What gives meaning to life?
ROSALIND PEARMAIN shares her experience of what brings meaning, depth and purpose to everyday living.
Like so many precious projects on our Earth, in a local small town there exists a wonderful venture that helps young people who have been homeless and are having problems rebuilding their lives. I was invited to participate in a regular session of sharing some experience on what gives meaning to life. What to say?
I could talk about a heart-based meditation called Heartfulness, but what then? On reflection, I am realizing that what has been most important about meditating on the heart has been to steadily discover more ways to feel life and living.
Many people have the idea that meditation leads us into a rather dull state of calm and withdrawal or detachment. Cartoonists often depict meditators as zoning out and floating on a cloud. Suppose it is the very opposite!
The first time I noticed an increased feeling effect, was on my return from a visit to my first teacher in this Heartfulness approach – a man called Babuji. On the plane, I plugged in the most basic kind of earphones of the ’70s, and listened in rapture to the music playing. Today sound systems are marketed and sold like temples to music, the electronics endlessly refined and housed within the most exquisite wooden casings, like sculptural masterpieces. But at the end of the day, what good is the most perfect sound system if the person listening has inner distortion created by the turbulence of the stuff of everyday life?
The effect is to muffle and distort our inner ability to listen. It is difficult to be in a pure enough state to really feel and savor beautiful music. It is not easy to find the capacity to tune in, to expand an inner space to receive, to let the music flow directly and touch us deeply. Yet this is exactly what I found had changed as a result of meditating for a few days and receiving the help of my beloved teacher in cleaning my heart.
When we are moved or touched it can be as if our heart hurts or vibrates. The hardest aspect of being human is that we are faced with such deeply sad or overwhelmingly painful experiences at times. In the short term, we can close our hearts and withdraw from the risk of that pain being repeated. We can go numb or hard or distract ourselves or hide away and try and disappear. I am sure I learned to do all those things to some degree in my earlier life.
Listening to this extraordinary
we can know precisely and subtly
what is going on.
Everything that seems outside of us
in space and time can be felt
very precisely within our heart
as it affects and impacts us.
Today, it is the very echo of those very painful moments in my heart that helps me connect and resonate every day with other human beings and with life on this planet. A lot more space has been made through the cleaning process. But it is not really empty space – it is a space of resonance. It is like a rock wall of a cave that has been carved out by water and ice and heat and pressure so that it is worn away and smoothed down. Now I feel that the human heart is big enough to hold everything, and to hold it all in compassion and kindness so that it is more bear-able. It is a place of feeling to hold feeling, to allow it to mean more and more, and to stir us more and more deeply. This is the best source of inspiration and creation.
Everything can be felt more – the sky, clouds, trees, colors, light, seasons, forms, living systems, changes, the elements of water, air, earth and fire, children, the presence of loved ones, conversations and moving about all fill me with a very simple delight and enjoyment. That is, if I keep a daily sense of freshness and newness coming with the meditation practice. They can also be a source of much more subdued softness and comfort in bleaker times. It seems to be a way that the heart is tuned into Nature. There is a simple level of joy or ordinary relief in feeling connected with the world. The heart feels this even in dark times. We are more connected through suffering than anything else.
It is not here a matter of lists of ‘favorite things’ like the song in The Sound of Music. Instead, through meditation, our heart shows us that it is like a very extraordinary musical instrument, through which we attune to and amplify the sounds of everyday life. Daaji has described the heart as the center of all the spiritual centers and sub-centers in the human system and field of existence.
It seems then that all reflection and experience can be gathered in the heart and felt more and more deeply and widely. In deepening the resonance of any experience we feel more and more stirred, moved and inspired. It is a process of creativity in slow motion as life moves through our field of awareness. Through our heart center we feel its meaning and connection more and more like a song. This can keep reverberating on and on. It can go on being refined and understood, shared and expressed, in each moment. It is our quintessential source of intelligence through refined feeling.
Listening to this extraordinary feeling-heart instrument we can know precisely and subtly what is going on. Everything that seems outside of us in space and time can be felt very precisely within our heart as it affects and impacts us. It is as if the heart gathers the information from the different senses and distills them into a specific sound, a vibration that is moving and meaningful, connecting us to the universal Source of all.
In meditation, the heart feels what it receives from the Source and responds to new notes, new soundless music and infinite beauty from deeper dimensions and worlds… And so it goes on.
That is what gives meaning to life for me.
Article by ROSALIND PEARMAIN
May 27, 2021
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November 01, 2017