This entry is long. It described one more of those processes in which I discover an issue that is central and comes up again and again. I release the issue or dissolve it thoroughly by doing a process that you have seen before and today I call it a visual meditation.
Imagine yourself meditating. In a few minutes you calm down a little. And then a feeling comes up and you are uncomfortable with it. What happens now?
First let’s consider the feeling. It came up for a reason. You were trying to meditate and it came to stop you from doing it. Why? Because meditation connects you to who you really are, a being who does not have the limitations of the ego. The ego will have to give up its existence, if you go there, and it does not want to do it. You have trained it to protect itself in every way it can.
So it is the ego’s fear of being eliminated that appears in the different ways that it does. This disturbing feeling, arising in the meditation, is one of them. It is connected to a certain issue that is important for the ego. The ego has many issues. I don’t want you to feel negatively about the ego so I’ll say what the ego is, as I see it. It is the belief that you are a separate being who has to protect himself in order to be safe. This belief collects about itself numerous thought patterns of self-protection and preservation. That’s all it is.
So here a choice comes our way, as this issue comes up in the meditation and makes us feel uncomfortable. What do we choose to do: One possibility is to leave the ego intact, maybe change something unimportant in it, or not even this. The other possibility is to start eliminating the ego.
I have to disclose a secret. There is no escape from eventually eradicating the ego altogether. But we can postpone it. If we postpone, the same issue will come up for us again and again. The more we fight with it, the stronger it becomes. Then comes a time when it is so painful to have it that we must do something to ease the pain. It may even turn into an illness of the body. Many times it does just this.
Most people don’t know this, and therefore try their best to push the unpleasant experiences away.
There is something else that encourages us to dissolve the ego. It is a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness, when we do it. If we start working on dissolving the ego, we start feeling these two and more. We feel joy arising and we feel that we live purposefully. And when we push the unpleasant feeling away, in spite of the momentary relief, if we listen to how we feel when we do it, we find that we feel fear, tension, discomfort and other feelings like these.
So if we listen to ourselves and become more aware of what we feel, we take hold of a navigation mechanism that if we utilize, will take us all the way to freedom from our ego. The same issues that are afraid to be dissolved, are also those issues that cause us psychological suffering. For these issues we go to therapy. So therapy, when it helps us get rid of such issues, is also a spiritual practice.
In meditation there are two ways to release issues. The first is to frustrate them. The issues get their energy from the attention that we give them. We give them attention because we feel fear and think that they are important and indicate dangerous conditions. So if we just choose every time when we feel an issue arising to give our full attention not to the issues, but to the meditation, the issues don’t get our attention. They try harder and harder, but then they die from lack of energy, because we do not give them the energy of fear that sustains them. Do they die completely? Most probably not. They will come up again and again. But in this method we are focused on going straight to experience what we truly are, so we do not care about the issues. Once you experience who you are, it will become much easier for you to let go of all of these issues. If you choose this way you need to meditate continuously. If you take a break for a few days, the issues that were neglected but still have some presence, will get stronger again. If you lose your focus, the ego takes control again.
The second way is to give attention to the issues that arise, but not in the usual way of giving attention. Usually, as we said before, that attention that we give is fear. We feel afraid that the issue will be dangerous to us, so we try to stop it or run away from it into another thought or activity. The attention that is beneficial is acceptance. We look at the emotional phenomena without getting involved. We allow the feeling to arise and flourish fully in our attention and we pay close attention without thoughts. It is like the wonder that a child can feel when seeing something he has never seen before, and he does not have words for it yet. If we do that, the feeling will grow, show itself and dissolve into nothing, without any effort extended by us. This kind of watching without being involved in the usual way cannot be done when we are in the thinking mode. We have to switch to a deeper state, which we call meditation.
The visual meditation that follows is of the second kind. We enter a meditative state by becoming intuitive. And we become intuitive by following the personal sense of beauty as the only guide in the art making. The following seven drawings were done in this way. After they were made, I read them in ways that have been described before in this blog. In my case the reading becomes poems, just because I like poems but they could end up being short stories too. The main thing is that the reading is intuitive too. It is just a way to bring the awareness from a non-verbal state to a verbal state, so that we can see what is there and choose what we want to do.
After each drawing was done and read, I asked: And how is the feeling now? And made the next drawing.
This is fear
In the shape of
A glass ceiling
This you may not do, it says
Yes there is some light above
But you are not allowed to go there
Here is the memory of a stick
That goes generations back
The rain that falls
Comes from sticky memories too
It blurs the skies
And makes puddles
That don’t reflect the light
You have some space
Under the ceiling
That you can play in
But do not go up or else
And I will go on
The tree of mal intent
Grows in the bog
Its branches are like foul smells
Horrors and screams
Arise as fumes
And that’s the landscape of my youth
The tree is me
And the stench blocks the light.
The stench became a cloud of worry
There is a touch of comfort blue
In the softness of the sky
Some light comes through
There is a way
To the light?
The war of light and dark has started
The light is happy
The dark is so afraid
Light comes together
Dark separates itself to many
It falls and curses
And it knows
That it can be
By the wind
Just at the time
When it started to look hopeless
They started to dance
A crazy dance
The good, the bad, the roots, the foliage
The sky, the blood, the love,
Round and round they go
Faster and faster.
Until you cannot see a thing
As nothing wants to show itself
And it is quiet
It’s time to invite my true self now
And when it does
It is a crazy dance as well
But with a sense
I used to be a graphic designer and an illustrator. I became involved with the Chan Meditation Center and studied meditation and Buddhist knowledge with the late Master Sheng-yen from Taiwan. For twelve years I was in a process of deepening my meditation. I had many more experiences and insights and my life changed. After having illustrated more than 40 children’s books and writing two of them, I left this career too and went to New York University to study art therapy.