As I continue to look for a permeant home after moving into a short term stay it raised the question for me a few days ago of what does home mean to me?
I was leading a meditation in a zoom group and we discussed this idea of what home means for us. As we all shared there was a sense of home being a place of security, connection to others, and providing the opportunity to be safe and settled.
It is often used as a metaphor in Buddhism to talk of ‘coming home’ as the final result of our practice. The Buddha also talked of seeing ‘the house-builder’ and breaking apart the house that contained him in order to find full freedom.
“Through the round of many births I roamed without reward, without rest, seeking the house-builder. Painful is birth again & again. House-builder, you’re seen! You will not build a house again. All your rafters broken, the ridge pole destroyed, gone to the Unformed, the mind has come to the end of craving.” — The Dhammapada, verses 153-4
As we sit we seek this dual movement of ‘coming home’ to our true nature – the experience of the mind being radiant, clear, vast and timeless, whilst also ‘destroying’ the house of our limiting ego, the sense of me and mine that gives rise to suffering, grasping, anger and conflict.
Who am I?
Our meditation practice is therefore both a place of doing nothing and surrendering into the unborn state of thusness that is already here, whilst also being active in observing the mind that gives rise to the appearance of a solid self. Some practices focus more on this active aspect of focusing on the breath and bringing the mind to a single focus. Other practice are more expansive and are about letting go. Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi teaches from the perspective of letting go. I read his work whilst in the monastery and he suggests asking the simple question: “who am I” as we sit in meditation. Or reducing this down to the simple question: “who”. In the online guided meditation I Ied a session using this approach and you can listen to the meditation here.
In the video below I talk of how I use the reflection “thoughts are not facts” to help me connect to this place of open possibility rather than go into believing the limiting narratives my mind, the house builder, creates.