Over the last couple of months, I have been doing my Meditation Teacher Training course through Centred Meditation. I am almost a 3rd of the way through this course and it has been such a weird experience. The first part of this meditation course really has focused on 2 things; 1. Meditating more (am up to 2x 30min meditations every day and 1x1hr meditation once per week) & 2. Facilitating personal growth and development.
In our modern society, we are always looking for hacks - how to hack your productivity, your day, your fitness, even hacks for a great relationship. So meditation is often seen as a tool to hack the mind. Although this is accurate; it is a great tool that is used from some of the most spiritual people in the world, intellectuals, musicians and even jocky sports stars. I actually believe this is one outcome of meditation, but not the reason to do it.
In Buddhist Philosophies, it is suggested that our experience of the world is an illusion, both internally and externally. At first, I couldn't understand what this meant, but then I started to think about the movie the Matrix. We walk around in life thinking that things just are the way they are, that we see the world as it 'truly' is. But if this was true, why do people see it so differently? Why in our modern society do we have such polarising views of the world? Trump is either the ultimate good or ultimate evil, very few are on the fence about this.
On a simpler level to understand this illusion, let's think about training. When you first start back at training it seems impossible, there are movements that you just can not imagine ever being able to do, it is uncomfortable, you can't stand the weather (be it too hot or cold), your heart is pounding, surely this isn't natural. So if we are seeing the world without any illusions, what would these experiences be telling us about the act of training?
Now as we keep training, eventually our perspective on these things begins to shift. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the discomfort at training starts to become a drawcard, a challenge that you enjoy in your day. The more you consistently train, week in week out, the more this illusion around your physical self starts to lift. You don't notice at first that you are not getting puffed out walking upstairs because your muscles have gotten better at transporting oxygen around your body, until one day you do. When you have this realisation, it becomes obvious that so many areas of your life have drastically improved.
Meditation is a tool that rips down the illusions in your life. It allows you to see your internal world and external world from a clearer perspective. I am not going to claim that you can ever see it as is (mainly because this is an insanely big question of if you can ever see the world as it is), but you certainly are not controlled as much, you are not as reactive to life.
So after the first 4 weeks of this meditation teacher training course, I have finally understood why working on yourself is such an important part of the process. Meditation is an incredible tool to support this work and break down some of the illusions.