108 - An Easy Hard Meditation Technique (#108)
Anything in life that brings you closer to inner peace can be said to be "good". Anything that takes your peace away is "bad". Of course, it is a given that anything that only brings you momentary peace, like drugs, is not good. To really qualify, the peace must be everlasting. Very often, good, and thus peace, doesn’t come easily. For instance, politically and historically, it has often taken a war to bring about a lasting peace between enemies. An example of this can be found in the relationships between America, Japan, Russia, and Germany. Deadly enemies during World War II, and now close partners involved in mutual progress and at peace.
Within ourselves there is a similar inner world war-like interaction going on between the mind, body, and emotions that prevents us from knowing real peace. As the events in our life take place, we react mentally, physically, and emotionally, sometimes more one way and at other times more in another. This slave-like reactivity makes our life seem out of control, bouncing back and forth between joy and sorrow, and without lasting peace. This anxiety and conflict filled state can be witnessed by an inner awareness that is our Real Self. This Witness to our life has always been there/here, silent, non-labeling, non-commenting, non-judging, and is present now.
As you are reading these words, your Witness is aware of your mind’s mentations, your body’s sensations, and your emotion’s feelings. If your inner chattering stops rambling on, you can sit back in your mind’s eye and Witness your body/ego’s reactions. It is at a moment when this occurs that what has been called your higher intuitive center kicks in and you will know, with a gut feeling, just what to do. You will then be able to witness your mind, body, and emotions act, and either cease the reactivity that has taken away your peace, or start to do that which will bring about peace in your life.
For instance, you may have been banging your head against the wall for years, even though this caused you to suffer terribly. Your friends may have told you countless times that your life would be more peaceful if you would just stop doing this foolish activity. But, you never listened, or perhaps justified it as worth continuing with for some silly and illogical reason such as that it felt so good when you stopped. Witness yourself now. Did you just see yourself laugh, or react in a "Yep! That’s me!" embarrassment? Did your mind get angry and defensive and deny that this concept could apply to you? Are you witnessing now? And now?
Just as it is unlikely that you would continue to keep banging your head against the wall once you really recognized that you were doing it, once you witness yourself reacting to life’s events inappropriately (in a way that steals your peace away from you), you will stop doing it and thus allow peace to fill and stay with you. The 108 Meditation technique is one of the best at letting you witness your mind’s activity.
Relax yourself in the way you have found best prepares you for meditating. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe and feel air come into the body, stay, and leave the body. Silently say "One". Do it again and say "Two". On and on up to 108. This seems to be very easy to do, but don’t be surprised, when you first try this inner exercise, if you can’t concentrate well enough to get all the way up to 108 without being distracted by your thoughts, physical sensations, or emotions. Your mind has been your master and you have been it’s slave your whole life, and it’s not going to let you be in charge without giving you a very hard battle for control. Your mind has caused you to fritter away your most of your life rehashing the past and fantasizing about the future and will rebel if you try to live and control your life as it takes place.
Your breath always occurs in the present moment. Thus, if you are paying attention to your breath, you have the potential of experiencing reality, for it too can only occur now, in the present. Inner peace is not something for the past or the future. It is available and present now. We just must stop being distracted from it. When we do this technique, and we watch our mind take us away from the object of our meditation, our breath, we must not scold ourselves. If we see that we are concentrating very well, we must not get too overjoyed. Both extremes are distractions.
What is especially wonderful about this technique is that you can become aware of what causes your distraction as well as what happens as a result of your distraction. For instance, you may find that if you try to do this with your eyes open, something may catch your eye and you will start thinking about it. But, this is not necessarily bad because you may then have learned that it is easier to do this technique with your eyes shut and that this does bring more peace into your life. So, in a way, you may gain greater insight from "failing" at maintaining your concentration than from paying attention.
Another benefit that this method gives us is that we can gauge our progress over time. For instance, when you first try it, you may only get up to the number 12 before your mind’s chattering, or your body’s twitching, or your emotion’s swings distract you. Then, perhaps a week later, you may find that you are able to maintain your attention up to 48. A 400% improvement!
Eventually, you will be able to silently witness your mind obediently accomplishing the task you have assigned it and you will get to 108 successfully. It will be then that you can be considered the master, and your mind, body, and emotions, the slaves. They then can be used as valuable tools that will help you attain the consistent inner peace that you have been seeking. Easily!
Perhaps the greatest asset this technique offers is that you will become more and more aware of, and start identifying with, the Witness within - the pure, blissful, serene consciousness that is your Real Self. You will then need no tools, techniques, or concepts, and will live happily ever after.