YOUR LIFE IS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR LIBERATION

YOUR LIFE IS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR LIBERATION

It’s completely okay to practice yoga in a nice yoga practice centre. It’s good to do walking meditation in a romantic forest. That’s not a problem. The problem might be on the other side of the same thought. If I am somehow convinced that certain places are particularly suitable for mindfulness and awakening other places probably are absolutely not suitable for that. So the work meeting in my company will probably never be a place for spiritual practice and neither the road in front of my house with the dangerous pedestrian crossing. This means that unpleasant images, sounds, smells, feelings and thoughts are enough to chase away mindfulness and attention which must be placed elsewhere in suitable spaces where I’m not troubled any more by any of those unpleasant impulses in order to finally find the right place for my liberation from all suffering and illusion.

That’s simply not the case. Your daily life is the right place for your liberation from suffering and illusion and nothing else. And your life simply happens in nice, ugly and the neutral places. Mindfulness is the instrument to understand where I am and what my mind is currently doing. Liberation doesn’t take place in a nice meditation centre. And liberation doesn’t take place in ugly places. Liberation starts to develop when I’m not influenced any more by being in a nice or ugly place. Liberation includes the insight that “nice” or “ugly” are changeable ideas in my mind and that the ant at my feet has a completely different opinion of this place. And rightly so.

Start down this path. It is a path of joy

Start down this path. It is a path of joy

Our mind can operate in two ways – with a narrative focus or with an experiencial focus. Our habitual mode of operation is with the narrative focus – meaning that we are constantly telling ourselves stories ABOUT what we are currently experiencing. We are barely aware of what we are actually experiencing in the moment, being instead preoccupied with the story about it. We are not living our life, we are living in a confused story ABOUT our life.

The narrative focus works as an uninterrupted stream of thoughts, which bears almost no relation to concentrated, focused thinking. It consists of endless repetitions, daydreams, indistinct wishes and fears, fragments, half sentences, memories, strange murmurs and other such mental rubbish. This narrative of mental rubbish has far more power over us than we acknowledge – it produces our self image, our “ego”, a thought construction which actually does not correspond to reality.

This “ego” knows exactly that it is an extremely fragile thought construction, liable to break apart at any moment. For this reason it is fearful – fearful of collapse, fearful of being dismantled by reality. That is the reason why we often feel fear, without knowing what we are actually afraid of. The fear is a malaise arising from an insane thought form within us, a malaise that we mistakenly take as being part of ourselves. It is a tragic fallacy, from which many never find their way out of in their lifetimes.

There is one, and exactly one, way out: The experience based focus, which offers a direct access to reality. Mindfulness, and walking in mindfulness as an example, is the key. In this way we recognize the reality behind the thoughts. We recognize the world, and life itself in its beauty and wonderful possibilities. All the latent fear appears all of the sudden as sick and unnecessary. That is the path. That is the path away from the insanity of the ego within us and towards reality, towards being, towards life. At the beginning, this path always requires a bit of effort from us, since the ego (the uncontrolled thoughts within us) does not want to be dismantled and struggles – as always using thoughts – against this way out, against awareness, against reality. Once we start down this path, however, it becomes a true pleasure, a deep joy, an indispensable part of our day, compared with which all other seems grey and helpless.

Hence – start down this path. If you are already on the path, walk down it more often, and with greater determination. It is a path of joy – what can speak against it?