As the pages turned themselves, it was like Eknath Easwaran was talking directly to me – the picture of intentional living painted in this book took my breath away. It kindled hope that the limitations of mind and self-will could be transcended. It vividly described the challenges of the journey to the summit and how it was the adventure of a lifetime. It established in my heart that what the gentle author of this book had done was in fact within the reach of all! It described the mental process as fluid and dynamic, something that could be changed with consistent effort. It illustrated the role of attention and the will in transcending the body and mind. How could anything have a hold on you if you were the sole custodian of your attention?
So I resolved to embark on the journey and began meditating and practicing the other points in the eight-point program. This was in September of 2014. So what have I discovered since then that might be helpful to all of you on your journey?
There is a stark difference between knowledge and wisdom. If knowledge is to become wisdom, it must be applied and learnt experientially. There have been numerous examples where I've revisited the book and had an eureka moment! It just showed me the value of practice and reflection.
There is a subtle difference between fighting distractions and focusing on the important things. There are days where I've felt like I am not one pointed at all, where I am somewhat floating away from the chartered course without realizing it. But it became apparent that this might not always be the case, especially when I tried to stop and ask myself 'What is it that I have been focusing on today?' If I can't come up with a satisfactory answer, I have an inkling that I might have been strengthening distractions instead of focusing.
Modern neuroscience does not distinguish between the thought and emotion centers of the brain. This is congruent with Eknath Easwaran's teachings. It is amazing how often I've judged my lived experience based on feelings, at the point that the horse has already left the gates. I am slowly learning that the thoughts you choose result in the feelings you experience and color your overall experience.