Something new everyday! Today we were to start with AddhiThaan – the sitting of great determination. Three times in the day, one hour each time, we would be expected to sit without changing our posture. Sajag (Aware and Alert) and TaThasta (detached and equanimous ) – that was the goal.
We had to choose our posture wisely, so that we did not have to change it for an hour. The legs and arms could not be crossed or uncrossed and the eyes could not be opened once the time started.
The first position I chose was itself incorrect and I learnt my lesson. For the next AddhiThaan I was wiser and chose a posture that would give me minimum discomfort and would also aid in the Process. Thankfully there were no restrictions in back movement and I used that to stretch and coil, meanwhile sitting in the same posture. During the next two days even that wasn’t necessary. A small goal achieved.
Cognise and recognise with equanimity. Work hard.
‘Hum yahaa vyakul hone nahi aye !’ We have not gathered here to be sad and sorrowful. Catharsis was not the focus and goal. Emotional outbursts were not the requirement. Past was not to be revisited. Future was not yet there. Present moment was the only reality as of now.
With this in mind, I continued the prescribed activity with determination. The excess inner noise started disappearing. Since the Process itself was active, it helped the focus stay on the required path. We all continued our cycles of the Process over and over again. What was done in one and half hour on the first day under guidance could now be hastened with continual practice to a speed of one cycle every five minutes. That went in every hour in repetitions. I was feeling lighter and quiet. Things inside my brain were changing. My plastic brain was responding to the efforts I was taking for it. It was fascinating!
Sthitapradnya – a word that had fascinated me since childhood – an elusive state of mind where there is unlimited equanimity. Control has been attained over all the indriya- the sense organs and the information they convey from outside to inside – Control over all the temptations from the material world.
Now here I was for ten days in Igatpuri, using just what nature had given me, nothing more, just my Mind and my Body – not even language, no learnt word, no syllable, no chant, no mantra, no image, neither dot nor line, just my Body and Mind to aid me in achieving that elusive state! Would it be possible? Could it be possible?
Some similarities struck me as we proceeded further. Mythology speaks of Shiva as the oldest Vedic God-figure, the tales filled with paradoxes – Shiva meditating with eyes closed, with inner strength and outer detachment, inner arousal and outer calm and equanimity. Withdrawn from the world, draining energy around him. And the Buddha depicted in his meditative postures, detached and equanimous. So much like Shiva, The God, detached and equanimous, internally aroused and lit up! But Buddha, let us never forget, was a human. And Buddha was lit up with detached compassion, wanting to distribute his discoveries.
The beauty of Gotama the Buddha is that he was also just a person who was able to attain the state. He said – There have been many like me, there are many like me and there will be many like me – enlightened and hence equanimous!
It is all about the species – Homo Sapiens- Humanism. A Universal rule that the species follows. A rule due to which hurt feels like hurt and anger feels like anger. Joy is joy and tears are tears. A crime is a crime and kindness is kindness. Compassion is compassion and faith is faith. In any country, in any community, as long as it is about our species, things follow the same rules where the working of the mind is concerned. These universal features of a human being make it possible for humans to watch a movie in another culture and still relate to the emotions in it, to hear a song in a different language and yet understand the pathos beneath, to read a translated book written by an author in an unknown language and yet relate to the translated version. Emotions are the universal truth about humanism. They are the property, the characteristic of a human being. The Dharma. GuNa-dharma. These universal features were and are the target of Vipassana. Offering balance and clarity. Worth a fair try!
What Gotama offered the society around him was an Upgrade for all, an upgrade for humanity, irrespective of sect or geography. The process being internal and the effect being Homo Sapiens version 2.0. Of course this is a simplified statement and there are many other aspects to it!
Goenkaji told us almost every other day that there was no monopoly or copyright on enlightenment. And since one human had achieved it, it could be possible for others to achieve it too. Deserves a fair trial for sure. Even though my goal is not to become a Buddha, I certainly want to live a good life. And this seems like a useful tool to be able to achieve this goal. Worth a fair try!
Purushaarth karo, kept urging Goenkaji! Take proactive steps towards betterment. Do not be passive. Get up and make the effort in the right direction. Take constructive action. Understand the impermanence of things – Anitya!
Everything being Anitya or impermanent or constantly changing, why do we assume that ‘I’ cannot change. My experience with rehabilitating Neurology patients has taught me that changes in the brain are possible due to the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. Then how does society assume that a persons nature can never change? Though a leopard cannot change its spots, our brain has immense potential to change. If brain wouldn’t change we could not have developed into walking talking and learning sentient beings. If motor skills can be developed, so can emotional ones. Emotion is primarily e-motion. A feeling that sets our actions in motion. Emotional skills can be learnt. Each intellectual philosophises and states that this can happen. But who will teach and train about how.
Here is a process that takes resort in natures building blocks and helps us introspect and develop equanimity. On this substrate we can then mould our selves, our inner world, to have the required skill sets.
With clarity we can see our goals better, uncluttered by external pressure and societal requirements.
Definitely worth a fair try!