Meditating / Sitting in silence, quiet and alert, observing the self without reacting brings forth many awarenesses. With continuous practice, this awareness grows, comes alive and stays alive in the undercurrents, ever-present even off-the-cushion. Which is exactly the point of daily meditation.
I think it is accurate to say that at one point in time, I was aware of nothing at a deeper level! I was reacting to people, things, emotions, situations and believing that was the only way. Fast-forward to post-Vipassana, and now I am aware of [some of] my reactions, and often even aware of a second level reaction to my initial reaction. Layers and layers of sankharas, reactions, should’s and should not’s etc.
A few months into seriously meditating I became aware of (what I think is) a strange phenomenon — my happiness makes me happy, sure… but what makes me even more happy is someone else’s misery. Awareness, equanimity, and loving-kindness allow me to tend to these (I’ll call them) human flaws with tender love and care.
Fast-forward yet another several months and I’ve noticed that I still react with happiness to someone’s misery if I do not like that person, or if my mind thinks they “deserve” it. I also noticed that if Person A is happy because Person B is unhappy, and I like Person B, then I am irritated with Person A for being happy for Person B’s misery. Oh, the games this mind plays! I am laughing to myself while writing this!
So.. here’s an idea!.. what if no one was liked or disliked? What if no one was categorized? What if everyone was treated like a tree? (I am referring to the following words)
When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don…’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.
– Ram Dass