Two weeks ago, I met Karma Yeshe Rabgye, a Tibetan Buddhist monk. I told him my deep desire and chase for a meaningful and peaceful life. I know I am already on the track, but I wanted to learn from the best.
Exactly my point, if you want to learn more about peace and meaningful life, who would be better to guide you than a monk?
Karma Yeshe Rabgye is a Western Monk in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Originally from England, he now lives in Northern India. He teaches Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, and meditation in various countries around the world.
We had an almost two-hour conversation. And it won’t be an understatement if I say that conversation changed my life.
The wisdom I received in those two hours changed many of my life plans and altered how I perceive all the situations.
In specific, he asked me to follow a 4-step ritual to live a more fulfilling life. Here’s that 4-step ritual —
Step 1: Morning Meditation Practice
He asked me what kind of meditation practice I follow. I used to practice zen meditation, where you focus on breath, followed by affirmations. I have practiced analytical meditation too. I was quite regular with my meditation, though I didn’t have a daily meditation ritual.
He suggested me two points here:
- Develop a daily meditation practice, preferably in the morning.
- Go deep in analytical meditation.
If you’re new to this meditation world, let me explain the different meditation types. Almost in all the meditation forms, you start by focusing on your breath. This helps you slow down your body and calm your brain. Zen meditation continues to focus on the breath until you enter the zone of nothingness where your brain waves travel to the next zone (theta/delta zone).
Analytical meditation starts with breathing calmly and shifting your focus to analyzing one topic mindfully. It helps you detach yourself from the case and see it objectively from a different perspective.
When we are angry, we see the other person to be 100% at fault. But when we practice analytical meditation, we would detach ourselves from the emotion, notice it objectively, and realize we all have good and bad parts inside of us. It won’t be a stretch to say that you might even be ready to forgive your anger. This is how analytical meditation works.
Daily morning meditation might sound difficult to you, and it definitely is when you’re just starting, but it’s a sure-shot way of inviting peace in your life.
Step 2: Acts of Service
I am sure it doesn’t only mean donating food or working in an NGO. You could continue doing your work and start looking at it as it’s a service. You could be a construction worker, or you could look at your job like — you help people by building a home for them.
This is one approach to look at your current job as an act of service.
Other ways by which you can live a life service:
- Being kind and compassionate to whoever you meet throughout the day.
- Taking some time every day/week to do something for someone in need. This could mean teaching the poor or helping build an animal shelter, whatever cause you aspire to work for.
- Connecting yourself to a cause and raising awareness around it. I am fascinated by how we can stay peaceful even in the toughest of times, and I intend to write a lot about this part.
Your act of service doesn’t need to change everyone’s world — it needs to change someone’s world. This would mean even growing and watering a tree so it could provide shelter to your grandkids someday. I am convinced even this would count as an act of service.
In simple words, an act of service is something that you do for others, which may or may not directly benefit you too.
However, the best act of service would start from self-care. If you don’t heal yourself, you will bleed on people who didn’t hurt you in the first place. Even if you’re not in a situation to help someone, you can practice by not harming anyone. This brings me to his 3rd suggestion.
Step 3: Practice Non-Violence
I grew up as a non-vegetarian. Just for experimentation’s sake, I turned vegetarian around November 2017, and in the coming months, I noticed so many unexplainable changes in me. I became more kind and compassionate in nature. So I decided to turn vegan. And I have been vegan for around 1.5 years now. I feel lighter and so much better now.
Let’s not get into a debate about whether you can be kind while eating some fish. Seriously, let’s not go there.
Lama Ji (Karma Yeshe Rabgye) pushed me to look beyond this non-violence in food. He asked me to practice non-violence in my thoughts and my words.
This would mean no F-word, which seemed harsh at first. But guess what, I have been trying to ignore curse words, and I’m succeeding at not saying them loud about 80–90% of the times.
His next suggestion was to practice non-violence in thoughts too. He said, “This should be your intention — no living being should be harmed from my actions, words, or even thoughts.”
There are enough suffering and too much pain in this world, and if we can’t heal someone or can’t help someone get better, the least we can do is not to cause more pain to others.
Practicing non-violence might seem hard (it even gets more challenging when working out in the gym and can’t say the F-word), but it’s equally rewarding and fulfilling for its lasting impact.
We can start with the prayer- “I pray my actions, words, or thoughts must not harm anyone.”
Here are the levels of practicing non-violence
- Non-violence in action. Not hurting someone physically. As per my understanding, this would mean no hunting or fist-fighting.
- Non-violence in words. Not using hurtful words. It especially becomes challenging if you are fluent in sarcasm or insulting jokes (like I have been). This would also mean avoiding negative gossip.
- Non-violence in thoughts. Not using judgments and harsh prejudice to satisfy your ego and being hurtful to others. With time and effort, like anything else, this is attainable too. I am way too away from here, but this should be our ultimate goal on this journey.
I pray my actions, words, or thoughts must not harm anyone.
Step 4: Daily Analysis and Contemplation
In his book “Open awareness open mind,” Karma Rabgye mentions that we don’t become master in a field with only practice. We also need to analyze our strengths and weaknesses consistently.
So, he suggested me to develop an evening routine of daily analysis and contemplation. While doing this analysis activity, he specifically asked me to analyze a few pointers.
Points to analyze during contemplation
- Did I hurt someone today with my actions, words, or thoughts?
- What all went right today?
- What all went wrong today?
- How did I feel throughout the day? Was I mindful?
- What can I do better tomorrow?
As far as my understanding goes, these are perfect journaling prompts. In his book, he has suggested to sit peacefully, do a few minutes of breathing meditation to calm down your mind, and then ask yourself these questions in the meditation.
It doesn’t seem like rocket science — just asking yourself how your day went, what all did you do good and evil, and how would you improve it. Practicing it for a longer time seems promising to me personally.
It’s been two weeks since I had my 2-hour meeting with Karma Yeshe Rabgye. And I have started practicing this 4-step daily ritual he suggested to me for a more fulfilling life.
It might be too early to notice significant changes, but I have started practicing it, and I am excited to see where this journey will take me.
Here are the 4-step daily rituals he suggested to me for a more fulfilling life-
- Morning meditation practice. Specifically, analytical meditation. Start by taking some deep and slow breaths to calm your mind and then analyze your emotional and mental state.
- Acts of service. Looking at whatever you do as an act of service. Plus, taking out regular times to serve others in the best way possible.
- Practicing non-violence. We can start with the prayer- “I pray my actions, words, or thoughts must not harm anyone.”
- Daily analysis and contemplation. Doing it via meditation or journal and closely analyzing how the day went.
This post was originally published at medium here.