Summary: Sathi talks about how our mind/body changes during meditation. He expands on the question of feeling heavy and looks at how people try to be “perfect” and how meditators can take a different approach through mindfulness. He closes with some guides on helping ourself as well as others build self confidence.
Any questions or suggestions for discussion today?[Meditator] Is it normal to feel so heavy? [Sathi] So, is it your entire body? Yes, that is very normal. Sometimes you feel heavy. Sometimes you feel light. What is happening? There are changes happening in your body and mind.
First, your body is settling. But, this recognition is happening in your mind. Your mind is thinking, “Okay, I feel tired.” Or, “I feel relaxed.” Or, “I feel heavy” or light. But that change of the body is interpreted, translated by your mind.
Then you mind thinks that is what is happening. The good news is, you feel something different at the start of the meditation. The most important thing for the meditator, especially if you are a beginning, you may think, “Oh, am I doing this right?” Or, “Am I supposed to feel this?” Especially at the retreats, after two or three days, some people start to cry. They think that something is wrong because they are crying. They don’t know the reason why this is happening. Some people feel a lot of laughter. They think something is wrong. No. That is the reaction that comes from the body and mind after you happen to experience something that you are not used to.
As a meditator, when you happen to notice something different, let it go. Don’t give it a lot of power. Just let it go. So, I hope I answered your question.[meditator] I think that is a new sound of the water, a new addition. [Referring to the fountain running in the background.] [Sathi] Rain or [laughing] that’s inside rain. Controlled rain. Since you don’t have any other questions…. along with that question I would like to talk about the background of this type of question and feelings. We have expectations of ourselves.
The expectation is “I want to be perfect.” That comes from our childhood training. If you are raised as a man or woman then you have all the requirements. Okay, this is what a perfect man looks like. This is how a perfect woman looks like. Or, this is how a perfect worker looks like. Then we try to meet those expectations. Not only the outside expectations You are thinking, “This is my expectation of becoming or being myself.” And there are other expectations. Perfect student. And you always have a war between yourself and the student you are thinking of. You are having a war with yourself and the householder that you are thinking of, either wife or husband or partner, whatever. Then you have a war between yourself and the “perfect” citizen. Then we have this struggle between myself and that person [our mind is imagining]. We are trying to reach into that person.
But, the funny thing is, it doesn’t matter no matter how much you reach for that person, that person is going away from you. You keep reaching. It doesn’t matter if you are reaching to become a perfect citizen, spouse, or student. It doesn’t matter. You feel, “It’s not enough.”
It is the same story with the meditator. “I’m not enough.” Most of the time there are two things that happen. These two come from ego. We don’t see it. Either you will find the answer thinking, “Okay, I’m perfect.” If somebody points out something, you are not going to hear that. “Don’t come to tell me…. I’m perfect.” Then, you want others to accept it. When you have somebody who challenges this idea, you will see this person as an enemy. That’s one way of reacting. The second way of reacting comes from the negative side of your ego. As that kind of person you say, “I’m not enough.” And, you’ll keep beating yourself [up]. If somebody tells you, “No, no, no, you are doing wonderful. You are perfect and you look good You are perfect.” You think that person is lying trying to make you happy. You are having a difficult time trying to accept it.
Technical terms would be having an inferiority complex or having a superiority complex. You are thinking your are superior or inferior of who you are. Now this is the ordinary way of thinking. The ordinary way of behaving. This is subject to meditators too. Anybody. And, you can see, in some areas of your life, you have a superior complex and in other areas of your life you think you are inferior. The meditator is a gentle person. You are being gentle with yourself. Honest and gentle. As an honest person as a meditator, as a mindful person, you are going to recognize “Oh, this is what is happening with me.” Just think, you are very good at something. As an example, you may think you are a good driver. All the sudden you start having an accident one day. That doesn’t mean you are not a good driver. That doesn’t mean you are free from all mistakes. Maybe it was your mistake. Maybe you were distracted by something. What will we do most of the time? You will start to blame yourself. Or, you’ll blame somebody else.
Can we do this without blaming anybody? Can we recognize what has happened. “Yes, I was wrong.” or, “Yes, that person was wrong.” But, can you find out now, “What can I do?” instead of beating yourself more and more. Can you ask yourself, “What is the best I can do now?” You have somebody that has done something wrong in their life.
There are a lot of accidents happening in our life. You happen to break a glass. Look at the language: “I broke the glass.” or “He broke the glass.” But, what is the real thing that has happened? It broke. Because nobody is intentionally breaking the glass. Nobody is intentionally having an accident.
But, we are having a difficult time accepting this. But, if you are really friendly to yourself you will say, “Oh, that was broken by myself.” But when it happens by your spouse you say, “Oh, he or she broke it. How come? This was very important to me. This was given by my grandfather.” “I know you did not like it anyway.” So, this is how you are adding to the story. “And I knew when you did this, you did it intentionally.” All of these things are powering to prove your thinking is right.
But, as a meditator, you are cultivating the mindfulness to see exactly what is happening. And, not to promote your ego in either way. But, whenever you happen to recognize it. What would you do. Again, don’t say, “I’m bad.” “That is why I’m doing this. I’m weak. I’m not good enough.” “That is why I keep on doing this.” You can be your worst enemy for yourself. If you become or happen to be your enemy you will not see any light come out of yourself. Because you will not look, even though others see the light, you will not bring yourself to see it. You will not bring yourself into the light. Because you are thinking, “No, this is my place. You do not understand me.” “You don’t understand my feeling. You are not listening to me. You are not seeing me. I’m not worthy enough.” That’s very equal to the person who is on the top of the ego. Superiority. Both makes us blind.
Now this mindfulness is allowing us not to be a blind person. If you see you are weak on certain things, you recognize and say, “I’m weak on this. Is there anything I can do? Is there anything I can do to help myself?” Train.
The wonderful thing for meditator is that you will know that you will never give up on yourself. Or, you will never give up on things around you. You will never give up on something you want to do. You will find ways. You will find a way to become the person you want to be. You’ll find ways to do the things you really want to do. By recognizing the obstacles. By finding ways to overcome those obstacles. Those challenges. And learning how to face these challenges happily. Here is an example, “How can I become a good meditator?” “How can I develop my posture?” If you are a person who says, “I can’t even sit down.” Then, you are not even trying. (Now, this is a different case for someone who has a physical challenge. If your body is not capable, then don’t push yourself too hard.) But, you have to find, is it your body or your mind that is stopping you from doing something.
Often people who look young and physically well come to meditation the first time, they will say, “Oh, I don’t know how to sit on the cushion. Can I sit down on the chair?” That is the time that I am rude. [laughing] Saying, “No, no, you have to sit on the cushion!” [laughing] I know why some people give me a bad look. “Oh, Sathi is bad!”
Why, what is behind it? Our mind. Your mind is stopping you from doing something you can do. It is planting the doubts. Self doubt. So the meditator is taking a risk sometimes. You are trying. You are pushing yourself. Not only with yourself but with others. Encouraging them by knowing you can move yourself from this point to that point by training.
We came to this world as a child. At that time we could not run or walk But, what has happened to us? Our parents, our guardians, whoever has helped us to train ourself, we learned how to walk. We learned how to run. It is not all about them. It is about you too. You tried and you trusted and you built your confidence.
Remember the first time you learned how to ride a bike. Speaking of myself, still I can’t ice skate. Because I haven’t trained myself. Yes, I’m willing to. But, you are done training and afterwards, what happens? You are doing it without even thinking. If you happen to be a person who is doubting yourself, thinking, “No, no I can’t do it now. I haven’t done it before.” Then, that doubt will stop you from the person who you can become. And, imagine, there are so many things we stop ourselves from. We stop ourselves because of our own self doubt. Even sometimes, over-trusting ourselves, causing damage and accidents.
As a meditator, we have to bring mindfulness to see this reality. If you think or if you recognize, “Oh, this is my doubt stopping me.” Again, don’t push yourself too hard by proving you don’t have doubt. You must see this doubt clearly and understand what you can do and how can I help myself step-by-step. This is where you need some guidance. Teachers or somebody who is experienced and has done this before. Seek their advice. Help yourself. That is how you can bring yourself up by overcoming these weaknesses. That is how you can bring self-confidence.
Building self-confidence is the answer. It is the way you can remove those obstacles that come from ego. Bring mindfulness. Cultivate mindfulness to recognize it. Don’t let it stop you from being who you can become.
Any thoughts or any questions? Suggestions? Experiences?[Meditator] I understand about the superiority and inferiority and not on purpose. But, what if someone else is doing something on purpose An example is [inaudible] a crowd on purpose. You don’t look at the reason? [inaudible] [Sathi] Thank you very much for the question. Yes. Now, as a meditator we discussed how to do this for ourself. But, we are not alone. In life we have family, friends. We don’t want to see that weakness in them. How can we help them? Our key point is confidence. How can we help them to gain self-confidence?
There are a few things we can do. Either we can help them by showing what they have done in the past. By finding something similar. Actually parents and grandparents do that with the children all the time. “You remember that you did this in the past. Not that you could do it you can do this also.” Finding an example from them and then pointing out, helping them to re-boost their confidence.
If you cannot find something from their own experience, then you can find some example from your own life. “Yes, I’m just like you.” “I was having the same trouble. The same challenge.” Just think about today people who have a challenge such as alcohol or something like that, they go in they find a counselor or therapist who has had the same challenge. Why? if that person can overcome the same challenge then, that person can help me. By showing your challenge, “When I had this challenge, this is how I overcame this.” Then, you are being an example.
Number one, finding an example from their own experience to [build confidence] and number two, being an example.
If you can find something from yourself or that person, then, as a third option you can find someone else. “You know I have a heard that this person, when this person was going through this challenge, this is how they helped themselves.” Finding help from outside of you. But, keep up the confidence.
Now, remember, that person really wants you to accept it and give up. I would not do it. I would not support giving up. Because as a Noble Friend, you job is not supporting someone to give up. And showing them that everyone has potential.
I think I have shared this before and some of you may remember. A long time ago, about 30 years ago (now you can see how old I am, right?) I happened to visit a friend’s sister who was hospitalized due to bone cancer. When I visited this friend’s sister she happened to have a leg removed. I was shocked to see this because just a week before I saw her with both legs. But, now, one leg was gone. At that time I was not aware of any answer for this. All those make up [prosthetic] legs or anything. At that time I wasn’t aware of these options.
But, when I was visiting this girl, I was trying to bring a smile to my face because it was sad. But, most of the time I know that people reflect how good they are by seeing other people’s face. And if you visitors look sad they are showing how bad your are. Or, if visitors are happy they are showing how good you are. This is a good thing to think about when visiting someone in the hospital. Don’t bring your sad face. Even though you are sad, be happy. Because that reflects and telling, without words, how good or bad they are.
I was trying my best to do this. And she was saying, “I knew how to live with two legs. But, now I’m going to learn how to live with one leg.” It was so positive. I was shocked hearing it. “I will learn how with only one leg.” Just think, life challenges are coming. Always take the opportunity to approach things in a positive way. Yes, it is a challenge. It is not all about your life. So, I saw the confidence. “I can do it.”
So, thank you for asking that question. [laughing] Okay, since everybody is thinking, maybe we can have a mindful chat and talk further with tea. Thank you very much for being here today.
Recorded on July 20, 2019 at the Mediation Center in Chaska, Minnesota.
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