By Ma Ananda Sanghavasini, Meditation Facilitator & Intuitive Life Coach at The Divine Mine.
Many times people come to the store anxious and stressed, asking for something to protect themselves from negativity. Negativity from co-workers, family members and even friends. Often we are looking for something or someone to protect us from the negative forces seemingly ‘outside’ of ourselves. However, many spiritual teachings point to the fact that “we are all one”. How can we reconcile these two opposite ideas? I came across a refreshing teaching years ago in my studies with spiritual teacher Eric Dowsett from Australia when I was taking a workshop on energetic clearing with him. Somebody asked how we could protect ourselves from negativity when we were doing energetic clearing. Eric’s answer to that question totally changed my view and even the way I live my life today. He stated that: “if we are all one, why do we want to protect ourselves from ourselves?” If we can see that through this sense of oneness life’s experiences and people are a direct mirror that reflects our inner world, we can be free from victimhood. This simple statement was incredibly empowering for me.
I heard this same idea many times in different forms after this from various teachers; Buddha’s teachings, Byron Katie, Wayne Dyer, Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle, Esther & Jerry Hicks, Adyashanti and my own guru Paramahamsa Nithyananda with whom I have had the privelage to spend many months in person with at his ashram in India. Even in quantum physics it is confirmed that we are the observer of our reality – that the way particles behave depends on the observer. What if we (the reference of the sense of self being our Atman, Soul, True Self or Consciousness) are the observers of our reality? That, whether we like it or not, want it or not, are aware of it or not, we do create our reality? That everybody is showing us a part of ourselves that we would have missed if it was not for the other person or situation?
To look at ourselves this way takes a tremendous amount of courage as there will be nothing to hide, nobody to blame and nowhere to run to anymore. Where ever we go; there we are.
To come back to the first part of this article in terms of looking for protection from ‘outside’ forces and people: where will we turn to in an attempt to protect ourselves from the violence of our own thoughts? What crystal will help us protect ourselves from ourselves – meaning our own minds? In Buddhist teachings there are three ways to find refuge described: in Buddha (not referring to the person but to our true, Buddhist nature), Dharma (teachings) and Sangha (community). Through this way of living, when we face struggles in our life, we can have a meditation practice (Buddha), fall back on the spiritual teachings to learn to understand the process (Dharma) and reach out to our friends and supportive network (Sangha).
How can we develop a good, affective meditation practice? To me, still, mindfulness meditation is the key. When we become aware of our inner world while interacting with the ‘outer world’, we experience our liberation. We become our own protection. We become our own best friend, through which naturally the Art of Forgiveness will spring. We might start to feel compassion for ourselves and others and realize we are all in the same boat. We are sort of like different fingers on the same hand. We experience a sense of individuality but yet deep down we spring from the same source.
To me, Forgiveness is not something we can just do. It is who we are. When we practice mindfulness, we automatically relax into this state. First we need to forgive ourselves, be gentle with ourselves and know that we are always doing our best. Let us keep remembering this on our journey.
Important note: One does not have to be confirmed to Buddhism in order to live the Buddhist teachings and apply them practically. Buddha is not a person, it is a state of being – it is who we are.