All posts tagged self-understanding

Meditation and daily rhythms

Recently, I resumed my practice of meditating twice a day for half an hour each. For the last six months, I had been meditating once a day for 45 minutes. Meditating once in the morning, and then once again in the evening, and perhaps a few minutes before going to sleep sets a rhythm to the day which is missing when I meditate just once a day. Below I write about my experience with this schedule.

Such a schedule divides one’s day into two alternate spheres, the inward and the outward. One starts the day by taking a dip inwards and the actions of the day then bear a trace of that half hour of meditation. One feels more alive, more in touch with oneself, perhaps specifically with a particular aspect of the psyche that the meditation has raised near to the surface from the depths.

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The meaning of action

A few days ago, I spent a couple of hours in a little forest with a friend. There was no sign of civilization – no buildings, no cars, no mechanical noises, not even other human beings. We saw trees all around, tall grasses – lush from the recent rains, the sun glaring at us, an antelope watchfully observing us from a distance, an insect softly buzzing in the bush nearby. We are in 2011 AD, but I thought to myself that this scene could be from 2000 BC, or 20,000 BC, or 2,00,000 BC, or even 2 million BC. Scientists tell us that man, in his earliest form, first appeared on earth 2 million years ago, a time span that is hard to imagine. In the forest, perhaps there was nothing that was marked by the notions of civilization, development, or technology that man has built up since then. Read more…

The elephant in the forest

In his recently published autobiography, the Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar reflects on the nature of the psyche, drawing on his own life and the lives of his clients:

‘The unconscious may be more like an elephant which you can’t really control and which is mostly good-natured. It is not the headstrong horse of Freudian imagery which can be controlled with difficulty by the rider, the conscious part of the mind. The elephant is much stronger than the mahout [the driver of the elephant] and goes where it will though the mahout can nudge it in certain directions. There is certainly no point in getting into a fight with the elephant, a fight the mahout is sure to lose.’

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Discussing one’s meditation: reflections from an M – 1 Course

Last week we started an M-1 course at the Acem House in New Delhi. The course is an advanced course for those who have done the Beginners’ Course (M-0) and would like to understand the psychology of meditation further. It is the 3rd time I am part of such a course, and the 1st time as a co-leader. Each time the main challenge that the course leaders have faced is to make the participants reflect on their own experience of meditation rather than only discuss what is theoretically correct or incorrect. In the first M-1 course I attended, I found that it was one of the first times I deeply thought about what I really do when I meditate. Many others in such courses have the same experience, being able to see that there can be many different ways of repeating the meditation sound, many different ways of coming back to it and many different responses to the times when the stream of consciousness is uncomfortable. A fact that becomes clear to the group very soon is that there is more to the meditation than telling ourselves “just repeat the sound and let all thoughts come and go.”

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Inga’s struggle for a good life

Since childhood, Inga Cheng had known that in order to get where she wanted, she needed to deal with her own personality as well as external forces. This helped her keep up her motivation when some of her early meditation experiences were less pleasant than expected. And her perseverance paid off.

She has come a long way. At 59, Inga is now a senior lecturer at the prestigious Chunghwa Telecom Training Center outside Taipei, Taiwan. She is happily married and the proud mother of three daughters, who never cease to surprise her with their intelligence and social skills. ”Can these really be my children?” she asks with a characteristic self-deprecating laugh. She has been practising Acem Meditation for more than twenty years.

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