The ego also makes us believe that we are the dust on the mirror, that we could never be so beautiful as the radiant reflection beneath the surface. Yet how extraordinary to believe that we cannot be free when freedom is our true nature! When we begin to see that such self-centeredness does not lead to happiness and we yearn for something more genuine, when we realize that the pit of meaninglessness and emptiness inside is never truly satiated no matter how much we feed it, or when we have just had enough of chaos and suffering, then the longing for change arises.
This brings us to the importance of contemplation and meditation. Without such a practice of self-reflection, we are subject to the ego’s every whim and have no way of putting a brake on its demands. Meditation, on the other hand, gives us the space to see ourselves clearly and objectively, a place from which we can witness our own behavior and reduce the ego’s influence.
Meditation changes us. From being self-centered, we become other-centered, concerned about the welfare of all equally, rather than being focused on just ourselves. We become more acutely aware of how we affect the planet, how we treat each other and our world, and seek to become a positive presence rather than a negative one. As we find our own peace, we want to actively help others to also be at peace.
Science is now proving that meditation is a genuine way to generate peace by reducing potentially harmful emotions, such as fear and anger. We usually think of such mind states as a fixed part of life, but they do not need to be. Many negative emotions arise from the emphasis we place on success and achievement, which is a left-brain activity. During meditation, we engage the right side of the brain, which encourages us to communicate in a more positive and caring way.
To bring peace to those around us and to our world, we have to change from being concerned with our own needs to reaching out and helping each other. But for kindness and compassion to become a natural expression of who we are, we need tools—help, guidance, and support. Meditation in its many forms is the one tool we have found that does all of this. By getting to know ourselves, discovering that we are more than we thought we were, and by connecting more deeply with our essential self, we find that we have the resources, strength, and wisdom to not only make changes, but to become the change we so long for.
How do you integrate awareness into your life? Do comment below.