self and bodily experience arise within my conscious awareness.