Spiritual Practice Gives Us an Alternative (Excerpt from Will I Be the Hero of My Own Life?)
A spiritual practice is intended to release us from being locked in our heads. We may not always want that release, but at least the alternative should be there for us. Granted, given the intense conditioning that most of us have received, the idea of being freed from living in our minds can seem frightening. What will we do, stripped of our mechanisms for classification and differentiation? How we will live if we are not thinking and thinking and thinking all the time about this or that, and especially about “What’s going to happen to me?”
However, something wonderful happens when we begin to quiet our minds, open our hearts, and live from an entirely different level of our own vitality. This vitality does not attempt to classify, to grasp, or to understand anything intellectually because that kind of understanding is simply another way to classify.
Why do I challenge the value of classifying or categorizing our experience? Classifications give us mental structures through which we can operate and feel less insecure or adrift. They help us feel in some way connected to and in step with the things around us. However, as we discover through the practice of meditation, this is not the true nature of reality.
When we open ourselves through our practice, we start to bring our attention inside and keep it there. Slowly, with our breathing and concentration, we release the tension within us. This opens deeper channels of creative energy and levels of creative awareness and expression. Slowly, our intellectual, emotional and operational boundaries begin to dissolve.
In dissolving these boundaries, we recognize that all boundaries are superimposed and therefore subjective. That doesn’t make them bad, but if they are subjective and if we have the opportunity to choose, we might want to get a sense of the real flavor and dynamic of our lives before we start setting up walls around different parts of it.
To engage in this conscious process leads to a transformation of our values. It allows for the possibility of bringing together our stated values and our manifest values. In other words, we operate in a way that comes much closer to our stated ideals. Moreover, because we end up with fewer tensions within us and create fewer tensions around us, the range of our capacity for creative expression is greatly extended.
Will I Be the Hero of My Own Life? by Swami Chetanananda, is available from Rudra Press.