Self. When describing self (the self, our self) it is prudent to have several definitions in mind. For the purpose of our meditation practices, we define self as our inner most conscious being that is beyond the description of thought and form, what many refer to as our “true self.” There is also the ego driven self. This self develops as we are exposed to societal norms, interpretations for what is a right or wrong and cultural influences. Often when we refer to ourselves we seek identification in the search, we define our self through what we do and don’t do, what we distinguish from right and wrong, how we look, how we dress, how we act, etc. We define ourselves through mind made conditioning and programing. This is the polar opposite of how we find ourselves through meditation. Some believe that when we define ourselves from ego we limit ourselves from reaching our full potential. It is easy to get caught up in other’s self-identification, it is easy to identify from what we think others expect from us. We often view our fellow humans by how they identify themselves.

A child sat in a classroom and with an open mind listening to the instructor; struggled to define themselves from the description set before them. The teacher said, “If you do this, people will think that. If you act like that people will think this. If you don’t do this, you can’t be that. And if you do this, you will be that.” The child sat there, slightly bewildered, for it was being taught to identify themselves through the lectures of this particular teacher. Just an hour before, another teacher was teaching the child to be this and to be that, so that people would see them this way and that way. Finally at the end of the day, in their last class the guru said, “Tread softly when others tell you to be this or to be that.” It’s okay to listen, hopefully they have your best interest in mind, but you must seek to identify your being (self) beyond the conditioning and the programing of your culture, your society, and those who have yet to find their true self.

A meditation:  Give this a try, here and there, when it comes to your mind, or not, when you’re identifying yourself, take a moment and observe whether your definition is the result of conditioning, programming, societal norms, etc. or if your identification is coming from a place of love, peace and joy. A place of presence, which neither holds nor seeks any judgement, prejudice, or identification created by the ego. An awareness of whether you speak from ego or from the conscious presence of your being, which exists beyond word, thought, and form.

It’s a new day.

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Inner peace may mean different things to different people. Some may believe that inner peace is different for all of us, which can also make defining inner peace a challenge. For many of us, the desire for inner peace can be clouded by definition or in our inability to possess the knowledge to find such a state of being. For myself, inner peace is a mental state of being not clouded by the repetitive conditioned programmed thinking of my mind. A state of being where my true conscious self is separate from the manipulation of my thought stream. Like too many people, I had a rough start. I was raised in the 1960s during a time where the line between discipline and abuse had not yet been drawn by society and where, in many homes, neglect and victimization was the norm. In too many arenas, it is still the same for many unfortunate children and young people today. As a result of the environment I was raised in, I spent most of my twenties in a state of mental anguish. At the age of 27 I came to the understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol was not the answer for dealing with a tortured mind, and though I was able to accomplish and attain many material things that the world had to offer, I wanted something more, inner peace. After being diagnosed with institutional grade PTSD and several sever forms of depression, I decided to take on the challenge of psychoanalytic therapy. For 13 years, I worked with therapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and medical doctors to address the disorders that were the result of my upbringing. I included personal studies of psychology and human behavior to add more knowledge in my pursuit of wellness. By the age of 40, as I had always done, I was sharing the knowledge I had gained and my life experience with others with similar situations to my own. Despite my efforts, I could still not separate from the mind of a manic depressive. I could not attain inner peace. My desire for inner peace led me to meditation. Meditation is a practice that separates us from the workings of the conditioned programmed mind and the endless stream of thought. After several months of mediation studies and practice, I began to feel the separation of my true self from the confines and mental torture of my own mind. At that moment a new, although difficult, journey had begun. I spent years of riding the roller-coaster of mental anguish and peace as I continued my struggle to mental freedom. Now, 18 years since my meditation studies commenced, I find myself in a state of conscious presence that allows me to live peacefully with a mind suffering from mental illness. My journey has included sharing my knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the mind with others to help them attain peace and joy as I have; aiding them in their quest to escape the suffering of the confines of their programmed conditioned minds. I have recently taken my teaching to a new level, carrying myself as a published writer, teaching mediation and sharing the knowledge of the ability for each and every one of us to achieve our natural state of being, which is peace, love and joy.

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