The effortlessness and ease of life is only fully experienced when you have ceased to exist as a person. When you no longer “have a life” but “are life”.
The keynote of life is a basic sense of well-being. By shifting attention away from anything that mutes this fundamental tone (e.g. your thoughts and feelings, all external stimuli), to the silence underneath, and to the surrounding space, this keynote becomes palpable and audible again.
Meditation is therefore an important aspect of the method I use – the first pillar. Not only does meditation have an undeniable impact on the quality of everyday life, your “functioning” and your health, but it also provides the most direct access to the keynote: silence.
However, you need more. To really be free, you must question everything that keeps you from this freedom. All thoughts, beliefs and concepts: ‘Is that really true?’
Meditation is the prelude to self-inquiry, the second pillar of the method on offer. This self-exploration or contemplation is used as a tool to hold everything you encounter against the light. This sets in motion a process of mental and physical cleansing.
Once you begin to perceive that all of your behaviors and habits, your opinions and beliefs create an artificial separation and a distance between you and everything else in existence, you will find your way back to fundamental connectedness and intimacy. Habits tend to be persistent – and unconscious. A limited time of meditation and contemplation each day will, in the end, therefore not be sufficient. It is essential to integrate awareness and meditation in all aspects of everyday life. This includes identifying more and more habits and, eventually, the inherent lack of freedom. The third pillar, tailor-made exercises, allows you to work on exactly this. These exercises are always a form of “meditation in action”: tailored to the subjects that you encounter at this point in your development. Gradually, you will stop investing in what is not your own and what is not natural. That alone is a source of well-being.
However, these pillars can only form a solid bedrock when they are built upon a stable foundation. This base is constituted by a supportive attitude which you get to adopt as the first step.
It begins with the development of loving understanding of the way you are right now, including all your so-called shortcomings and inadequacies. There are only very few people who do not burden themselves with self-blame, guilt, and sometimes even self-hatred, and who do not experience themselves as “generally not okay the way they are”. You will learn to accept and love yourself the way you are right now, and you will come to see your fundamental goodness. That alone is a big and liberating step. Such a move can only stem from the basic insight that, taking your entire background and history into account, you could not possibly be any different from how you are at this point in time.
This loving acceptance allows inner peace to grow and creates space for the second aspect of this attitude: non-violence. So far, your attempts to “improve yourself” have probably been some form of implicit or explicit violence: for example, ‘I have to let go’ or ‘I have to show compassion’. Such goals may appear positive and loving, but they are basically an act of violence if they serve as a standard that you impose on yourself. And it really is so simple: if letting go or compassion are actually part of what you naturally are, both will naturally arise as soon as anything that stands in their way is gone.
This attitude of non-violence involves, first of all, abandoning any attempt at “self-design”, any wish to create a better version of yourself, based on an idea of how you should feel, what you should or should not think, and how you are to behave.
Moreover, non-violence is an essential part of the process toward “an effortless life”. For example, it may be necessary for you to free yourself from beliefs that limit your functioning and prevent the unfolding of your true nature – but only through a non-violent path will this have a lasting effect: the growing awareness out of which you will live will make everything that is seen through as unreal or false gradually disappear, all by itself, not to come back again. Through the exercises, your consciousness will work like a sun that melts everything you are not. Fighting, fleeing and freezing are deep-rooted habits and instincts, and you will trade them all in, for sensing. In other words: you will stop escaping and really start feeling. A great bargain!
Through this attitude of non-violence, you will avoid falling back into old patterns of oppression or denying everything you do not like. It requires a great amount of willingness and determination to face everything and to recognize any form of escape or oppression. It sure needs courage, time and again. Thus, the ideal fundamental attitude is complete: loving, non-violent and courageous.