Friday, October 12, 2007

Awareness in Taking Bath

Most of the times in life, we are doing something, and thinking something.
A simple example is when we take bath, our minds are very rarely focused on the act of taking bath. We are thinking about the school, work, kids, what to eat for breakfast, thinking about time crunch in catching the bus, people at work, deadlines, so and so forth. A million thoughts pass by in the span of 5-10 minutes.
I hardly know any one who takes time to actually pay attention to the bath, the way we scrub, clean and massage our own body. Act of Taking bath is a great and simple exercise in itself. It stimulates and touches various nerve centers, massages them, increases blood circulation and rejuvenates the cells in different parts of the body.
But how many of us pay attention to the actual process of such great massaging, giving time and focus to the cleaning aspect.

Essence of Yoga and Meditation is to bring the Thought and Action together. The meaning of “Yoga” is “Union”.
The purpose of all the postures and silencing mind is, Union of thought and action in everything we do.
They are tools that help us in getting to this state of Union, every moment of our existence.

People these days practice Yoga and Meditation for an hour in the day and then keep running in life creating chaos 23 hours (even in sleep in form of dreams).
The goal is to synchronize the thought and action. Yoga and Meditation are tools that help us get there. To be aware of the thoughts and actions and consolidating them is the ultimate state we all need to achieve. In a scientific perspective, What are Yoga and Meditation really doing? They are in some ways, slowing down our thought process and body movements(actions).
While doing Yoga, one is asked to be aware of every movement, every part of the body and pay attention and stay there in that posture or position and be in it.
In Meditation, we are trying to pay attention to breath or heart beat or light and try to stay focused on that. This brings a eliminating multitude of thoughts that pull mind in many directions.

Thus one need not just practice Yoga and meditation for an hour and then keep getting anxious and worried during the day.

Have you seen Kids playing or doing things any time? They are very focused in everything they do. They pay all the attention to the Act.

Have you ever asked a kid to recite something you said? They take a few seconds to actually repeat the same.
Because, kids bring all their awareness to the moment and then repeat the word. They do not mechanically repeat the word, but take time to pay all the attention to absorb the thought and put into action. And we grown ups actually look at them and get anxious and repeat the same 10 times before the kid says it. It is the Ego of the adult that creates that anxiety and also the feeling that they are superior to kids. Kids learn everything moment by moment with full awareness. But adults, disturb that subtle state by enforcing their ways and methods of looking at the world and brand kids as fast learners, slow learners and judge them.

There is an incident that happened in Buddha’s life.

Buddha is walking on the road. A fly sits on his head, and he goes on talking with Ananda, his disciple, and mechanically moves his hand and the fly goes away. Then he stops, suddenly—because he has done that movement of the hand without awareness. And to him that is the only wrong thing in life—to do anything without awareness, even moving your hand, although you have not harmed anybody.

So he stands and again takes his hand through the same posture of waving away the fly—although there is no fly any more. Ananda is just surprised at what he is doing, and he says, "The fly you have brushed away from your face long before. What are you doing now? There is no fly."

Buddha said, "What I am doing now is…that time I moved my hand mechanically. It was a mistake. Now I am doing it as I should have done, just to teach me a lesson so that never again anything like this happens. Now I am moving my hand with full awareness. The fly is not the point. The point is, whether in my hand there is awareness and grace and love and compassion, or not. Now it is right. It should have been this way."

At least from now on pay attention to the act of taking bath and that is a good start for a life style change, To bring Awareness. Attain the Union of thought and action for at least 10minutes in a day and slowly build upon it.
Observe the progress you make, see how long you are able to do that. Be aware of the actions that you are performing and if they are in harmony with the thought.
That is a great start.