By Myra Lewin
A client recently came to me wanting to learn how to meditate. I flew to his home in Hong Kong to spend a week with him and his family. However, our first meeting together did not involve sitting down on his meditation cushion. Instead, I began by teaching his family about Ayurvedic cooking.
My client was seeking meditation to relieve the stress of his day. He wanted a greater connection to his higher self and for his mind to soften. I shared with him that the connection and softening of the mind is aided by a holistic practice that includes an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. This is the purpose of Ayurveda -- it is a way of living that promotes greater consciousness. When my client experienced the tools of Yoga and Ayurveda together, incredible results followed for everyone in his home.
The purpose of meditation
Meditation is one of the most powerful practices of Yoga, and it is prescribed in Ayurveda for a range of physical and mental disturbances. The immediate effects of this practice are great, but the real reason that meditation offers such powerful healing is that it allows us to come into contact with our body and mind so that we can remember that we are more than a body or mind.
Meditation brings us along the journey of remembering that we are eternal spirit. Experiencing this is the first step toward moksha, or liberation.
What is moksha?
Moksha is often talked about as freedom from the cycles of death and rebirth. This interpretation says that you reach moksha when you have cleared all your karmas and stepped out of the world to return to pure spirit. But there is another interpretation, one that is more dynamic: Moksha is liberation in this life. By mastering our body and mind and remembering our divine nature, we create heaven on earth each day.
Moksha comes when your mind is free from clutter, what we call samskara, or impressions that create habits of thinking and attachments. This clutter is such a part of your life that you may not realize that it is there. Some of it is useful, but much of it is not. For instance, you have samskara about how to pick up an object based on your experience learning this as a child. This allows you to function in life. But you also have samskara that clouds your view of life.
For instance, think of a time when you met someone who reminded you of a person from your past who had hurt you. Triggered by the similarity, you likely closed off your opportunity to connect with this new person (and perhaps heal the residual pain). By basing your present experiences upon your past, you create attachment instead of freedom.
With moksha comes the ability to see the world the way a child does. Every experience is fresh, clear and filled with love. You may have gotten glimpses of this -- perhaps during meditation, or maybe after you provided service to a friend. When your mind functions at this higher level, your body follows suit. Life moves along with ease because you are not clouding your present experience with the past.
Moksha in the body
Though moksha is often talked about as being free of the body, it is an experience that is only possible when you come fully into your body. In your body, you get to fully experience life and the infinite possibilities that exist here.
Being in your body comes from going within on a moment-to-moment basis. While the negative experiences in life often send you out of your body, these negative experiences exist as an opportunity to grow and move along your path. When you slow down and pay attention, everything can fuel your personal and spiritual growth.
Hale Pule’s students get to experience a set of tools that we call Intuitive Energy Practice that are designed to clear out samskara and bring you more fully into your body (you can find a free audio download of our basic tools, and I recommend a healing if you would like assistance to release negative patterns and other samskara). One of the most basic tools we share is a grounding cord. By consciously creating a cord of energy from the base of your spine down into the center of the planet and setting the intention that it will be for release, you can experience being fully in your body. Try creating a grounding cord every morning or whenever you feel scattered and see how it feels.
Finding your path to moksha
Moksha is not a race or a destination. It is simply a path each of us is walking. But there is no need to find the path; you are already on it. Even in your darkest hours, you are still moving toward moksha. Remember yourself as eternal spirit and you will see that you truly never veer.
What I shared with my client in Hong Kong is this: The more you invest in revealing your true self, the more you will find glimpses of moksha. By eating in a balanced way, you step more into your body. By devoting a few minutes each day to meditation, you will calm your mind. Life will still continue to happen all around you, but you will move through it with a greater sense of ease and peace. Life will begin to even out and you’ll find a steady pace. Take small steps, one foot in front of the other, toward moksha and you will experience the limitless joy of liberation in life.