A call to ACTION for International Yoga Day 2021

21 June 2021 | Mick Timpson

You may have noticed that the world is not going back to normal anytime soon. In fact it was the normal that got us here in the first place – Today is International Yoga Day. So here is a call to action for change. 

Where do our problems come from?

All of our problems originate in thought itself. This might seem quite a claim but it’s true and also very hard to observe.  So you really need to put yourself into that space so that you can see it – that is what Modern Meditation is for. 

Everything we experience is recorded in the mind/body – in the brain/nervous system. This recorded information conditions everything we think, feel, see, say and do. It’s like a built-in, looping programme that drives action and reaction and you have been modifying and adding to this programme from day one. There are useful things in this programming such as learning, language, memory, techniques, action etc…but there is also other stuff like expectation, habit, desire, wants, prejudices, beliefs and so on. We mostly ignore the first stuff and spend all our time on the other stuff because this is part of the programming that we mistakenly assume is ME! 

A world of self-deception 

This ME part of the programming feels powerful because it wants things to happen for you. It wants you to be happy, successful, safe and secure. This is fine but the fact is that you are already those things doesn’t matter because what keeps the programme running is the delusion and self-deception that you aren’t – that’s how advertising and social media works.  Then you end up spending a great deal of your power and energy trying to change the outside world to provide these things. People will always be hungry for more stuff if the expectation programme continues to create an ever expanding feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness in one’s life. When the programme runs too fast and too deep and expectation is not met (which is often the case) the output is frustration, fear, unhappiness, anger, unhappiness and anxiety which in turn causes the programme to expand and extend into everything we think, feel, see and do. 

Unfortunately, many of us are unaware of this self-deception. Most are unable to see it. And because it’s a pattern of thought, feelings and action that is tied up closely with who we think we are, it becomes invisible or we assume it’s true and real.  If you stay here you are really stuck and it’s likely you still won’t notice until something goes wrong like that frightening unexpected panic attack at the office, the sudden outburst of hurtful anger or even full blown anxiety and depression. 

So what’s to be done?

The key is to break into the programming. It’s not easy because it has infiltrated every brain cell, every neural pathway and become a persistent pattern of behaviour and outlook. We can’t see this programme, only its impact on day to day feeling and reaction. So what is required is a different way of perceiving and processing what is happening inside and out. We can learn to draw our ATTENTION to it and become AWARE of it (two Modern Meditation skills). Even though it’s internal we can learn how to observe the different parts of the programme as an object just as we would observe something material outside of ourselves. 

Learning to direct your attention in a particular way uncovers awareness. Looking inwards like this we don’t have the help of external senses so we learn to come inwards behind and under our senses, our thoughts, feelings and actions. We learn to observe, to watch the feelings, actions and thoughts the programme is producing though ourselves we begin to notice and watch without attachment, fear, desire anger etc…We begin to see the connection between sensations, feelings, thought and action. For example, when we feel anxious you will feel it in the whole mind/body which in turn shapes and drives a particular active response. We might acknowledge to ourselves, ‘I am scared’ –  this is a mistake because you have just ‘owned’ and attached yourself to the programme. This has made the programme run deeper and stronger. You can be anxious, that’s part of your natural fight-flight response, but it’s the programme, it’s not you. With practice you can see this experience as a thing, as an object once you have learned how to direct your attention in a particular way. 

The key is to observe

Don’t confuse this with psychotherapy. The central key is observation. We are not in the business of pushing away, cutting off or modifying experience. That doesn’t work – because whatever we resist will persist. We have to know what we are actually observing and how, which requires a lot of hard work and practice. What you have to do is simply watch. Be in touch with material, spatial and active processes of the programme and not get involved – this is what meditation does. This shift of perspective creates a distinction between the you appearing to be caught up in the programme with very little choice and the real YOU which is full of potential. You become the seerer, the fully conscious and aware part of you. You then realise that it’s the unconscious part of you that is following the programme – and you see it and that’s okay. This in turn reduces the power and impact the programme has over you – you’re free. 

For example, If I were to say observe yourself now, what are you going to look at and how? Some therapy and some mindfulness courses will end up directing you not to the source of all thought and action, the unified field of absolute consciousness but to your own individual thoughts and your habitual thinking processes, your Ego. That then keeps you locked in the programme. You are not properly seeing, you are not seeing the ultimate Self – yourSelf.  

So what does this say about the world’s problems? 

Well they start and end with you. Ultimately don’t rely on governments or organisations. You can bet that they don’t have profound change on the agenda and their programme is to stay in power, not wholesale change and keep the programme running. The world’s problems and solutions are rooted in the individual. It might sound like a cliche but it’s true – if we don’t change ourselves first then nothing can be done. Imagine if the entire world decided to not use Amazon for six months. It would collapse. 

So here is your call to action – We have to do something new and it has to come from you and me. We can if we want to divert the course of the world. It can be changed and we can not only divert ourselves away from disaster but as a species finally wake up. 

They sort of go together!