”Under my clothes, I am naked too.
– Paul Reps
When I first came across Paul Reps’ little poem decades ago I fell into a reverie about its simple wisdom: We are all the same once we shed the many layers of our personality. Reps, an American, was the western world’s first recognised writer of haiku, a Zen poet who wrote in brush strokes on rice paper which he then suspended in the open air like sheets of fresh laundry so people could come and view them as paintings.
To be a meditator, whether you sit on a zafu [meditation cushion] for hours practising mindfulness or whether your meditation, like mine, is more about confronting yourself in daily life… it’s about being a witness to the feelings in your body, the thoughts in your mind and the emotions that may arise as a result without reacting to them. And this means going as deeply and fearlessly as possible into your own being.
That’s where we’re as naked as the day we were born.
Savita’s remarks above echo mine, as the overall intention of these blog posts is to see how we can incorporate even the daily minutiae of our lives and use them as tools for meditation. So whether we are simply crossing the road or talking with a friend, or just sitting and gazing at some birds building nests, the naked meditator, as we are calling ourselves, does just that. Knowing that we are all the same inside – swayed by the same emotions, longing to be recognised or loved or to love, worrying about the future – the purpose of discovering this nakedness beneath the masks we all wear, the personas we develop, is the essence of the life of a meditator.
So here we are in all our semi-naked glory attempting to disrobe ourselves, and in so doing, demystifying this process called meditation – or mindfulness. And we trust that you – the reader – will also attempt to do that along with us.
And as Osho says:
Before we can come to know ourselves, we have to become naked; we have to drop all our clothes. We not only wear clothes on the outside, we also wear clothes on the inside, too, in the mind.
We are not only afraid to be naked on the outside, we are also very afraid to be naked on the inside. We are very afraid to see ourselves naked, to see what we really are. We avoid to see what we are, otherwise we will be afraid of ourselves. So we put on many faces and decorate ourselves in many ways; we make many arrangements to avoid seeing the real inner self.