On Dec 24 2007-Jan 1 2008, I attended an eight-day meditation program called Meditasi Mengenal Diri (MMD, loosely translated to Meditation to know oneself), facilitated by Hudoyo Hupudio in Mendut monastery, Central Java.
MMD aims to free oneself from attachment. The rules are simple. The only ‘task’ we have is to be aware. To be aware of all our thoughts and actions. The only thing requested from us is not to bother anybody else. Simple, but not easy.
My days were full of ups and downs, full of various ridiculous thoughts to physical sensations, such as sore back and itches. But I was determined to discipline myself and not to give in to the sensation, thoughts and boredom.
Time flew, relatively speaking. I started to enjoy the meditation sessions. This so called enjoyment in itself is a golden trap. Mr. Hupudio reminded me to be careful, “Be aware that you are enjoying the meditation, until the time you feel neutral about it.” How cunning our brain is.
In the last day, the head of the monastery joined us. He reminded us to always be aware of and to pay attention to every move, every second of our life, including the times when we feel bored or frustrated why we cannot meditate.
Our mind is used to searching, demanding, and getting. It is difficult for the mind to give and let go. Even when we think we do good deeds, the mind keep thinking “What do I get?” From getting recognition from other people, good karma, prosperity and peace, to heaven. The mind still demands something in return.
Or subtler still, we often think “I give so that I feel fulfilled.” There is still hopes. The mind is having difficulties in letting go.
Even when we meditate, we often hope for ‘progress’. So when we feel at peace, we are happy that we feel at peace. We feel we are progressing. There is still expectation.
The habit of searching, demanding and hoping are the result for ego. The mind constantly demands. This creates unease, restlessness and dissatisfaction.
To overcome this, we only need to pay attention, to be aware. The method is so simple. Each of us has the capability to attend to our mind and physical condition.
Our thoughts, desires and plans in the everyday life should be filtered. Is it a good thought? Will it hurt us, other people, or other being? Is it feasible or am I being too ambitious, pushing it too far, or wanting too much? All has its own portion. If it is good, then we need to be consistent, should be loyal in executing the plan.
Our everyday life is our meditation. So let this kind of attention be present, always. Attend to all our physical and mind movement, to the mind that keeps demanding all things to everybody, including to self, other people, and God.