Intuition Through Meditation
A Dharma Teaching by Grandmaster JinBodhi
It is inevitable in life to meet a plethora of challenges, responsibilities
and commitments, and the stresses that accompany them.
How do we free ourselves from feeling restricted?
How do we experience the freedom of greater intuitive awareness?
We spend most of our waking moments working to earn a living. Besides dealing with stresses at work, we worry about our paychecks, opportunities of career advancement, and even the threat of being laid off. The long hours and great amount of energy spent at work often take a toll on us physically and mentally. For those who are married, besides the need to provide adequate financial support, we have to deal with various family-related issues such as the education of children, relationships between family members, and the connection with one’s spouse, all of which add to the already high stress levels.
Reality of Life
If we are able to adopt an elevated or enlightened perspective, all these issues cease being problems. However, for ordinary people, these challenges are like coils of rope, tying them physically and strangling them mentally, making it impossible to feel relaxed.
Like adults, children also face stresses. They are under pressure to excel academically, sustain relationships with peers, and chart their future course. These concerns may appear trivial to some adults, but the weight of the burdens on a child is as significant as that which is on an adult. At different ages and stages of life, there are different worries and adversities to handle. It is indeed tough to be a sentient being.
Movement Versus Tranquility
How can we be better equipped to deal with our anxieties and worries?
I was physically weak when I was a child. I searched for various ways and means to improve my health. Unlike other boys who were full of vitality and physically active, I engaged in quiet activities; I felt old. In an effort to be like a normal kid, I tried martial arts, long-distance running, ball games, and hiking.
However, compared to the host of physically exhausting activities I attempted, meditation practices I learned as a child had the best effect on me. It was during a period of rumination that I found solutions to both practical problems and mental barriers.
In Tibet, there are spiritual methods which trigger involuntary movements, leading to an integration of Heaven and human. On the surface, practitioners give the impression they are in an agitated state, to the point of losing their sense of self. They appear to be prancing around, chanting mantras or singing songs, but their minds and bodies are actually in complete repose, in a state of non-self, fully in sacred connection with Heaven and Earth.
Calmness for Clarity
You certainly remember your experience of getting an injection. The doctor advised you to take a deep breath and relax, as being tense could complicate the process.
Energy flows via our blood vessels and meridian channels. The movement is unobstructed and smooth when our state of mind is relaxed and our body at ease. The toxins accumulated in our body are akin to the sediment amassed in a water pipe over the years, obstructing the flow. When our body loosens up, energy flows freely and thus removes the contaminants, making us healthier. When you feel tired or stressed, sit down quietly, take a few deep breaths, and listen to a mantra, a chant or a relaxing piece of music. The soothing sounds will ease and comfort your body, boost your energy levels, and improve overall health.
The bliss of stillness plugs us in to higher consciousness. Orderly and wise thoughts arise as a result of quieting our chaotic minds. When our muddled mind becomes serene and composed, we see our problems in a clearer light, and have the ability to deal with them sensibly and methodically.
I’ve discovered many enigmas on my journey of meditation practice. There were two Japanese martial artists preparing for their final fight. Instead of spending 10 to 20 minutes before the match on physical warmup exercises, they sat or knelt quietly in their respective rooms, disallowing any disturbances. When at last they walked into the ring, they were as calm and strong as Mount Fuji.
Those who have some background in martial arts may ask, “What kind of skill is this? They should start fighting immediately and display their prowess!” Actually, the most advanced level of martial arts is to counter action with calmness. To prevent injury, we use our placid mind to sense our opponent’s feelings and thoughts in order to predict their actions.
During a fight, when one lunges in attack, the other dodges the move. Their actions seem to take place simultaneously, just like the Chinese “yin-yang fish”: As one “fish” swims upwards, the other moves downwards. The natural movements result from both parties reading the thoughts of the other. The highest level of countering action with calmness is to be able to adapt and apply the concept of quiet observation to different situations.
Adopting a calm, quiet state does not mean being slow to respond; instead, one is more astute. When we observe with calmness, we become sharper and more perceptive. Through meditation, we maintain a physically and mentally placid state which allows us to react quickly yet wisely when the need arises. When driving, we instinctively apply the brake without any need for conscious thought. The reaction comes naturally, as though human and car are fused as one. A person who is deeply composed does not need to consciously go through a thought process to make a decision. Instead, the intuition takes over.
A calm mind brings about wisdom and strength. We must first learn to be aware of our feelings, then to observe. Observing means to deeply perceive, which is to become intuitive and feel more keenly. In this way, our understanding of the world will be more profound and expansive.
The practice of meditation can enhance our ability to perceive our inner selves deeply. As meditation develops our intuition, or higher state of consciousness, we come to greater understanding of the physical and emotional realms, and of natural law. As and when we realize that there is something amiss with our mind, body or attitude, we have the ability to adjust our lifestyles and ways of thinking. When we comprehend the true meaning of meditation, we discover a broader path in life which allows us to expand wisdom and awareness, and understand our true selves.