Liberation from the Most Restless Mind
In childhood I had a loving family. School was always pretty easy for me. I was naturally social so it was easy to make friends. I was athletic and competed well in sports. Till my early teens I was pretty simply happy.
Then a friend of mine asked me what I really thought happens after death. We had both been told our whole lives that we go to heaven or hell according to the life we have lived. We never really bought into that though, so when he asked I realized how important that question is. I really had no idea; only blind speculation, but I thought whatever came after death was probably eternal.
So that is when I started very seriously wandering about why I exist and why anything exists. People around me would sometimes try to give answers to these questions, but those answers were vague and often seemed quite fantastical. I could not find any evidence in the world to support those things that seemed like fantasies so I dove deeper and deeper into searching for some clarity. I tried looking within myself but it felt like the greatest haze held its place in my mind. So I spent even more time thinking about it, which made me feel even more lost.
I often tried to give up on the search. Amongst my friends and family I was thought of as a happy and carefree person, and actually I was during the times I was involved with friends, or playing some game. Still, even in those times, if I checked the status of my mind earnestly, I would know enjoyment would soon pass; it seemed empty.
There were phases when I simply couldn’t avoid this recognition and those questions and so a feeling of meaninglessness would overwhelm me. My mind just went on and on thinking about how in the end I would just die and whatever was gained or accomplished in my life would be of absolutely no significance. My will to live was totally gone and it was only through habit that I got through the days.
It seemed absurd to me that if I was to just sit in a room or outside alone, that I would not be able to stop thinking and just rest. My mind would just keep wandering around and would eventually become rather desperate to find some source of entertainment or something to do. I asked others if they could sit like this and enjoy themselves, but they all felt the same way. That’s when I realized there is something wrong with the human mind. I began reading books about the mind and spirituality. I determined it was the ego that was causing all this suffering.
So I studied philosophy in university and went to India studying different styles of yoga and meditation. I began to just do my best at accepting the fact that there was no freedom in my mind and that life was meaningless. I was still happy and very active most the time with sports, school, friends, and art. I drank heaps of alcohol for a year or two and had my share of fun, and there were times when I did feel simply joyful, but those cycles of intense suffering came around over and over, sometimes lasting a day, sometimes a week or two.
I finished college and moved to South Korea where I taught high school English and then I found this meditation during my vacation. The place I went to had hundreds of people there meditating intensively. So I did it all day everyday for one week without any prior knowledge of what it was. Before this I had struggled to meditate for an hour, but this was all day! It was a big transition and at some points it was very maddening for me. I was trying really hard to achieve some sort of enlightenment, but as the week progressed, things started to change.
On the fifth day I began to give up; thinking I can’t do, I really am just too stupid, too much trapped within my own mind. Still, I thought I might as well follow the method for a couple more days since I am already here. At that point I wasn’t really trying to achieve anything anymore and I just did the meditation simply.
Not long after that, in the softest and most subtle way, like a feather taking ten years to fall one meter and then landing on my back, I felt my whole mind shift. It was just noticing, like “oh… all that endless striving, those thoughts, and questions that had plagued my mind are gone!”
It was finding out that the ‘I’ that I had been living for, and thinking for without rest, was not the real I. I had read such things as this many times before, and I was even quite sure it was True, but suddenly I knew it within; I knew without any other thought, without reference to anything.
This was the most real and unmistakable realization I ever had. After that, it was very evident that I had to see this meditation to the end. I think the greatest thing about the meditation is that there actually is an end. The purpose of the meditation is to complete it and then just live as the complete existence.
Still, even after awakening so much through the practice, there were times when I wanted give up the meditation. When I second guessed myself, when I wanted to go back to my old habits, go back to entertaining myself with this and that. Yet, when I was really faced with giving up I would realize again and again that giving up meant going back to the mind with endless thinking, endless striving, and frankly that narrow, judgmental, and greedy mindset. Thanks to the meditation, those periods of difficulty didn’t last long.
As I continued, for every time there was a difficulty, the awakening was that much bigger. I started to see how my interactions with people were becoming completely different too. Before I would have so many judgments in my mind, even with people I really cared for; unwanted judgments and negative thoughts. Those diminished to an incredible extent.
My body has become healthier. Even though I was quite healthy before I started, it seemed there was always some aches and pains in my body. Sometimes I had headaches, a stiff lower back, difficulty sitting with bent knees, a restless body and I often had some sort of nagging injury as a result of some careless or stressed out action. All of that has been gone for over a year now!
This meditation really took me out of the mind that was always thinking for itself. Since I was so concerned with myself I was defensive and stingy. By most people’s standards I was an open minded, caring and giving sort of person, but, when I was honest with myself, in my mind I knew that at my core I was still protecting myself and just wanting the best for myself. I can really see now how this mindset was poison within me. Now, even though I have far less money it is so much easier to give without hesitation or need for acknowledgment if I do so.
Living has become easy, free, joyful, and exciting. No longer am I so tied up doing things so people like me, but instead just to share, just to give others happiness. That mind that was searching for acknowledgment when I did a favor for someone or did something well, that mind that was trying to gain or achieve something, or that felt empty or lacking was always at least lurking in the background of my mind, if not the forefront. Before I never really felt I had a chance to be free of these things, like it was inevitably part of me. Now, however, I saw it being eliminated from both in an irreversible way.
It started becoming so easy to see the root causes to all kinds of suffering. Before, my pride often did not allow me to see how I was making myself suffer. Instead I would foolishly blame others or a certain set of conditions. I wasted so much energy trying to correct people, trying to change those conditions. It stressed me out having disagreements with people and plotting on how I could change things or simply mulling over my resentment to the way things were.
It was quickly becoming so natural to live without all that. The lack of meaning in life and not being able to understand why I exist or why anything exists, that disappeared too. It really was as if all those dramas and frustrations were nothing more than a dream and my eyes were just starting to open so I could see right through them. Nothing more than shadows of the past which a new light now dispelled.
Even with those many unwanted aspects of my mind falling off I kept encountering more attachments and habits. At times it was still hard to face what I was still remaining in my mind, but with the different levels that this meditation has the method changes to help everyone get through those minds that were buried far deeper than they were aware. I think it is also unlikely that I would have been able to continue without the encouragement I received from many people throughout the practice.
For the last year or so now I have been fortunate enough to share this method with others and see how quickly and profoundly they find such a powerful relief. There is truly nothing greater than a clear and grateful mind. It is the mind of the universe and it is my greatest wish for everyone to live as one with that mind.