Synopses & Reviews
We are all imprisoned by our own projections of mind, and we all have the power to free ourselves. To gain this freedom, we must do three things. We need to know that we are imprisoned, we need to investigate how we entrap ourselves, and we need to discover how to overcome our habitual patterns. The circumstances of life do not have to destroy us or drag us into degraded realms. We all possess the means to live a rich, full, and good existence if we develop a kind and disciplined relationship with ourselves. We may have forgotten our fundamental openness and wakefulness. It is not necessary to ask why this is the case or who is to blame. The approach here is to learn how we can change from neurotic self-destructive behavior to sanity, gentleness, and goodness. The path to that relationship is supported by meditation, but meditation doesn't have to be heavy or ambitious. We don't have to cultivate the self-image of being spiritual people. It is better to be ordinary to avoid the fancy labels and to have some kind of perspective about the journey. The point is not to make ourselves into better or different people, but just to become comfortable with living in our skin. It is in learning how we do harm to ourselves and others that we become able to give up doing so. Cultivating decency and gentleness is always possible. And doing so makes a genuine life. It doesn't seem to matter where we start from. Illness, poverty, or despair may be the best starting place. Sometimes it is the person who is the most trapped or who suffers the greatest pain or the deepest sorrow who is best equipped to transcend the survival mentality and to live a fully awakened life.
We are all imprisoned by the projections of our minds, and we all have the power to free ourselves. To gain this freedom, we must do three things: know that we are imprisoned, investigate how we entrap ourselves, and discover how to overcome our habitual patterns. The discipline of the sitting practice of meditation can lead us through such a process.
Meditation doesn’t have to be heavy or ambitious. We don’t have to cultivate the self-image of being “spiritual” people. Rather, by forming a simple, direct, and honest relationship with ourselves and our world, we discover a rich and full path, no matter what our life situation. Cultivating decency and gentleness is always possible. And doing so makes a genuine life.
About the Author
Bill Karelis teaches meditation and conducts intensive programs and retreats in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.