Buddhism, Guided Meditation, Hinduism, Society, Spirituality

Episode 23: Just Walk! A Guided Meditation

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Busy or not… we can all meditate!

Walking meditation has a long tradition, and it isn’t something I just made up right now on the spot — and I thoroughly enjoy this practice, living in a busy city. Walking meditation has always been common in Zen Buddhism and throughout India, with a plethora of practitioners of different religious / spiritual / and traditional backgrounds. It is used to break up long bouts of sitting practice, known as Zazen, or as a practice on its own.

Wildmind Meditation explains it particularly well:

”Anything we do can become meditative, including eating, driving, washing, cleaning the house, and of course, walking. Historically, Buddhist monks in India would make walking an important part of their daily practice, remaining mindful as they walked around performing the daily tasks of life such as fetching water or going to the bathroom, as well as when on the alms round as they begged for food by going from door to door, and as they simply walked from one place to another as they crossed the country. It was natural for them to make the simple act of walking into an opportunity to develop mindfulness and lovingkindness.”

Since everything can be a meditation, theoretically, then we can also turn the simple act of walking from place to place or setting the intention to do this into our days. It becomes very pleasureable just to walk and notice bodily sensations, getting used to being back in our bodies when often our minds are overwhelmed.

Try this method with me and tell me how it goes!

Buddhism, Philosophy, Reincarnation, Society, Spirituality

Episode 22: The Cycle of Birth, Death, & Caffeination

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It occured to me that I am in the cycle of birth, death, and caffeination. The first two are inevitable, and the second is my choice.

Coffee is like a grounding force inside my consciousness: as black, without sugar, maximum three and minimum one cup per day. It’s an ironically bitter, valuptuous, force that gets us legally high and becomes a staple in the day of multiple days.

We all have at least one idea or perception that we cling to, forcefully, as if it’s our last breath. Like that man who laid down to die with £20 in his hand, hoping he could still spend it.

In this episode, we go over some of the pitfalls of waking up — including why we don’t automatically fall into that state of non-dual awareness we are after.

The episode and my blog, here down below, are different. Here, this blog goes lightly into the deep edge of how the mechanism works to keep us from waking up. My episode goes hand-in-hand, speaking more personally and intuitively about this mechanism, so have your go at both!

As always, here we go…

The mind is a big player in the game of life, and she has been switched on since our birth, creating our physical and mental perceptions, our ideas about life, abstractions, responses to pain and pleasure, and pretty much every other facet of our personality we take for granted. This is the bubble of “me”, and everybody lives in their own; indeed, a person from the UK has mightily different values from somebody residing in the Amazonian jungle! For example, I have had the belief instilled in me that hard work pays off, and we must work hard for our money. Deep inside there somewhere is also the basic belief that if I’m not busy enough, then I’m not worth enough. The first is completely cultural and came from an idea my parents had from their parents whereas the second is personal and family-orientated (meaning that not all people in the UK follow that basic belief). So beliefs and perceptions can range widely from the societal level down to the personal level, and each individual becomes completely unique in their viewpoint of the world and themselves to try to make sense of what is going on their “screen”.

The screen of consciousness is not normally seen as a screen but as a true and accurate projection of what’s taking place. Whether that be sight, sound, emotion, or a recurring situation (potty training your kid, perhaps, or going to the gym like it’s a religion), we believe it’s all real and we’re in control of making the whole thing up.

That’s partially true. We have decided to make it all up, but not from “our self” — but from the standpoint of Awareness itself — which is responsible through all our life changes from birth until death. But we don’t recognise that. When we’re in the thick of it, we carry all our projected baggage and see mostly endless rows of bags: essentially, the construction of the self.

The easiest portion of ourselves to cling to is our body — if we have any doubt we exist, we can rely on our body to confirm that we do. (Deep sleep, comas, and being under aneasthetic cause loss of awareness of the body lead us to believe we don’t exist for a while. Think about that!)

So our brain sort of hallucinates a basic self-image into our consciousness that stays with us for a matter of time — until it changes, eventually. Maybe once we viewed ourselves as a serious person and now we’re a relaxed person. We had a different self-image when we were 16 than when we were 26. It’s all relative and constantly changing, but if we can’t see that that is the case, then we can “get stuck” in ideas about ourselves that no longer serve us. It happens all the time.

But I believe that consciousness is always looking to expand its awareness, capabilities, and smash down limitations of the mental, physical, and spiritual realms; we let go from time to time. It’s just that the ultimate smash-down is the death of the ego itself. And that is not going to happen overnight. So we have to be aware of the fact that there will be limitations and setbacks. This is a natural part of the awakening process, so don’t give up!

Maybe that’s why Buddhists says it might take lifetimes…

Hinduism, Interview, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 17: Hinduism is not a Religion: Perspective with Karthik


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In this episode, I talk with Karthik, a native Indian who now lives in London. He believes that Hinduism is not a religion; it is more of a lifestyle, where one really chooses who and what to worship or not at all.

Hindus obtained their name from the River Indus, denoting a group of people who lived around the area. The Greeks actually gave this name to the Indians living there, and ever since, more and more people referred to these guys as “Hindus” and even called India “Hindustan” for a while. The name stuck.

I ask Karthik about this, and he agrees with me that “India is still proud to be the ‘Land of the Hindus'”.

Karthik comes from the state of Tamil Nadu: the city is Madurai, nicknamed the City of Temples and the Athens of the East. His family also studied the Tirukkuṛaḷa book considered one of the greatest works in ethics and morality, known for its non-secular nature; yet many are unfamiliar with the text in the wider world. He also tells us the way his family personally practices Hinduism and some magical stories about some of the gods; but the gods are not what Hinduism is really all about. You have to listen to our podcast to be let in on the secret.

Here’s one hint, though: there’s a saying in India, “First honour your mother… then your father… then your guru… then God.”