Setting Fire — The Inward Revolution

A Noble Act of Defiance

In the 1960’s Monks in Vietnam burned themselves alive in protest to the war. (click here for pictures)

They did so with peace and grace.

They saw what was obvious for many of us. That violence doesn’t solve a thing.

They took action, and however you may feel about their decision, it was rooted in peace.

People who take on Monk-hood are respected in the Asian subcontinent because they have removed themselves from worldly pursuits.

Their life has become one of celibacy, simple accommodations and a relentless pursuit to perfect the art of meditation.

All their duties carry a focus to bring compassion to the world and attain liberation.

I don’t know what it means to be liberated or what’s nirvana — nor will I assume what it is, but nonetheless, the way these monks burned themselves alive and still kept a calm demeanor is something I can’t help but admire.

Meditation

I had an “Aha” moment after years and years of self-introspection, a minimalistic lifestyle, contemplation in nature, experiments with drugs, long bouts of fasting, cold showers, spiritual lectures and tons of reading.

I was searching for something but didn’t know what. Maybe it was the search for the meaning of life..maybe it was for joy??

I had no real direction.

The moment everything changed for me was when I decided to stop the outward search.

Meditation was the answer. The funny thing is the answer was with me the whole time.

The thing that I was searching for, was searching for me. When we both finally converged, this thing called “LIFE” made a little more sense.

Popular belief states that we should seize the moment, but I believe that the moment seizes us.

Meditation is when I confronted the self and became responsible for every feeling I have and every action I perform.

Meditation is when you begin to see yourself as the examiner of thoughts -and if a thought happens to consume you, you’re able to disengage and come back the present moment.

The Inward Revolution

It’s the revolution that is seldom talked about.

The world of war, politics, greed, famine, poverty, criminal activity, financial burden and every other conceivable problem we have will never go away.

The problems in our life is the FIRE. It will burn for the rest of our life and long after we’re gone.

The inward revolution is the war that we are constantly waging with ourselves.

We’ve been accustomed to point the finger at others for our troubles (mentally, socially, psychologically, financially and physically) without acknowledging that we are the culprit.

Spirituality is the acknowledgement that you’re creating your world moment to moment and every action your perform and every thought you think has a consequence.

This is more widely known as cause and effect.

The ability to look inwardly and solely rely on yourself as the solution for all problems takes an extraordinary amount of discipline, trust and patience.

Most people in the world won’t be able to do this because let’s face it — it’s easier to blame others for our state of mind.

It’s easier to trust others than ourselves.

It’s easier to find instant gratification even though the best things in life are deferred.

It’s easier to have an excuse.

It’s easier to compartmentalize and label all our baggage as good and bad.

It’s easier to stay stagnant with our problems than realize that there are no problems — only the ones we hold onto mentally.

The inward revolution is about confronting the uncomfortable and painful and to understand that it wasn’t all that bad.

Equanimity

When I went on a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat I had many great revelations.

Despite the joy and almost MDMA type of euphoria that I experienced daily, none was more profound than the pain that hour long sits induce.

Sitting in one place is hard enough and doing it 10–12 hours a day can be torture and for me it kind of was — but after 3 days into the 10 day sit I was making peace with the pain.

I was able to feel the burning sensations and invited them with the same acceptance that I invited the euphoric feelings.

Similar to my physical pain I also experienced mental pains.

I uncovered the temporary bandaids of past problems and performed deep surgical drilling to eradicate them for good.

Pain is simply a sensation that comes and goes. It’s when we attach ourselves to these sensations that we inflict pain.

When we can make peace with the pain and when we understand to dance with the world of change we can live with equanimity.

Change is Inevitable — Now is all we have

I’m probably stating the obvious but we all know that everything in the world is in constant flux.

Despite this rudimentary knowledge, many of us will continue to live in the past and future narrations of our wondering mind.

Living this moment and seeing it for the change it is can be difficult, but once you cross that hurdle, life becomes intrinsically more beautiful.

Living in the now might seem like some new age term, especially in my home of San Francisco, CA — but living in the present moment is deeper than that.

Our psychological well-being as people depend on accepting and surrendering to this moment.

This is not to say that we should nullify the need to pursue and attain our goals, but more-so to be at peace with what is at all times.

Closing

The Monks in Vietnam had to take action. They did so as they saw most effective.

In the midst of the FIRE — they peacefully gave their lives because the act of compassion was bigger than them. I envy and appreciate their sacrifice.

They did not die in vain.

Through them we can learn.

The lesson is that no matter the fire in your life, no matter how much it burns and tries to consume you — if you can stay calm and see the situation as something that comes and goes, then you can uncover what we’re all generally chasing in this world.

Joy.

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour — William Blake

With Love,

Anand

What is Meditation

As I sit at my local coffee shop writing these words to you I feel joy.

I do not know where this joy comes from nor do I care.

It’s in moments like this that I take a step back, breathe deeply and relish in my current environment — because no matter where the mind decides to travel, I can only be here. Continue reading “What is Meditation”

Vipassana Meditation – Living a Monk’s Life for 10 Days

What is Vipassana

Vipassana is a meditation technique of seeing things as they really are. Through stark observation and concentration the focus remains on the sensations of the body and through this, one develops non-reactive understanding and insight into the subtle and gross changes that the body exhibits during meditation. Continue reading “Vipassana Meditation – Living a Monk’s Life for 10 Days”

5 Immediate Benefits of Meditation

My Super Brief Introduction into Meditation

I brought meditation into my life because I was on the path of self-discovery. In the pursuit to understand enlightenment, the taste for much of what I thought was of value faded. I needed to make sense of the constant conversation I was having with myself in the mind. Continue reading “5 Immediate Benefits of Meditation”