There is a Hindu festival were a massive cart bearing a statue of the Hindu god Krishna (Jagannath – “world lord”) is paraded through town. In the 1300s, a Brit (Mandeville) alleged that devotees of this god would sometimes throw themselves under the wheels of the rolling cart and sacrifice themselves to the god. The cart, because of its momentum, was unable to stop and the ecstatic devotee is crushed. Thus, by metaphor, a “juggernaut” has come to mean a merciless, destructive, unstoppable force.
Our everyday life is composed of almost entirely unconscious reflexes or routines. We confuse this reflexive living for being conscious. Instead, we are simply riding the juggernaut of habit that we call “me” — it is our ‘natural’ unfolding. We blossom in an almost predestined manner.
I don’t have an opinion about free will except to say that if there is any free-will, we use precious little of it. In another post, I wondered out loud if saying “No” is the only way we can actually be conscious and thus establish a hint of free will.
One way to practice saying “no” is a type of Buddhist meditation called “samatha” (in Pāli) or “shi-né” (in Tibetan) which means “calm abiding” where the mind is quieted by not following daydreams and staying alert. To me, this certainly counts as a concentrated practice of “saying no”.
Today while reading “Roaring Silence” I found this line which seems to confirm what I have said above:
“If we do not practice shi-né, our lives continue to live us.”
Is meditation all we got? Perhaps a less exclusive (albeit less eloquent) way to say the same is: “By practicing shin-né, we can better live our lives than have them live us.” And certainly we can practice awareness-of-habit without crossing our legs in meditation or learning lots of foreign terms.
Question to Readers: What are the other ways do you think may help to live your own life rather than passively being lived out?