Lessons From 25 Years of Meditating

Yogi Mccaw

Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)

Awakin Feature

I did meditate nearly everyday for about 25 years of my life, and some days, for hours on end. [...] Here's what I found. 
 
1. meditation is not painful. [...] As the Buddha pointed out, although everybody suffers, it does not follow that suffering leads to any kind of enlightenment. It doesn't. It just leads to suffering. Period. It doesn't go anywhere else. So don't glorify your suffering, or think you are making "progress" in meditation because your knees hurt. [...] Yet a lot of people buy this logic. You're better off taking proper care of your knees. 
 
2. If you're meditating in order to achieve something - even if it's a deeper state of meditation, you are missing the point, and probably sabotaging your meditations to boot. Meditation is a whole different universe from the achievement-driven universe of the ego. Normally, we always do something to get something. It's intrinsic. If you're actually in meditation, you're not doing anything, and you're not getting anything. Ironically, that's where you need to be to actually meditate. You are not in "doing this to get that". As simple as it sounds, most people never get to this breakthrough, even after years of "doing" stuff like meditation techniques. Which of course, they are doing in order to get into meditation. [...] 
 
3. It's impossible to describe why a person should meditate. Yes, calmness, a strong sense of being centered even in adverse conditions, and expanded viewpoint, can all result from meditations, but really all those are side-effects.All I can say is that it is truly the only way to get beyond the "doing something to get something" phenomenal existence we live in everyday. That expansion is what makes it worth it. But, remember, it doesn't actually come from doing anything. It just is. This leads to the last realization - 
 
4. That meditation is our natural state of being. The only reason we have to do meditation techniques is because we don't live in our natural state. It's an old Zen paradox that states only the Zen master is ordinary. The master appears special because he seems different from everybody else. But the secret is that he isn't different at all he is just ordinary, natural. The difference appears because everyone else lives in an unnatural state of anxiety, worries, and "doing something to get something". So it's not that the Zen master is extraordinary - he's totally ordinary. It's just that everyone else is not.

Seed questions for reflection: Can you share a comic story of a time when your striving was at odds with the purpose of your striving, as the author points out? How do we remain mindful of the need to catch ourselves making this mistake and laugh about it? How do you relate to the goal of being completely ordinary? What are tools that have helped you get beyond the "doing something to get something" phenomenal existence?

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22 Previous Reflections:

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    On Sep 11, 2014 K wrote:

     I love your last point; it really resonates with me and is exactly what I've been experiencing in my 3 years of practice; I have finally realized that we have the ego self grown from experiences, based off of negative thoughts and emotions, and then we have this 'other' self  - the real self :), and hence meditation is vital :)


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    On Apr 17, 2013 Raghuram wrote:

     It is true bringing the mind to natural state.... slowly a stage comes to go beyond mind ..... no-mind...
    It is possible when we go to no-thought and you can able to see a gap between the thought and gradually gap increases and thought pattern reduces and a stage comes only you see gap and no-thought that takes to final stage..


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    On Apr 17, 2013 a.m.hiwarkar wrote:

     i will do meditation to arrive at natural state of my mind


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    On Mar 3, 2013 Rita wrote:
     Wow!!!! This did help> Thanks so much. I have meditating since some time and i was wondering why do i want to do it. Whenever there are efforts in doing anything it seems so useless. U have made things so clear , so simply. God bless u.

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    On Mar 1, 2013 Raghuram wrote:
     For me meditation is looking inside world and detaching outside world in your life and it is easy to say but needs lot's of practice and it is also true symptoms like knee getting trouble etc, that we should learn to judge and not to act or react, Also true that you are not doing meditation to achieve something but this practice gradually drives out all passion,greed and fear which buried inside you. which is very subtle and you cannot measure and it should not be measured to declare I have achieved something.  My journey is also about 20 years now and only thing I can say that good I started the journey.........

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    On Feb 28, 2013 easyyoga meditation - purus wrote:
     Note : This book is to be read and repeated as slow as a song or poem till you experience The Real Self, Chepter 1.         The Real Self   I am a peaceful being of pure light,   Life energy,   Seated in the for head.   From here I operate   This material body.   This body is made up of matter,   Five elements.    Earth,   Water,   Air,   Sun and sky    And   I am pure light,   Life energy,   Consciousness,   Feelings,   Emotions and awareness.     This body have    Five sense organs,   Eyes   Nose   Mouth   Ears and   Hands (skin).   I the life energy    Perform   Different activities   Through    These   Sense organs.   With the eyes I the life ... [View Full Comment]  Note : This book is to be read and repeated as slow as a song or poem till you experience The Real Self, Chepter 1.
     
     
     
     
    The Real Self
     
    I am a peaceful being of pure light,
     
    Life energy,
     
    Seated in the for head.
     
    From here I operate
     
    This material body.
     
    This body is made up of matter,
     
    Five elements. 
     
    Earth,
     
    Water,
     
    Air,
     
    Sun and sky 
     
    And
     
    I am pure light,
     
    Life energy,
     
    Consciousness,
     
    Feelings,
     
    Emotions and awareness.  
     
    This body have 
     
    Five sense organs,
     
    Eyes
     
    Nose
     
    Mouth
     
    Ears and
     
    Hands (skin).
     
    I the life energy 
     
    Perform
     
    Different activities
     
    Through 
     
    These
     
    Sense organs.
     
    With the eyes I the life energy 
     
    Look the outside world.
     
    With the nose I the life energy 
     
    Respire and smell different odors
     
    With the mouth I the life energy 
     
    Eat, drink, speak and make sound.
     
    With the ears I the life energy 
     
    Hear sound.
     
    With the hands and the skin I the life energy
     
    Feel the touch and sensation.
     
    With the help of these sense organs
     
    I the life energy perform different activity.
     
    If I leave this body,  
     
    This body cannot perform any activity. 
     
    That means I the life energy, 6th element,
     
    Is the Operator of this body,
     
    Is different from this material 
     
    Bod,y made up of 5 elements.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    To be continued….           Easyyogy Purus
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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    On Feb 28, 2013 kruashna chaitanya wrote:
    Yogiji, you have done an excellent  favor to thousands of meditators who are craving for an enlightenment thru different kinds of meditations. I was very fortunate to be with a MASTER who told us this secret long back. His humourous way to describe meditation was... a method to tire you out so that you come back to your natural state...
    Hearty congrats !
    krushna chaitanya
          

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Shiva Steve Ordog wrote:
     I like this.  You are right!

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Christn worthinton wrote:
    Blessings. As a meditation guide I humbly object to this single faith orientation to meditation, summarizing this ancient rich tradition, and yes religion, in a modern only zen-like or budd. or non dual generalization. Hinduism in original Vedanta and more familiar yogananda, etc. stress meditation as having an exquisite goal of deeper intimacy in relation with god, feeling his love, chanting god, god, or chanting the names krishna, etc.until bliss state is reached. While your orientation is respected, please include the historical and sociological fact that most of the eastern world does not teach meditation from this view of semi extensional ism..I.e. there is a goal until all goals are utter bliss divine bursting into God. Thank you for sharing.

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Dian Lester wrote:
     I started mediating about 10 years ago, was reading Deepak C. at the time and just thought it felt right for me. My day just flows more easily when I do. This article was very helpful when I think that nothing has happened. Just feeling centered more peaceful.

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Taylor wrote:
     I totally needed this. Thank you.

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Dhara wrote:
    This was a good reminder and clarification.  Thanks! 

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    On Feb 27, 2013 pursot-Easyyoga wrote:
     In real we are spirit  in this physical body. We are ever free if we do our duties in time or before time.
    pursot - Easyyoga. 

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Thierry wrote:
    One very interesting thing on this forum is to get to know people you would have little chance to meet otherwise. So thank you Smita for your invitation to visit Benjamin Smythe on Youtube. I just did it. Smashing! Just about the right kind of counter-poison to taking oneself  too seriously where meditation is concerned. This chap is perfectly in tune with what it means to be completely ordinary yet fun to listen to, yet psychologically fearless . A great discovery!

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    On Feb 27, 2013 Ganoba wrote:
     Meditation is being still and silent like a statue, doing nothing. Immediately I realise that even though I am doing nothing, many things are happening within me and without. I also realise that there is a beauty and harmony inherent to this happening. The ego just vanishes and I can see myself clearly. I do what I have to do and say what I have to say.
    All the techniques are just commercial stuff. I don't need any of that. It is living attuned with nature (svadharma)

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    On Feb 26, 2013 Smita wrote:
    I have been lucky to meet more than a few people who embody this wisdom that the master is ordinary. Our beloved Pancho, for one. Jayesh bhai in Ahmedabad, India is another. In my opinion, another person who really embodies the truth that the master is ordinary is Benjamin Smythe. He's become known for sitting in outdoor public places around the world while holding a sign that says "you're perfect." He creates these outrageously funny, insightful, and very REAL and BLUNT videos, where he answers questions that people ask him. (If you want to laugh with and learn from Ben, check out his youtube channel). The beauty of these videos...completely ordinary! He will not call himself "enlightened" or "a teacher" or anything like that. Benjamin appears in these videos while eating a pizza or blowing his nose or sitting in a shower. He laughs hysterically, and he cries...all in front of the camera. This, for me, is so refreshing because it really demonstrat... [View Full Comment] I have been lucky to meet more than a few people who embody this wisdom that the master is ordinary. Our beloved Pancho, for one. Jayesh bhai in Ahmedabad, India is another. In my opinion, another person who really embodies the truth that the master is ordinary is Benjamin Smythe. He's become known for sitting in outdoor public places around the world while holding a sign that says "you're perfect." He creates these outrageously funny, insightful, and very REAL and BLUNT videos, where he answers questions that people ask him. (If you want to laugh with and learn from Ben, check out his youtube channel). The beauty of these videos...completely ordinary! He will not call himself "enlightened" or "a teacher" or anything like that. Benjamin appears in these videos while eating a pizza or blowing his nose or sitting in a shower. He laughs hysterically, and he cries...all in front of the camera. This, for me, is so refreshing because it really demonstrates one of his core messages, which is that many of us who "seek" are trying to run away from ourselves, when our ordinary selves are the ones we're looking for! In many of his videos, I see him unfolding. He's not fixed, and doesn't pretend to know it all. What he shares, and how he shares it, has really helped me to see the absurdity in seeking something outside of myself and my own experience. Whenever I need to be reminded of that, I watch Ben's videos. :)[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 23, 2013 david doane wrote:
     What comes to mind is the ridiculousness of punishing kids for their own good, which in its extreme form is justification for dropping bombs for peace.  I strove in my schooling to accomplish certain goals, and my striving and schooling were clearly at odds with some of my goals.  Such paradox!  It's comic, if not crazy.  I'm much more aware of my goal-directed time, of which there is still a lot and too much, and being aware of it helps me stay sane and I do spend more time goallessly.  I agree that enlightenment is ordinary/natural/simple, it's just that we have gotten far away from that kind of ordinary/natural/simple living.  Enlightened living is simple, it's just not easy especially in our goal-directed frenetic doing way of being, and I think a lot of people find simple goalless time in meditation.  "If you spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live," said Lin ... [View Full Comment]  What comes to mind is the ridiculousness of punishing kids for their own good, which in its extreme form is justification for dropping bombs for peace.  I strove in my schooling to accomplish certain goals, and my striving and schooling were clearly at odds with some of my goals.  Such paradox!  It's comic, if not crazy.  I'm much more aware of my goal-directed time, of which there is still a lot and too much, and being aware of it helps me stay sane and I do spend more time goallessly.  I agree that enlightenment is ordinary/natural/simple, it's just that we have gotten far away from that kind of ordinary/natural/simple living.  Enlightened living is simple, it's just not easy especially in our goal-directed frenetic doing way of being, and I think a lot of people find simple goalless time in meditation.  "If you spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live," said Lin Yu t'ang.  I've been alive a lot of years and sadly have spent only a handful of afternoons in that way.  Striving is probably always at odds with the purpose of the striving, and awareness of that has helped me get a little bit past it.  When I'm being goal-directed I'm being manipulative, and it behooves me to be very suspicious of and careful about any goal-directedness and manipulativeness, especially when well-intentioned.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 22, 2013 Bharat J. Chauhan wrote:
     I have started meditating for last one year so whatever I am writing may not carry much authenticity!  I am 57 years old and just sharing my journey in relation to being "ordinary"!  I lived my life until the age of 8 years in a village with no electricity, let alone other basic amenities of modern world.  Life was totally in sync with nature and retrospectively thinking, it was ordinary!  Sunrise and sound of rooster woke me up and seeing return of our cow from its Shepard monitored grazing routine, setting of the sun, taking dinner with family before it got dark and listening to grandma's stories under open sky putting me to deep sleep!  Life was so peaceful!  Being ordinary was so natural!!! Then when it happened I don't know but started getting conditioned to have aim, goals, always doing something to get something, becoming successful, becoming a health care professional, coming to USA and settling.........those 49 years spent... [View Full Comment]  I have started meditating for last one year so whatever I am writing may not carry much authenticity!  I am 57 years old and just sharing my journey in relation to being "ordinary"!  I lived my life until the age of 8 years in a village with no electricity, let alone other basic amenities of modern world.  Life was totally in sync with nature and retrospectively thinking, it was ordinary!  Sunrise and sound of rooster woke me up and seeing return of our cow from its Shepard monitored grazing routine, setting of the sun, taking dinner with family before it got dark and listening to grandma's stories under open sky putting me to deep sleep!  Life was so peaceful!  Being ordinary was so natural!!!

    Then when it happened I don't know but started getting conditioned to have aim, goals, always doing something to get something, becoming successful, becoming a health care professional, coming to USA and settling.........those 49 years spent conditioning myself to find out that actually speaking, once again I need to something, I need to do meditation to be just "being", just "ordinary"

    In other words as author of this read says I started meditation to get something!

    Thank you Yogi Mccow for giving a wake up call!  I am so glad!  I have at least good  memory of what "just being" should feel like or what "being ordinary" should be!  [Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 22, 2013 aj wrote:
     "Thinking deeply" is not only a wise thing to do, it's a healthy thing to do. When I struggled with intense anxiety, I learned that stillness/rest/quiet thought was key to my recovery and proper function.  Sitting VERY DIFFICULT for me, in our "to do" culture/world.  Additionally, "perfection" was something I thought (church/family goal) I needed to achieve for God's favor.  This notion, thru prayer/meditation I learned is incorrect.  Doing . . . doing . . . doing . . . left my soul VOID, my body tired and my mind dull.   Meditation leads to . . . rest . . . good decision making . . . connections to God and self . . . clearer vision . . . truths/reality revealed . . . magnifies . . . opens us up . . . renews . . . sharpens  . . . quiets nerve endings . . . grows awareness . . . invigorates Very much enjoy Awakin!  You give me things to meditate on!  Blessings       ... [View Full Comment]  "Thinking deeply" is not only a wise thing to do, it's a healthy thing to do.
    When I struggled with intense anxiety, I learned that stillness/rest/quiet thought was key to my recovery and proper function.  Sitting VERY DIFFICULT for me, in our "to do" culture/world.  Additionally, "perfection" was something I thought (church/family goal) I needed to achieve for God's favor.  This notion, thru prayer/meditation I learned is incorrect.  Doing . . . doing . . . doing . . . left my soul VOID, my body tired and my mind dull.  
    Meditation leads to . . . rest . . . good decision making . . . connections to God and self . . . clearer vision . . . truths/reality revealed . . . magnifies . . . opens us up . . . renews . . . sharpens  . . . quiets nerve endings . . . grows awareness . . . invigorates
    Very much enjoy Awakin!  You give me things to meditate on!  Blessings

     
        [Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 21, 2013 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
     It is weird that this piece should arrive today for it was during my meditation today, after a little over 20 years of meditation, that I realized some of what is said above..  I love being ordinary.  I make the mistake, and sometimes go too far, and want to be no one going nowhere.  It would not be a mistake if I simultaneously realized that being no one means being no separate person and that I am clearly connected to everyone and everything much more  than being separate from everyone and everything. It is also weird because I told my wife about my meditation experience today  (telling her a little over an hour ago) what makes Zen Buddhist practice so extraordinary is that it is being so ordinary.  I mention Zen for what I say yet  I believe what is mentioned in this peace and. is true for all facets of Buddhism and is probably  true for Hinduism..  Christianity of the type practiced by Thomas Merton ( and Robt. Kennedy S.J.) and Is... [View Full Comment]  It is weird that this piece should arrive today for it was during my meditation today, after a little over 20 years of meditation, that I realized some of what is said above..  I love being ordinary.  I make the mistake, and sometimes go too far, and want to be no one going nowhere.  It would not be a mistake if I simultaneously realized that being no one means being no separate person and that I am clearly connected to everyone and everything much more  than being separate from everyone and everything. It is also weird because I told my wife about my meditation experience today  (telling her a little over an hour ago) what makes Zen Buddhist practice so extraordinary is that it is being so ordinary.  I mention Zen for what I say yet  I believe what is mentioned in this peace and. is true for all facets of Buddhism and is probably  true for Hinduism..  Christianity of the type practiced by Thomas Merton ( and Robt. Kennedy S.J.) and Islam, Jewish, and Taoist practice, at a most basic level probably experienced the same  as do all wise and compassionate people.Thank you Somik and thanks for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 21, 2013 Edit Lak wrote:
    Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Ahh thank you. I have no need to say anything else than; thank You Yogi Mccaw. ‘It is what it Is’, that is the experience in-it-self, of ‘being’ - just ‘being’.. At some needy point in my life, I looked at these super sellers of meditation and yoga, promising the golden land of nirvana and bliss, I went looking for that bliss, I was so disappointed that I wasn’t seeing the light, that I was SO wrong, I was then told to fake it, well I tried that for a very short time only to realise I was faking much more than what I was looking for, because once you start to fake one thing in life that then rolls onto two, three 4  5 and 6… It’s all a distraction from being. So one day at the traffic lights I realised that being ‘just being’ true to self and ‘experiencing’ is he phenomenal existence to bliss ‘good or bad.’ We make bliss and nirvana happen each day a... [View Full Comment] Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Ahh thank you. I have no need to say anything else than; thank You Yogi Mccaw. ‘It is what it Is’, that is the experience in-it-self, of ‘being’ - just ‘being’.. At some needy point in my life, I looked at these super sellers of meditation and yoga, promising the golden land of nirvana and bliss, I went looking for that bliss, I was so disappointed that I wasn’t seeing the light, that I was SO wrong, I was then told to fake it, well I tried that for a very short time only to realise I was faking much more than what I was looking for, because once you start to fake one thing in life that then rolls onto two, three 4  5 and 6… It’s all a distraction from being. So one day at the traffic lights I realised that being ‘just being’ true to self and ‘experiencing’ is he phenomenal existence to bliss ‘good or bad.’ We make bliss and nirvana happen each day and that was hilarious, we live in the good each day and we chose to change it to whatever dramas we bind ourself too at any particular moment in time and life. But this is just my experience of living a life and that ‘ living’ is the tool.. 'Im just a tool in life' :-) hehehe. But each to there own amazing life’s experiences.. Thank you for this wonderful ‘really honest’ read. Loved it.. [Hide Full Comment]

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    On Feb 21, 2013 Katrina wrote:
     We are complex and multidimensional beings. We are full of energy and direction. Overwhelmed by our own thoughts and emotions. Our energy and power woven into our being, our very flesh. Give this energy a direction of it’s own and to make it work for you, not against you. This is what meditation means to me. As I sit and sit and sit ever more releasing all doubt of who I am and why I exist.

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