From the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra: “The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlightened person. The former has one greatness; he remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.”
This sutra sounds very cryptic at first glance, but if we unravel the nectar behind this method, it gives us an insight into how we can be meditative and be in the world.
Marpa was a great Tibetan Tantra master. One day, one of his disciples asked him, “Please describe the state of enlightenment, how is it to be enlightened?” Marpa’s answer was very mysterious. He said, “I’m as miserable as before!” The student was completely dumbfounded! He said, “Well if you are as miserable as before, then why get enlightened?!” Marpa laughed and said, “The difference is, I can choose to be identified with my misery, or not.”
Often we think if we are enlightened, ‘I’m going to be very special, very superior, I’m not going to have all the problems that people have in their normal life. I will live almost in a different world, very detached and not really part of this earth’. This is the general idea that floats around about enlightenment. What Marpa is saying is much closer to the truth. Life goes on the same, we still go on working, loving, doing everything that we’ve always done. And yet there’s a different quality, there’s a detachment, we’re not lost in things. And we can choose – do I want to get identified with this or not? That choice is there. The unenlightened person has no choice, they are just lost in the chaos of life. These events will go on happening after enlightenment, but you can choose to be identified or not.
There are several ways to practise this:
- Imagine you are on a hill, looking down at the traffic of a city below. Without judgment, without preferring one thing to another, witness what is happening.
- Lying on your back in a meadow, watch the clouds passing by. Simply watch the clouds, without thinking – ‘That’s a great cloud, that’s a lousy cloud’ – just watch them pass through the sky.
- Go to a shopping centre. Witness the people shopping, moving around, doing their thing, and without judging, you can choose – to identify or not identify. Do you join in with the chaos, or witness it? Even when you are shopping yourself, fully in the experience, can you maintain a witness?
You can bring that witnessing consciousness into any aspect of life. Of course, it may get more challenging when bringing it into love and relating. And when those challenges come up, choose – do I want to play the game and be identified? Or do I want to witness and not be identified? The key is to remove the judgmental attitude – this is good, this is bad, and just accept whatever is. Whatever is, is good. Play with it!
It’s very good when you are going into these meditative experiments to keep a certain playfulness. You are the lab and you are also the scientist of that lab. You are the very experiment in consciousness. So learn to take it playfully, lightly, non-judgmentally, and really enjoy the whole process of discovery. It’s the greatest adventure on earth!
Enjoyed this meditation? Want to try more like it? Check out Sarita’s online Vigyan Bhairav Tantra club, or email Sidika, or see Sarita’s book, Divine Sexuality.