Remove Craving from Meditation

Remove Craving from your Meditation

By Desmond Yeoh

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

In his book, ‘Simply this Moment’, Ajahn Brahm, a well-known Buddhist Monk residing in Australia, shared his experience with meditation when he was a young monk. He said, “As a young monk, I always tried very hard to watch the breath. When I first came to Perth, I wasn’t as skilled as I am now with breath meditation: I would watch the breath for forty-five minutes with great difficulty; it was just too hard to keep the attention on the breath. But then I developed the ‘letting go’ meditation, saying to myself ‘just let go’. As soon as I did ‘letting go meditation’ the breath appeared very easily and I could watch it for the next half-hour or so if I wanted to. It really struck me that by trying to focus on the breath I had difficulty, but if I just let go and didn’t care what came up in my mind, the breath was right there. The breath was easy to hold in the mind’s eye and I was still. It showed me that it’s often hard to watch the breath if you try too much. When you are trying, that’s craving – craving to be or to do something – and that leads to suffering. You can’t get success in meditation that way”.

“When we’re letting go, contented, and silent, the breath arises within the silence, as if the breath is just there. We don’t have to force the mind onto it, we don’t have to control it, we don’t have to worry about where we are going to watch the breath – at the nose, at the stomach – we don’t have to worry about what we should do with the breath. The breath just comes by itself when it’s ready and we’re just sitting there watching it. The whole process of meditation is to try and do less and less. Just allow the mind to open up”.

Attachment or craving or desire is so much a part of our life that we often bring that habit into our meditation practices. When we meditate, we want to feel peaceful immediately. We want to be able to concentrate on the meditation object without wavering. We want to see beautiful visions. We want to develop spiritual powers. This habit brings tension into our meditation and becomes an obstacle. When we desire, we put our ego at the fore front. Our ego blocks us from going deeper within ourselves.

A person may not crave for wealth but he may crave for spiritual powers and experiences. That craving keeps him bound to his ego because he still needs the thought of separation to feel that he has achieved something. This is called Spiritual Ego.

When we meditate, we just allow ourselves to be happy with our state of mind, no matter how it is. If the mind is restless, let it be. We can use it as an opportunity to understand ourselves better. We can take it as an opportunity to see that we do not control our thoughts. Everything that is in our mind, that we take to be the ego, is conditioned into us by the external world. In the book, Ajahn Brahm shared this experience, “I remember once, on a meditation path in a monastery in Thailand. I was watching my thoughts and getting some separation from them. As I watched the thoughts without getting too involved in them, they appeared to me to be so stupid, because I could trace how every thought that came up was conditioned. They were all conditioned; I was just repeating what I had been taught in the past. There wasn’t even one original thought. The thoughts weren’t really coming from me. I could see the same words coming from my own biological father, or from people who had impressed me. I was just repeating the words like a parrot. When we see that with mindfulness, the inner conversation is seen for what it is, just the echoes of the past. We believe in something that has no substance, something that isn’t real and which has no truth to it. I just couldn’t believe in it anymore and then a wonderful thing happened. When I didn’t believe in the thinking, it just stopped and I had one of my most beautiful meditations”.

We give our mind all the time it needs to become peaceful and silent. When silence comes to us, see ‘silence’ as a good friend who has just dropped by to visit us. Allow it to stay as long as it likes. We want it stay for a long time but if it needs to move away for a while, let it do so. We know that it is a good friend and will soon be back again.

There is no such thing as a good or bad meditation. Our mind is the way it is due to the experiences it went through before we start our meditation practice. This is a form of karma. If we just got off a roller-coaster ride, we cannot expect our mind to become silent after sitting down in meditation for five minutes. We need to allow the karmic results to die down. We just need to move aside and let things be.

List of Articles

Related Articles: Siddhis-  Obstacle common to all Spiritual Seekers, Inner-Peace: The Guiding Light, Desire; the substance of the Three Bodies that Encage the Soul, To be at Peace, Let go of your Expectations

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