Sadar & Berkesadaran

Gambar oleh Maxime Valcarce dari Unsplash

Sadar sering diasosiasikan dengan bangun. Namun Sadar bukan sekadar bangun, karena bisa saja ketika kita bangun, kita tidak menyadari apa yang kita alami. Pernahkah kita pergi ke tempat yang sering dikunjungi, kantor misalnya, namun kita tidak mengalami apapun dari jalan-jalan yang kita lalui? Itulah bangun, yang tidak sadar. 

Sadar juga sering dikonotasikan dengan berpikir. Kalau kita berpikir, berarti kita sadar, demikian pendapat sebagian dari kita. Sadar bukanlah kondisi ketika kita mampu berpikir, karena sebagian besar pikiran adalah hasil dari kemampuan otak untuk melakukan prediksi atas apa-apa yang pernah kita alami sebelumnya. Itu sebabnya autopilot menjadi jauh lebih mudah, dan itu pula sebabnya kita sering memberikan label yang baku kepada sifat maupun kemampuan orang lain, walaupun orang tersebut bisa saja sudah berubah. Kondisi yang memberikan praduga berdasarkan pengalaman masa lalu ini adalah contoh sederhana berpikir yang tidak disadari. 

Sehingga Sadar bukanlah bangun, bukanlah berpikir. Ia adalah sebuah kondisi, dan semua kondisi adalah anugerah. 

Sebagai anugerah, Sadar bukan hasil upaya. Ia bukan sesuatu yang bisa kita buat metodenya dan memberikan jaminan bahwa ia akan bisa tercapai kalau metode itu kita lakukan dengan baik dan benar. Dengan kata lain, Sadar bukan hasil transaksional, karena memang tak bisa dihitung-hitung. Kondisi Sadar selalu diberikan, bukan dipastikan. 

Untuk memudahkan memahami konsep ini, mari kita lihat sehat. Sehat adalah kondisi. Namun ia tak pernah bisa dipastikan. Semua olahragawan bisa dan pernah sakit, banyak ahli nutrisi pernah jatuh sakit, dan semua yang bergaya hidup sehat, tak luput dari kondisi tidak sehat. Ya, sehat adalah kondisi – sesuatu yang tak bisa dipastikan, ia hanya bisa didekati. 

Seperti halnya  sehat, definisi kondisi Sadar tak terbatas dan tak pernah definitif. Sadar adalah anugerah yang hadir tanpa memerlukan sebab. Sadar tak bisa diceritakan dengan lengkap oleh kata, tak bisa digambarkan secara menyeluruh oleh lukisan, dan tak bisa dideskripsikan secara total melalui nada. Definisi paling dekat yang sedikit menggambarkan Sadar adalah kondisi yang dialami dengan seapa-adanya. 

Seapa-adanya merupakan anugerah tanpa transaksi. Sepi dari persepsi. Senyap dari yang sudah. Sunyi dari yang belum.Tak melekat pada apapun. Hanya murni berada.

Sadar bisa didekati, walaupun – sekali lagi – tak pernah bisa dipastikan pencapaiannya. Mendekati sadar adalah dengan melalui Berkesadaran. Kata ini bukan kata baku dalam bahasa Indonesia, namun ia menggambarkan proses berlatih dan sekaligus berserah untuk mencapai kondisi Sadar. Dalam istilah yang lebih populer, Berkesadaran dikenal sebagai Mindfulness

Berkesadaran memiliki dua proses yang berjalan sekaligus. Ia menunjukkan upaya berlatih, yang memerlukan ketekunan, dan membutuhkan pola-pola tertentu. Namun ia juga sekaligus menunjukkan keberserahan, karena upaya berlatih ini bukan untuk memastikan, namun dilakukan dengan segala kerendahan hati untuk tanpa pamrih. 

Berkesadaran adalah perjalanan, yang panjang pendeknya tidak bisa kita ketahui saat ini, dan memang bukan untuk diketahui. Perjalanan ini adalah perjalanan mengalami. Mengalami dengan jernih seapa-adanya, namun tak pernah seadanya.

Monkey Mind and I

The sky is clear and unaffected by what is happening.
The clouds come and go,
the winds come and go,
so does the rain and sunlight,
but the sky remains clear.”
~ Joseph Goldstein

Try to sit still, do nothing and not think about anything at all for a few minutes or so. An average person will soon find the mind start wandering. Sometimes, the mind seems to have specific issues to grasp. Some other times it just hops on and off, from one thought to another. Just like monkeys, the mind incessantly jumps from one branch of thought to another. So, we call this mind monkey mind.

Now suppose we were to spend these same few minutes in a practice called meditation. It is generally being taught that meditation equals to focusing our mind only on our breaths and nothing else, which is supposed to be very calming. Unfortunately, this idea about meditation does not correspond to our reality of monkey mind, and this can easily frustrate anyone who try to learn to practice meditation.

What is not being as often discussed is that the meditation practice is a practice where we keep on returning the mind to our object of awareness, be it breaths or anything else. The calming focused mind is the meditative state resulting from the practice, and not the practice itself. It takes practice to arrive into the calming focused mind.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

For many of us, monkey mind drives us mad for two main reasons.

First, it is because we would like the mind not to be “monkey-ish”, while in reality it IS a monkey mind – the mind that just would not obey our demand to be calm and still. So, there is internal conflict between what we want and what it is.

Most of us do not realize that how lively that monkey mind is depends on how busy and agitated we have been during the day as well as how little real rest we allow ourselves. Our agitation and activities energize the monkey. If we wish for the monkey not to jump around so much, then we should remember not to jump around so much either. And yes, that includes not to jump around from one social media posting to another.

What do we then do with monkey mind? First and most important, Stop telling the monkey to sit still, because being still is simply what monkey mind does NOT do. Instead, we can practice being a passive observer. We observe whatever comes into our mind, be it good or bad, the way we observe monkey jumping from one branch to another. Being an observer, we do not jump around with the monkey, nor do we get upset about which branch the monkey chooses to land on. We passively observe until the monkey gets tired, or it runs out of branches to hop on, and it will eventually stay still. As will our mind.

I suppose this is why there is an old Zen proverb that says something like “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour”.

Sometimes the monkey is over-excited that it overwhelms us. In times like these, give the monkey something to do for a while, like counting the breaths, or regulating the breaths in certain rhythm. Practices with breaths are usually calming, that it is easier for us to go back to being an observer again afterwards.

Second, if we happen to have certain issues that are gnawing deep within, the monkey, for whatever reasons, tends to linger around these issues despite our dissent. In times like these, meditation is more of an agitating practice than calming one.

During such episodes, apart from being a passive observer, it also helps to be a good friend to the monkey mind. Most of the judging self-critical thoughts we have towards our own thoughts and emotions, the aversions we have towards our state of mind, would not be anything that we would do or say to a good friend. A good friend is kind, and being kind means being understanding, accepting and encouraging – full of compassion.

So, we do no different towards the monkey mind. Let it jump around, and talks incessantly and tells us stories we do not want to hear, fears we try to hide away, grieves we refuse to let go. We let the monkey mind do so with an open heart that is understanding and full of compassion, despite of temptations from time to time to jump after the monkey mind, or to grab its tail and try to make the monkey stay quiet. Instead, we stay put and be at peace with it. And that, for what it is worth, is the practice of meditation.

As we give our friend, the monkey mind, a space, to be still or to jump around, we learn so much about it, as much as we learn about our being. In this understanding, we can be more at peace with ourselves, anytime anywhere.

“How shall I help the world?”
“By understanding it,” said the Master.
“And how shall I understand it?”
“By turning away from it.”
“How then shall I serve humanity?”
“By understanding yourself.”
~ Anthony de Mello

Our Contemplations ~


What Mindfulness Is Not

To be aware of this whole process of existence, to observe it,
to dispassionately enter into it, and to be free of it, is meditation.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti, Book of Life

As mindfulness practice has become some sort of a new life style nowadays, we see the practice being attached to various activities and events. When the word is being very loosely applied to almost anything, it can be rather confusing. Indeed, Mindfulness is a curious something that is rather delicate to describe, especially to those who try to learn about it on a cognitive level.

portrait-317041 - Image by 192635 at Pixabay
Image by User 192635 at Pixabay

Nevertheless, there are a few things that Mindfulness is definitely NOT. Below are a few of them.

Mindfulness is Not about being happy-stress-free All the time.

While Mindfulness practices have been found to be significantly beneficial in alleviating stress, it is not about stress reduction. The practice of Mindfulness trains us to accept things as they are, not by changing our thoughts or feelings about a certain thing or occasion, but by not identifying ourselves with any unwelcome thoughts or emotions. Freedom from identification helps us to see the problem for what it is, that we can understand it properly and act from a place of wisdom.

This is the essence of the practice. Stress reduction is a very welcome bonus.

Mindfulness is Not a practice to free the mind from thoughts.
It is not uncommon to perceive mindfulness as a practice where one attempts to empty one’s mind from any thoughts, resulting in blank zombie like state.

Thought formations, mainly our responses to external objects or internal memory, are present almost all the time in the mind. With mindfulness practices, we learn to not react unnecessarily to each and every stimuli. This results in less thought formation, less fluctuations in the mind, a state which is experienced as calmness.

Such state of mind is a result of regular practice. It does not happen overnight, nor does it happen with a simple intention of emptying the mind.

Mindfulness is Not about sitting crossed legged for hours.
Despite sitting meditation being the core practice of Mindfulness, the practice is not only about it. Sitting meditation, when performed regularly and “properly”, would rest the mind. Once the mind is rested, it is still a mindfulness practice as important as sitting meditation to be mindful of our body, breaths, thoughts and feelings as we go around fulfilling our daily activities.

In the midst of challenges and problems, it is also just as important to mindfully choose our actions and actually doing them. Being calm allows us to be more open to different solutions, but it is not the solution in and of itself.

Mindfulness can Not be reduced to being aware or conscious.
We are generally conscious all the time, with objects in mind, unless we are no longer alive, or perhaps, in a coma. In this case, very few people, if not none, can say they are mindful in all their conscious moments. Therefore, Mindfulness is not about being conscious.

Meanwhile, being aware is whenever we are aware of a certain thing, be it sound, sight, smell, taste or sense. Not all these awareness are Mindful awareness. For example, we can be aware that we are planning to harm ourselves or others and proceed on doing it, all the while being aware of doing it. This is not Mindfulness either.

With Mindfulness practice, we learn to be aware of the intention, of the desires or fear or aversion that propel the intention, and not being driven by them.

“Mindfulness requires a thoroughgoing equanimity. This does not mean you don’t care or are indifferent to what is happening, only that the mind is evenly balanced and fully aware of things exactly as they are, without the desire to change them by favouring one thing or opposing another.” ~ Andrew Olendzki PhD, What Mindfulness Is (Not)

Having said all the above, this article does not aim to strictly define Mindfulness. Words, more often than not, have many limitations. Have a go, and define Mindfulness as per your unique first hand experience.

Our Contemplations ~

Pimpinan Berkesadaran

Pemimpin Berkesadaran tidak memimpin
Ia adalah katalis.
Katalis yang menumbuhkan kesadaran
Bagi diri, bagi yang lain.

Photo credit: Markus Spiske at Unsplash

Ia berlatih sadar bahwa semua bisa saja berangkat dari saya, diri
Ia berlatih sadar bahwa semua bisa saja menuju bagi mereka, diri yang lain
Ia berlatih sadar bahwa saya dan mereka adalah selalu kita

Pemimpin Berkesadaran berbagi melalui keteladanan, tanpa perlu menjadi Sang Teladan
Pemimpin Berkesadaran bercerita melalui cerita diri, tanpa perlu dibuat-buat.

Pemimpin Berkesadaran menyiapkan dan menjalani sistem operasi organisasi
Semata untuk pembelajaran
Bukan untuk menjadi mekanistis
Bukan untuk menjadi otomatis
Bukan untuk menjadi kemelekatan
Pembelajaran yang selalu berubah, sesuai konteks, sesuai yang disadari.

Pemimpin Berkesadaran senantiasa menjalani paradoks.
Ia nyaman mengukur, dan juga jernih merasa
Ia tenteram berpikir, dan juga damai menerima intuisi
Ia bersegera aktif melakukan, dan juga rileks pasif melalukan

Pemimpin Berkesadaran senantiasa menyadari batas ego
Menyadari apakah masih berupaya, atau sudah mengharuskan
Menyadari apakah masih berserah, atau sudah bermalasan
Menyadari apakah ini perlu, atau ini ingin

Pemimpin Berkesadaran senantiasa menjalani
Perjalanan yang berisi latihan yang tak pernah usai
Perjalanan untuk mengasah batas ego yang tak pernah tuntas
Perjalanan untuk menjalani paradoks yang tak pernah selesai

Pemimpin Berkesadaran sadar bahwa Berkesadaran adalah perjalanan.
Ia adalah perjalanan yang sunyi, karena setiap orang unik
Ia adalah perjalanan bersama, karena setiap orang berkelindan dengan yang lainnya.

Kontemplasi Kami ~


Ketika kita makan,
sadarkah bahwa yang kita makan
ikhlas bersatu dengan kita?
rela menjadi bagian tumbuh kembang kita?


Ketika kita memandang,
sadarkah bahwa yang kita amati
ikhlas bersatu dengan kita?
menumbuhkan inspirasi
ataupun menjadi pengingat jiwa

Ketika kita berinteraksi
sadarkah bahwa yang kita temui
ikhlas memberi ilmu bagi kita
tidak selalu dalam ceria
namun senantiasa memberi makna

Ketika kita bernafas
sadarkah bahwa yang kita hirup
ikhlas memberi kita hidup

Ketika kita hidup
semuanya ikhlas menyatu ke dalam kita

~ Kontemplasi Kami ~