Getting past the brain?

I am leading a group meditation monthly at 6th Street Yoga. My goal is to introduce  people to a meditation practice that anyone can do and benefit from. We gather for an hour and part of that time we sit in silence. At the beginning of our time together, I try to offer some insights that will help, especially the new meditators, to find a successful practice that can grow with them. What follows is my notes from this month’s gathering.
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Today, rather than exploring the vastness of the universe, I’d like us to explore 12″. That’s approximately the distance from our brain to our heart.

Too many of us live in our heads. Our mind is a wonderful tool, it remembers important things like where we work and what time we need to get there. It remembers what to get at the store (or which pocket we stuffed the shopping list in.) But it’s a bit like a computer in that it handles facts and figures, lists and data beautifully. However, I’d like you to take a moment and imagine that you can take your mind out of your head and set it over there on a shelf.

It’s fine over there, really. You can still hear it babbling away but the volume is turned down a lot.

Now take a deep breath with me, hold a bit, then release.

What’s left right here where your body is? Besides your body… what’s here?

Yes, the spirit, the soul… that’s here. That is separate and distinctly different than the brain. Yet so many of us, at least from time to time, forget that the chatterbox in our head is not US… that is not you or me. In times of stress or busy-ness, we might begin identifying ourselves with our mind. “Oh, that’s just me… always forgetting.” “You know me, always a klutz.” “I’m such a slob” or whatever you might frequently say about yourself.

But those descriptors, and that endless conversation in your head isn’t you. The real you is that spirit, that soul and I don’t think that dwells in your skull. I think it’s located lower, in the heart or perhaps in the gut. That spirit is deep and lovely and calm. It’s been with you your whole life. Some of us believe it has lived many other lives too.

It is our higher self, our connection to god or to the group consciousness… to the universe… and I know that it is our connection to infinite wisdom. Our spirit doesn’t have an age, or a waistline, or two left feet. Our spirit doesn’t need to produce to be loved… it’s not graded on FB likes. It doesn’t belong to anyone else… it ours and ours alone.

And it’s that part of me that I seek in meditation. That wise and timeless bit of light and love… that’s my goal in sitting here today.

As we sit here, I ask you to try to savor this moment. Just this very moment. It’s all you really have. In this moment you are sheltered, comfortable. You are loved, hopefully fed and congratulations, you are all clothed. In this moment is your life. Not in that moment from yesterday when that driver pulled out in front of you… that JERK! Nor is it that moment coming up, when you have to meet with a client, or your boss or the doctor and you wonder what will happen. Those moments aren’t your life…. just this moment is.

This moment. This moment… and being okay in this moment is enough. It’s all we really have and all we really need.

Our world today is noisy and busy and packed with excitement… bells, whistles, messages, texts, tweets and stuff- don’t forget the stuff.

Meditation is about finding a bit of space that is free from all that. And getting comfortable in that space… even encouraging that space to grow… that is what meditation is.

Our noise, and stuff and busy-ness might make us feel important or viable, perhaps needed, or popular or loved. But without exploring the depths of the silence within us… I worry that the real purpose of my life… the real me might remain undiscovered.

Quote from Mooji*

Before words are spoken, there is a profound silence.
When all the words in us continue flowing,
underneath or behind them there remains
a profound silence.

When all thoughts and words in us have dried up,
there remains such a profound silence
—without beginning—unending.

It can never dry up. It is without boundaries.
Nothing can touch or alter it. It cannot be removed.
This silence and being, existence and love,
Truth and God are all One—the Supreme Being.

* Mooji is a spiritual teacher originally from Jamaica. He is a disciple of Papaji, a devotee of the advaita and master Ramana Maharshi. Mooji shares self-inquiry, directing his students to the non-dual Self by encouraging them to question who or what they are at the deepest level.

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