Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dropping Boundaries - Atma-Shatakam - by Adi Shankara (continued)

Apr 16 2009  

Note: This is continued from here

The meaning of this song is so much deeper than I had comprehended and getting deeper still.

My heartfelt thanks to Sri Adi Shankara.

I am going to make an attempt to put in words things that are beyond words. The meaning of the lines below cannot be understood with the literal words.. they come from an understanding that comes from letting go.. from un-understanding the ideas we have associated with the words.

Few weeks back during meditation, the words arose, "drop your boundaries". It felt like a balloon deflating and the air from inside the balloon, that was bound to the limited space of the walls of the balloon mingled and mixed with the air outside losing its definition, while the walls got smaller and smaller. The boundary became smaller while the contents held within the boundary grew boundless.

We are so defined by our self imposed boundaries. We have many labels and attach limitations to our being based on those labels. We really are limitless beings. We believe we have boundaries, and hence we remain bound to the limits of our imagination. It also came to me, by dropping our boundaries, it does not mean we drop who we physically are.. we don't physically stop being a mother, a father, a child, a sibling, an employee, an employer, a friend... we just drop the mind idea of what the limitations to that role are. We don't try to change the physical limitations based on a new set of imagination, rather we drop the imagination.

My idea of a mother is not the same as what someone in Africa thinks a mother should be (for that matter, it is not the same as what my neighbor may think a mother should be). I draw my boundaries of being a mother based on my "idea" of what a mother is. When I drop that boundary, I don't stop being a mother, I just let go the tightness that comes with my "mind idea" of a "mother". When I am a friend.. a limitless, boundless friend.. imagination of limitless and boundless keeps me bound.. but just a short samyama-like letting go.. limitless, boundless friend.. Ahhhh... yes! This part of letting go is the part I cannot put in words. It's a very subtle shift.. I read an email from a client, I feel a slight discomfort, I look within.. I identify myself with the role of an employee.. I drop or expand the boundary of what I believe my role as an employee is.. not go into mind stories and justification of what my role is.. it's a very vague boundary that I have of this role.. and I let it go. That's all.

With every moment or every meditation, we just bring up the concepts we have very vaguely and let them dissolve.. opening and allowing the boundaries to dissolve. This way, without physically trying to change the world and our way of living, we only let go the "ideas" we have of our world and us. Drop the boundary. Not expecting anything to happen... expecting is again getting the mind involved.. just expand/drop our boundary... and watch. Like Jason Mraz sings.. "open up your plans and damn you're free".. let go the ideas we have of us.. and we no longer are bound to "Me" and "Mine". We can still be a friend, we don't physically try to change anything, to us a friend is "this" and "this" and "that, just drop the definition of friendship, and our horizons, inner knowing expand beyond what we know a friend to be.

The words to this song (at this point in my life) says exactly this..
I am not the mind, intellect, thought, ego, or a supreme being.
I am neither the meal (bhojanam) nor the one who consumes (bhojyam) or what is consumed (bhokta);
I am neither a father (pita) nor a mother (maata),
I am neither kin/relatives (bandhu), nor friend (mitram);
I am not a guru and nor am I a disciple (shishya).

These lines started off meaning I am not physically any of my labels.. but right now it is more a case of I am not bound by the "idea" I have of these labels. When I drop my boundaries, I can be all of my labels and yet not be bound to any one of them.

We don't have to renounce the world, just our ideas of the world.