Holistic Living - The joy of letting go
by Life Positive
Naturally, I got undue attention and secretly planned on becoming the youngest Buddha ever. Today, 10 years later, I
am just beginning to understand what the path of meditation is.
Our human body is a mass of knots, remnants of problems and emotions that were buried while still alive. These negative emotions take the form of chronically tense muscles. In time, they become so chronic that the individual stops feeling them and corresponding parts of his body are completely missed by his consciousness.
These are some of the findings of bio-energetic, a form of psychotherapy that uses movement to release tensions and restore the body its natural freedom and spontaneity. Even meditation does the same work, but our modern-day tensions are so gross that merely sitting in silence may not be a good idea.
My mother followed the more traditional Buddhist meditation path. She braved depression, bouts of anger and a nervous breakdown before coming to where she is today—a simple, beautiful, joyous individual. During those emotionally intense years we had no idea of what was happening to her and often blamed her for her own situation. I wish she had known about catharsis and saved herself and her family many years of pain.
Catharsis lets out negative emotions in a safe environment before they overwhelm you. Unless this cleansing is done, no amount of religious discourses or moral vows will bring about any real change. Catharsis, by its very nature, is painful: the emotions were frozen in the first place because they were unacceptable and negative. And obviously they were repressed because the person was afraid of strong emotions.
A few months ago, I met a close friend of mine who is a magazine editor and has recently converted to meditation. He confessed that although meditation relaxed him, it made him feel depressed, and he did not know what to do about it. I have heard of others who were admonished when they confessed to such bouts of depression. In different ways, they were all told the same thing: they were not practicing correctly.
Actually, people seriously practicing any form of silent meditation are open to feelings of depression. There is natural withdrawal of energies from the world and a closing in of the doors.
To avoid sadness or melancholy, Osho insightfully employed catharsis in his dynamic meditation techniques—one of the finest bio-energetic exercises ever created. By connecting them to spirituality, Osho also made such exercises palatable to the Indian psyche that is generally uncomfortable with the idea of psychotherapy.
I was introduced to Osho by Swami Chaitanya Bharti, one of Osho's first batch of six sanyasins (monks). In Bharti's 10-day meditation camps, we learned to laugh and cry before we learned meditation. By adding a spiritual element to it, he didn't make us feel embarrassed about expressing our emotions unabashedly. From all the resulting catharsis came a natural self-awareness. The lightness and joy we all felt in those days prompted us to move further on the path of meditation and introduced us all to a new way of living.
Joy is the sense of living in tune with life. Happiness comes spontaneously as you begin to express and release your negative emotions. This is the attitude that all the saints have said we should to cultivate.
During the camp we had experimented with was to release energy blockages. Since then, I have personally experimented with other ways too.
Some time back, I actually spoke out my emotions to someone simply in order to release them from my mind. It was a terrifying moment. All my self-image was on the line. But I talked and talked my heart out. In the end, it didn't amount to more than a dozen sentences. But when it was through, I noticed that the dark clouds that had been buffeting me for days were no longer there. The sun of gratitude was shining brightly. And I am still grateful to the person who listened me through.
At 24, I am slowly making joy, not achievement, the basis of my life. I work, but I am not neurotic about efficiency. In challenging situations, a natural amount of tension is created but it quickly dissolves by the end of the day. I live near people who are walking the same path, so it is that much easier to keep moving and that much more inspiring to see others already living in this creative joy.
In the privacy of my room, I still make time everyday to do some catharsis, to dance and to meditate. This is not only gives me more energy to work each day but also keeps me focused so that I can work faster. One analogy that often comes to me is that earlier I was an auto-rickshaw—making much noise and achieving little. Today, I feel like a Mercedes—silent, efficient and very fast.
As these emotions get released I find my eyes are becoming clear and I can see other people more deeply. The way they hold themselves, the sound of their voices and the grace in their bodies tell me their true story even when their words don't.
And this is what I see: A joyous person is a religious person. To be a simple, warm, responsive human being is the first and last condition of spiritual life. And like meditation, this joy cannot be added to your life. When the pain is faced and dissolved, this joy springs up spontaneously. I don't doubt that there are rare souls who don't need to go through this phase at all. But for most of us, letting it out is a good way to begin going in.
Alif Surti, India
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