Blog

21 October 2014

More to the Buddha than meets the eye

|
0 Comment

There are many reasons why the image of the Buddha sitting calmly in meditation is one of the most visible icons in the world.

[groups_non_member group=”Registered”]We might initially think his appeal is simply because he represents one who is at peace with himself, the world and everything in it; something which we all long to be somewhere inside. But in truth there is more to the Buddha than meets the eye, for he is the one who, as he said himself, has “done what has to be done”, the one who found the courage to look deeply into the nature of things in search of a genuine and lasting solution.

If we are inclined to see the Buddha just as one who opted out, we don’t have to look far beneath the surface to see that the journey he went on was no walk in the park, but a rite of passage of the highest order. It was his journey that was the making of him as much as the point it led him to. His call to action is in fact far from an invitation to sit quietly and contemplate our navels, rather it reaches out to our longing for adventure, challenge and meaning. It points us towards the one place we might least expect to find it, and most resist looking, namely deep within ourselves when we find the courage to take responsibility and do as he did. To work out for ourselves the solution to our problems, instead of sitting back and waiting, hoping that everything is just going to go our way.

 

To read this entire blog please log in

[/groups_non_member]

[groups_member group=”Registered”]We might initially think his appeal is simply because he represents one who is at peace with himself, the world and everything in it; somewhere we all long to be somewhere inside. But in truth there is more to the Buddha than meets the eye, for he is the one who, as he said himself, has “done what has to be done”, the one who found the courage to look deeply into the nature of things in search of a genuine and lasting solution.

If we are inclined to see the Buddha just as one who opted out, we don’t have to look far beneath the surface to see that the journey he went on was no walk in the park, but a rite of passage of the highest order. It was his journey that was the making of him as much as the point it led him to. His call to action is in fact far from an invitation to sit quietly and contemplate our navels, rather it reaches out to our longing for adventure, challenge and meaning. It points us towards the one place we might least expect to find it, and most resist looking, namely deep within ourselves when we find the courage to take responsibility and do as he did. To work out for ourselves the solution to our problems, instead of sitting back and waiting, hoping that everything is just going to go our way.

If we were willing to put a fraction of the energy we apply to making things go our way, into understanding how they got to be the way they are, we might find that the thing that needs to change most is us. It’s all very well saying,”this has got to change, that has got to change”, while refusing to change ourselves.

The Buddha wasn’t challenged with a world in anything like the kind of peril that ours is in. Neither was he facing personal crisis or unbearable misfortune. He simply recognised how close to complacency he had become in this cushioned life of ease. He saw that no matter how much he was surrounded by comfort and convenience, there was no way that he could be sure to avoid suffering. He realised that by covering his world with carpet he had failed to learn to walk on rocky ground. When he walked out in search of the cessation of suffering that night twenty five centuries ago, he left behind the life of ease that had left him feeling numb in search of something more meaningful.

I dont think there has ever been a time where this gesture is more pertinent and meaningful at a time when in our increasing need for convenience, many of us experience stress with the slightest inconvenience, like when our mobile phone runs out of battery or our train doesn’t arrive on time. The fact that there are increasing numbers of people seeking psychological support because they are not coping is not just because the way we live our lives is unmanageable, but because in our convenient lives we may have lost the robustness that allows us to walk on even slightly uneven ground. So how would we cope with genuine adversity?

The Buddha didn’t meditate just so that he could relax. He achieved the highest levels of serenity and peace quite early on in his career as a yogi. The real journey that he went on was one that took him into the most challenging of places. And it was the willingness to go there, as much as what he found, that was the making of him.

If you are finding that the latest mindfulness app on your ps4 is no longer cutting the mustard perhaps you might like to find out what meditation is really all about.[/groups_member]

Leave a Reply