Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In search of answer - part II

Well..so here is the second part..As I said, I could not find answers in the space and figured that this method was not going to work for me. It is interesting that I was trying to find if any one else had a similar experience as me and I could not find any one. It is puzzling to me but oh well..BTW the method that I was using was Deepak Chopra's method of meditation.

So, after this, I stopped meditating for a long time. However, I could not stay away from it. Nothing else gripped my attention and made sense. In the meanwhile, I had married my loving hudband and moved to New York from Peoria, IL. Since I could not stay away from the question, I started looking into different meditation techniques again and one choice that seemed obvious was Buddhism. I explored Tibetan method but could not stick with it because of ritualism. I looked some more and came across something called Zen. I had no clue what it was but I figured I would try. So, I went to the Empty Hand Zen center(http://www.emptyhandzen.org/) in New Rochelle for an introductory session. And I was thrilled!! This is a place where the teacher gave simple instructions, did not promise any nirvana or any other kind of magic, just instructed me to sit with myself and observe.

Now, one may ask, so how is this different from what I was doing before? The big difference was "to observe". I was not supposed to stop my mind or manipulate it in any manner but to observe its workings. This to me was the key to the lock. Observe the mind and understand what it is about, how it functions and how it drives. This in my experience is true meditation. It is very easy to get lost in thoughts rather to observe them and that is where the breath comes into picture. It allows you to stay focused in the witness mode. Later I came to know that this is called Vipassana in Buddhism. Samatha or focusing the mind is also important because without that, you can get into witness mode. Now, in my sitting, I fluctuate between Samatha and Vipassana, getting into Samatha so that Vipassana can happen.

I wanted to put this out there for people like me who are exploring. I could not find any resources or any one to talk about what I experienced when I was trying to get into the "space" of mind without any thoughts and how dangerous it can be. I am sure there are people who have gone through a similar experience. Anyways, the bottom line - mind's function is to think and nothing is gained by stopping the thinking process. One needs to focus the mind and get into concentration, in order to be able to observe but it is not healthy to try to "stop" the mind processes.


  1. so, what you observe, how does that affect you as a person? this brings to my next question, when you are observing, are you also judging yourself at the same time, making notes of who are, what you like about it and you don't?

    Interesting post taru...'am gonna read all the posts - and would surely have questions

  2. What you observe, enables you to react in a wholesome manner..you don't get victimized easily, become tolerant of yourself and other. For example, if you are afraid of something that has not yet happened but might have a chance of happening in future, you can catch yourself and say that there is no need to stress now for something that might never happen. You can enjoy your life more in present moment by observing yourself.

    Yes, you are observing yourself to understand the working of your mind and understand why there is stress.