I think we can all agree. It’s a tough world we live in.
If you’re like me, and you avoid the news as much as possible, you’ll still —more often than not—come across some new pressing crisis that you either try not to absorb too much for your own sanity or you absorb it and feel dismal about the future. Now, more than ever.. there is panic. We are in the midst of a worldwide lockdown, the likes of which has probably never been seen before. Even if we limit our time online, chances are, we still know what’s going on. And we now have all the time in the world to absorb it all.
We, also, have all the time in the world for awareness and an opportunity (a requirement, almost) to come together in unity like never before. We can use the time to face ourselves as a society; as individuals. Or we can continue with avoidance. But despite all the things we may or may not be successful at avoiding: one thing remains the same always. That is, the universal truth of nature. Of humanity.
All of our problems in this life are universal. Sadness. Misery. Struggle. Passion. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Hatred. Loneliness. These are not sectarian feelings. They aren’t limited to any one group of people or any particular dogma. There are no feelings that one person feels that have never been felt before, across borders, across lifetimes, across beliefs. Our struggles are the same. Our pains are the same. Therefore the remedy for all of it also needs to be universal. The “salvation” (as some religions like to call it) of humanity needs to be just as universal as its defilements.
But what is it?
It is you. Salvation is and has always been, you saving yourself from .. yourself. From your negative thoughts. From your negative actions. From your so-called “sins”. All of which develop within your own mind. By your own self. Salvation does not come down from some mystical, superior being or magic power that comes as a result of bribery or coercion or ritualistic practices that simply polish over a new layer on top of our ever-present maladies. The human problems as described within every theology are always the same. And the god we pray to always exhibits the same characteristics.
THAT is what it is about. That is what it has ALWAYS been about.
Jesus. Buddha. Mohammad. Jehovah. Yeshua. Allah. Krishna. Shiva. These people were not a bunch of narcissistic men who just wanted their faces plastered everywhere and everyone calling their names all day long. They were ordinary humans, just like you and I, who exhibited extraordinary love and compassion for everyone regardless of creed or doctrine.
They came here to spread love and they did so by being an example of it. The best way to honour them is to be like them. Is to find those same qualities within ourselves. To live with that same level of Metta bhavana (loving-kindness). And you can only find that within. You can only find it by doing the work yourself. No one else can do it for you. It’s a long, difficult path, but it’s worth every single little microscopic step that’s taken toward that ultimate goal of liberation from misery. This is what meditation is. This is what Vipassana teaches us. Regardless of whatever sect you subscribe yourself to, you can meditate. All it asks of you is to sit with yourself and watch your breath. Watch your body. Let your thoughts come as they do. Not run from them or call them the devil’s work or rebuke them. See them. Be with them. Purify them with your breath. Let them go. That’s it. No magic. No tricks. No secrets.
Just you and yourself working to become a better human being by understanding the truth of all things. No more living in delusion. No more need to play one character or another. To continue dressing yourself up in a particular way to suit whatever circumstance is present. To continue participating in a “reality” that isn’t actually real… Out of fear or ignorance or laziness. To see the real reality that exists in every moment without our awareness. To understand, that this is water. It requires leaving everything behind. The price of truth is everything.
This is the answer.
That has always been the answer. And in the middle of all the craziness, with all the newfound time we have to dedicate to ourselves, we have the chance to develop a practise of lifelong benefit. A practise which allows us to survive, thrive even, through any passing storm. It won’t all come at first, just as the muscles and the strength and the flexibility of the body don’t happen after your first workout. But it comes. With time, with dedication, it comes. Little by little, life isn’t so bad. Little by little, you stop reacting. Then one day, you find yourself with a deep understanding that all the misery of life is created by the mind. On the other side of her, there’s peace. There’s the wind blowing through the trees. The ocean waves crashing on the shore. The stars shining down upon us. There’s art. There’s music. There’s laughter. Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing. And, most importantly, everything passes.
Once you find that you can quite literally observe the passing sensations within your body, you’ll realise how little we really need to react to. Or better yet, even if we react, this, too, will pass.
This is worth knowing to everyone on the planet.