How To Be An Unconditioned, Sane, Really Free Human Being

I intended to get up early. To move my body and sit with my mind and drink coffee for pleasure, not need.  

I wake not feeling.  

Then, a tingling of anxiety.  

I pretend I didn’t notice.  

I hit snooze.  

Then again. 

The regret will linger all day. 

I avoid admitting my mood is dark.  

My feet hit the floor. 

The dog shifts from sound asleep to full motion in less than a second.  I still love her, I remind myself.  

The sun rises, 59 minutes past me first looking at my phone, 2 hours before I promised myself I would.  

Like my emotions, the river is frozen this morning. 

When I bring up meditation to my clients, the line goes dead.  The air gets sucked out of the room. I brace myself for the revolt.  

The benefits of meditation are elusive to most, even though every religion I know of talks of it, every mindfulness practice seems to describe a form of it and every Yoga studio in the country seems to teach it.    

Many people seem desirous for what they hear it does… bringing peace and relaxation and a Zen vibe to their lives. They want to hang in the beautiful space,  have the candles lit and be around other like-minded people.  But make no mistake, it’s hard work.   

People ask what sitting quiet and focusing on breath or practicing loving-kindness or observing thoughts can really do? Sure, it can sometimes be a gentle reprieve for ten minutes, yes it can feel good and it can be relaxing and many people certainly feel a sense of peace and clarity from it.  The medical research is overwhelming.  But…. It’s not always so Zen awesome.  

Showing up when you don’t want to, being when you feel like exploding, breathing and holding onto silence when your thoughts are racing and your filled with rage, sitting on the cushion when every ounce of your body hurts and it feels like someone is holding a burning cigarette to your spine… that’s the other half of the equation, the part you don’t hear so much about.  

For those who persevere, who practice both on and off the cushion and make meditation or any mindfulness practice a rigorous part of their daily lives, clearly they’ve benefited significantly enough to keep going, why else would they endure?

I know why I have… my path’s been dramatically altered by a willingness to expose myself and open the interior spaces and look around.  I’ve discovered my feelings are great information and terrible decision makers.  I can see more clearly how important it is to pause, reset, look again.  I’ve become more sturdy, less sporadic.  More centered, less susceptible.  I feel more rooted in truth and can feel yes and no in my body. 

Meditation to me is a gentle whisper of deep truth and understanding. That gentle whisper is what I want to hear.  I’ve done the extremes and the fires and the wind and the earthquakes. It all left me feeling less than whole.   The gentle whisper is how I find sanity, peace, focus, kindness and sustainable happiness.  

Osho says it better than anyone:

“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. 

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process. 

It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. 

And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”