What are the most important questions in life? (And for some possible answers – see below.)
I returned recently from a visit to Cuernavaca, near Mexico City. My friends there had invited me to come and give some teaching about meditation and how that daily practice can transform life and give access to true fulfillment.
This was in the very recent aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in that area. My first day with them was devoted to supporting their ongoing service to the people of Jojutla, a community that experienced some of the worst destruction and loss. It was a sobering day of reaching very deep into the well of compassion, again and again. The work of healing and rebuilding there continues every day.
We also had a week of wonderful teaching and discussions. I met many new friends and was privileged to formally teach Neelakantha Meditation to over 30 individuals and some whole families. Now they are a group of dedicated meditators. My ongoing support of them to refine and perfect their practices continues as part of my commitment.
I received a question today from one lady about her new meditation practice. It is a very universal question so I shared my answer with the whole group, and now with you. (While keeping her identity private of course.)
Her question (edited) was: “ I been doing my meditations as you told us, twice a day for 20 minutes, but I still have doubts about the practice and exactly how it is working. I really don’t yet feel a strong assurance with how to meditate, and am not sure that I am practicing correctly? Thank you for your time.”
And my response was:
“Thank you for writing with your question. It is quite common and normal to have some doubts initially about the practice and whether you are doing it correctly.
That is because it is quite delicate in the beginning weeks. When I return there next time we will review the instructions together. It is so natural and effortless to practice in this way. (Remember that you also have support resources from Blue Throat Yoga included with your personal instruction.)
I can assure you that for 95% of persons who are unsure or have doubts, actually they have it and are practicing perfectly. It will progressively reveal its gifts in supporting your life. So you should trust it for now and we will recheck and confirm this when I return there for teaching in early 2018.
Doubts are good and normal to have. You should accept that your doubts must be taken into your meditation. For it is only there that the practice itself (or the Goddess of Consciousness as we often call it) will take your doubts and dissolve them into the certainty of your own knowingness. Take your doubts within and release them into your meditation. And before long you will likely be filled with the certainty of how your meditation is teaching you, sustaining your, uplifting you!
Sincere and caring regards, – Paul”
This got me thinking about the topic: What are the most important questions in life? What is so fundamental that everything else, all forms of knowledge and understanding, pivot on the answers? (See also the previous post on the Mirror of the Mind.)
Johnny Depp said in the title role of the movie Don Juan de Marco: “There are only four questions of value in life: What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? The answer to each of these is the same: Only love.”
The Buddha is said to have asked (Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness) “Is any value in life able to retain its meaning even in the face of our mortality? What has meaning that does not wither, even beyond death?”
For theoretical physicists, exploring the deepest nature of the physical universe, perhaps one ultimate question is: “Why is there something, and not nothing in the universe?”
And in biology, the science of life itself: “What is the essential nature of the life-force itself? How is it a being can be alive and not inert?”
And in the domain of neuro-biology and neural-brain science (and artificial-intelligence and quantum physics for that matter): “What is the nature of conscious awareness? How can self-aware consciousness actually arise from the activities within the brain?
These are wonderful questions to study and to contemplate deeply. Questions that only human sentient beings could even consider.
For the meditation masters of Kashmir-Shiva Yoga of 1,000 years ago they found their own answers within their practices. And the Heart of it is expressed in the first Śhiva Sutra, “Caitanyam-Atmā”. “Consciousness is the Self.”
Consciousness itself, free and independent, is the foundational reality principle underlying all life and all existence. Consciousness is the Self. It is the Self of all, and of our own individual, imperishable and splendorous Self.
That is what we do come to know through deep meditation. That is our practice: the immersion within our own Consciousness by means of our own Consciousness. It is there that all doubts are banished and replaced with the joyous, bliss-saturated certainty of ultimacy.
To invite you forward in exploring the questions above, consider that this ultimate principle of Consciousness is said to have 3 primary aspects: “Sat-Cit-Ānanda”.
“Sat” refers to the “truth” of actual existence. Consciousness actually exists, and therefore the entire world exists. It is not an illusion!
“Cit” (pronounced chit) refers to conscious awareness. It is aware. It knows it is aware, it is self-referential in its awareness, just as we are. Awareness does not arise from the brain. The body-brain-mind and nature all arise within and of Consciousness.
“Ānanda” is the complete Bliss-Essence character of the Absolute. This is synonymous with Love in all of its forms. Supreme unconditional Love.