Awareness must be developed through the power of action because it’s easier to cultivate any faculty within you through action than just through contemplation. Contemplation will create an understanding of a subject. Some ritualistic action is the way by which you can speed up internalizing.
And probably, nobody presented the ease of process of practicing non-doing, than gifting us the process of Vipassana. When Buddha taught us, just by becoming aware of an action of yours and just by holding your awareness with an action of yours, you hold your body-mind in the present continuous. For example, in the Hindu tradition, you will see that, a lot of people in a temple go one foot at a time.
Step-by-step, they go one foot at a time. The more and more you realize, what this entire gift of man has, where he can lift himself by himself, by the power of his own awareness, the sort of changes we can bring unto ourselves. The dedication that we can express ourselves by simply understanding that I will express my love and respect for a messenger by living by the message, just bringing about this self-modification, self-purifications, self-corrections unto ourselves, the possibilities of what we can live is so much.
And this awareness has to be developed through the power of action because it’s easier to cultivate any faculty within you through action than just through contemplation. Contemplation will create understanding of a subject. Some ritualistic action is the way by which you can expedite the process of internalizing the whole thing. And hence, one of the rituals that has been presented to you is, that when you walk one foot at a time…
See, to walk like this, my mind does not have to be where my body is. I can allow my mind to wander and I can still… But to walk one step at a time, my mind has to concentrate on the body. It’s just a process by which the mind is brought to where the body is. So when you keep writing Sriramajayam, maybe what you write, you can interpret it whichever way you want, but it holds the mind where the body is.
When you sit and keep rolling the rosary bead hundred and eight times and in rolling the rosary bead, you’re chanting either introvertedly some mantra, or you are chanting something extroverted, during that time you have to hold the mind where the body is, so that the body-mind is in the present continuous. It’s by training yourself to hold body-mind in one place, you develop the power of your awareness.
Of all the things that you can do, so there is Vipassana walk. There is Vipassana way of eating, where you just take that morsel of food, hold your entire awareness, you see it, you smell it and you keep the spoon down. You chew it, you are aware. You gulp it, you feel the food going down and only then take the next morsel of food. Anything can be done with awareness. And one of the easiest ways to practice he said, can you just concentrate on your breathing?
Can you just bring your entire awareness to your breathing and just keep concentrating on your breathing, so that inhalation, exhalation, not pranayama. In pranayama, you change the pattern of breathing. In Vipassana, you don’t change the pattern of your breathing. You just watch your breathing. Some people watch it in the nostrils and some people watch the abdominal movement. And can you just watch your breathing?
And those few minutes you watch your breathing, you are forcefully holding your mind where your body is. And by creating this body and mind into body-mind integration, you train your awareness to be in the present continuous. And once you’ve trained to hold your awareness in the present continuous, which is consciousness all about, you’ll be able to lift yourself by yourself.
So we did discuss in the last, the power and the importance of practicing non-doing, the power and the importance of practicing quietude. So one of the easiest ways to practice is, just to sit still in a state and just watch your breathing. Mind will wander, every time it wanders, just bring it back and just watch your breathing. Mind will wander, just bring it back. Just watch your breathing. Mind will wander, just bring it back, watch your breathing. And a time will come when you’ll just be watching your breathing.
And a time will come, as you are watching your breathing, you’ll realize it’s not inhalation, exhalation, it’s inhalation-gap, exhalation-gap. You’ll become aware. I’m not talking about the gap you create. I’m not talking about… But there is an inherent gap between inhalation, exhalation. All of a sudden, this entire process of just watching your breathing, which was only inhalation, exhalation, now shifts into inhalation-gap, exhalation-gap and some where when you continue to keep watching your breathing, a time comes when you are neither with inhalation, nor with exhalation.
You’ve slipped through that gap into meditation. And suddenly you become oblivious of everything around you. And when you come back from that glimpse of silence, something about you has changed forever from deep within. Something about you from deep within is never going to be the same anymore. And that’s what Buddha presented to us.
Can we enhance this awareness within us, by creating a context of any activity. All religious rituals, and I know a lot of you don’t like religious rituals, but all religious rituals are actions that have been taught to you to achieve some transformation. And like that any action that you perform, which demands concentration, any action you perform! When pranayama, apart from all the health benefits it derives, when they say, “Inhale eight counts, hold three counts, exhale eleven counts.”.
One of the factors, apart from all other physical dimensions it gives is, it develops the power of your concentration. Take a deep inhalation. Concentration is not required. I can still do multitasking, my mind can vacillate wherever it wants to vacillate, and I can still take a deep inhalation, but take eight-count inhalation, concentration is required. I have to count. I have to count! Hold three counts, concentration is required. Can you exhale x counts? Take a deep exhalation.
Concentration is not required. Exhale eleven counts. You have to count. So, in fact, most of the religious rituals where quantification… Hundred and eight times, eleven times, most religious practices where quantification has been added… One of the singular purpose is, can you hold the mind with the body? Can the mind be held where the body is? And that’s how you develop the power of your awareness.
Some action in your life which will help you to concentrate better, simple actions. Even as a grown-up adult, you can still buy that memory game, which you have to turn and see whether… By just playing some memory games, to me, that is as good as Vipassana, you will develop your concentration. And can we thereby cultivate this awareness within us, through which you’ll be able to lift yourself and as a result, lift the world around?