Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Three Life Lessons that I Learned

Here are three life lessons that I learned at a vipassana meditation retreat in 2008:

1. All in life is interconnected.
We live in an incredible web of connectedness. Everyone and everything exist in relation to each aspect of their individual life and each tier of collective life:
  • Family and generational
  • Social and community
  • National and global
  • Environment
An imbalance in any one aspect of life has the potential to impact other aspects. One tier has the potential to impact other tiers. Think of it as the ripple effect. The impact of your thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors has far-reaching consequences. The take-away message for me here was: Be aware of your thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors. 

Understanding your role in the Universe and living with that responsibility helps you assess life's choices in regard to its impact on the Universe.

2. Nothing lasts.

Impermanence characterizes life. Every living thing is subject to birth, growth, and prosperity, followed by decay and eventual death. While this might make intellectual sense, it's spiritual essence is missed by many, prompting us to embrace negativities, firmly hold on to beliefs and memories that no longer serve us, and engage in mindless, emotion-triggered reactions. The take-away message for me here was: Practice detachment and learn to let go.

The awareness that arises from consciously letting go of past resentment, limitations, beliefs, and preconceptions helps you fulfill the highest expression of who you are as a human being.

3. We are not alone.

In the Indian culture, the popular "Namaste" salutation -- the coming together of the hands, the closing of the eyes, the bowing of the head, and the uttering of the word namaste -- is actually an affirmation of one another's divinity and humanity. Unfortunately, because humans function primarily on an egoic level, our disparities tend to supplant our commonalities. The result is stress, strife, struggle, and suffering. The take-away message for me here was: The significance of human connectivity is our sameness.

Meditation in general and vipassana meditation in particular is the key to help transcend the ego, lift the habitual veil of blindness, and engender universal love and compassion.

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