How to Know Oneself?


May 21, 2016

We Meditate.

Meditation is simply to know. “Know” in this sense is not knowing in our thoughts or knowing from reading, listening, or thinking but knowing as in to experience, be aware of, or be mindful of.

What do we know in meditation?

The objects that we must know in meditation are ourselves. The self can be divided into two main parts: the mind and the body.

However, it could further be separated it into five parts which are..

  • Body
  • Consciousness
  • Knowledge
  • Thoughts
  • Feeling

These are the objects of meditations.

What do we do once we are mindful of our body, consciousness, knowledge, thoughts, and feeling?

Nothing. Simply by being mindful of ourselves is enough. This might sounds very strange in this age where one has to always do more or always take a more active stance in achieving something. But this is not the case for meditation.

What is the correct way to know in meditation?

Know objectively as is. Without any need to change or to desire how our body, consciousness, knowledge, thoughts, and feeling should or should not be. If you are upset, know that you are upset. If we have a stomach ache, know that we have the stomach ache. This is how we develop our mindfulness.

Why should I develop my mindfulness? What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to allow the mind to see its own reality. Our life is full of ups and downs, positive emotions and negative emotions, good thoughts and bad thoughts, birth and death, and of knowledge of what is “good” and “evil”.

How do we live and navigate in the world which is full of these dualities of life is the real question that one must know the answer to live a happy life.

When life is not going the way we want we can always say to ourselves that, “life is uncertain” or that “it will soon pass.” But do our hearts really accept this fact? Even with the knowledge that life is uncertain, we still suffer. For this reason, knowing by knowledge is not enough. What we need is to know life by heart. This is why meditation is needed as the tool for our hearts to come to know truth.

By allowing our hearts to see the dualities of life, we can see that life with its ups and downs has three characteristics:

Meditation is how one comes to understand reality. It is how our hearts learn about how everything comes and goes, how all must inevitably progress from birth to death, and how the world is not about what we want but about the absolute law of cause and effect. These are the truth that our hearts will come to see for itself just by being mindful.

Once the hearts could come to understand the truth of life. Life becomes easier to live and harder for it to suffer. Like learning how to ride a horse, if you do not know how, riding becomes a nightmare. And often times than not, the horse rides you more than you ride the horse. Life is very much the same. This is why one must learn life to live it. And meditation is how.

Types of Meditation

1. Meditation in Daily Life

The most important type of meditation is not one in which most people believe. Many have the idea of meditation as sitting down, closing our eyes, and watch our breathing. But for meditation to be effective it must be practical in our daily life.

And there are two ways one could develop mindfulness in our daily life.

  1. Being mindful of our mind
  2. Our mind consists of our consciousness, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings. Consciousness's only task is to know. Knowledge is what we know. Thoughts are our cognitive thinking. And feeling is... feeling! (However, it could be further generalized into three types of feelings: positive, negative, and neutral.)

    We develop our mindfulness by noticing our thoughts and feelings. When a thought takes our mind from places to places we know our mind is wandering. When we are happy, we know that we are happy. When we are sad we know that we are sad. This is all it takes to develop mindfulness. (Really?) Really!

  3. Being mindful of our body
  4. In our daily life, we can develop our mindfulness by knowing our bodies in the present moment like when we are breathing, walking, eating, sitting, and etc. Simple right? Just know our bodily movement through out the day and we are all set!

In short, meditation in daily life is to know our body, consciousness, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings.

  • How much daily meditation is enough?
  • All day is enough. True practictioners of mindfulness begin their practice starting from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed. They are mindful of when they get out of bed, brush their teeth, eat, walk, go to work, come home, and go to bed. They are mindful of all their positive or negative thoughts and emotions through out the day. The practice of mindfulness is easy; but to practice it consistently through out the day is not. Slowly build your mindfulness in daily life until it becomes a second-nature.

2. Sitting and Walking Meditation

  • Sitting Meditation
  • Sitting meditation is ultimately to be mindful of our in breath and out breath. Let's first begin with the steps:

    1. Find a suitable spot for sitting meditation. Preferably any place that is quiet and give you a sense of peace and tranquility.

    2. Sit in a comfortable position. It is not required for you to sit on the floor. Sitting on a chair would do. But I would recommend that the chair should not be too comfortable because it would make you fall asleep!

    3. You can begin noticing your out breath and in breath with your eyes open or closed. If you easily get sleepy while doing your sitting meditation then it would be good to start with your eyes open and just notice the in and out breath before closing your eyes once you feel more concentrated.

    4. Continuosly be mindful of the breath. If you mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath and continue.

    These are the steps to sitting meditation which can seem pretty simple but once you are into the practice and actuality of doing it, it is not. So here are some tips.

    Quick Tips on Sitting Meditation

    Meditation is not about control nor is it about letting the mind runs loose. The trick is to find the perfect balance between controlling and not. To know the breath by being not too tight and not too loose. Sitting meditation is like holding a chick. If you hold it too loosely it runs away. If you hold it too tightly, the chick suffocates. If you find yourself feeling tight, stiff, having a headache, or finding it difficult to just breathe during or after meditation then it is a clear sign that you are exerting too much control. If you are sleepy, find your mind wandering from places to places without being able to come back to the breath, then it might be possible that you are too loose. Learning sitting meditaiton is like learning how to ride a bike. It will take time and experience to adjust and know your own balance. And practice is key to finding it.

  • Walking Meditation
  • Since my practice in walking meditation has been trained from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. I want to offer what I know from my own experience. So follow the links below to learn about how as well as why we do walking meditation. (Make sure you turn on the subtitle.) This knowledge will also aid you in your sitting meditation since it pretty much has the same concept.

  • How much sitting/walking meditation is enough?
  • Twice a day. I would suggest to make this into a habit by chaining it with some daily routine you have been doing. For example, right after you shower or before you go to bed. It does not need to be a hour long session. In fact one minute would do. But the important thing is to not lose the routine. Once you keep the routine for around 3 weeks, the habit of meditating will stick with you.

Conclusion

I can only show you the door. But you are the only who has to walk through it.

All in all, I could talk all day about how you should meditate; but in the end you have to do it. Only through meditation will you find out for yourself what meditation actually is. You can’t learn how to ride a horse or swim from just reading a textbook. You must do it to learn it. Life is where we can learn about life’s truth. This is why meditation is defined as the process of knowing oneself. Enough talking and start doing!


Recommended readings about “Meditation”:

Posted with : Practice of True Happiness