Monday, April 01, 2013

a lot like christmas

And then, the third question:

"I know that you've been practising a form of meditation. When I mediatate/pray, I pray to God and talk to him. Where does your meditating take you? Do you talk to someone/something or is it just a form of relaxation?

I'm also curious as to what you think about celebrating Christmas? Do you still practise this tradition with your family? If you do, why? I know that there are millions of people, who don't believe in Jesus, that still celebrate Christmas. But what are they celebrating?"

And my reply:

"The meditation that I practice is called Vipassana. It begins with a quiet focus on the breath and moves to a concentrated observation of the sensations of the whole body. As you pay attention to the sensations without reacting to them, you begin to know yourself better and how habits of reacting to life situations are formed. The more time you spend observing sensations rather than reacting to them, the fewer habits of over reaction are formed. Essentially, you are using your body, and your observations of it, as a daily practise area for real life situations. When I sit for my one hour in the morning, I systematically pass my attention through every part of my body making observations about any sensations that I may come across. But just observing, not reacting. So if it's an itch, I don't scratch, I just observe it for a while or until it goes away. If it's a cramp, I don't shift my position, I just observe for a while or until it goes away, if it's heat, pressure, pain, vibration,...anything...I simply observe and not react. In doing so, the habits I have formed of reacting with craving or aversion to stimulus in my life become less powerful. And the goal is eventually achieve a life with few or no cravings or aversions...and therefore, nothing to be miserable about. Misery has as it's source either a craving or an aversion to something or for something. Having nothing to be miserable about equals more mental space for compassion and empathy.

Does it work? Undeniably.
Am I now perfectly in control of my emotions? No.
Have I noticed a difference? Absolutely.

This is a life-long practice. It fits very well with the ancient philosophy of "Know Thyself". The better one knows oneself, such as knowing one's own habits, morals, temperament, ability to control anger, and other aspects of human behaviour that we struggle with on a daily basis, the better equipped one is to move effectively throughout life. No one can give this to you or do this for you. You have to work out your own liberation.


I participate in Christmas because I live in community. If I would remove myself from it, I remove myself from community. The entire North American culture is enmeshed in it, therefore it is impossible to be removed unless your entire community is non-participating. My job, my family on both sides, the media, and nearly everyone I associate with is either celebrating it, or participating in it because of their associations. It is inescapable for me. And I don't mind so much because it's a great time for family and "good cheer". And I don't have anything against Jesus as a person. He was quite remarkable. So if the world wants to have a birthday party, great...I love parties, too."

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