A Contemplation on Meditation
Life is one thing after another, and our attentions are most always on things that are outside of us.
Then we get curious and we start wanting to know what more there is than, things.
We eventually find our way to meditation.
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Life is one thing after another, and our attentions are most always on things that are outside of us. Then we get curious and we start wanting to know what more there is than, things. We eventually find our way to meditation.
God has given us the time honored tradition of going within so we can satisfy the souls longing to let go of material illusions, and to connect to something more real and more profound than all of the thoughts and actions that we use to define who we think we are. We know deep down that there is more going on within us, and with life than meets the eye.
Our practice takes us from what we think that we know to be real and true, into what is real and true, but which is usually hidden just underneath the chaos and activity of life.
Then, once we start to pause from that busy activity of life to go within, we continue to go from one thing to another within our own selves. We learn that going within is a gentle endeavor to let go of what’s going on in our heads, and to trust whatever the feeling is behind the reason that made us go within. We begin to trust something outside of our normal range of perceptions, about our own selves and the universe.
A deep part of us knows that in order to experience the “more” of what we all know is possible, we need to interrupt the chain of doing and thinking that we live in most of the time, in order that we can stretch our limits. Each time you meditate it is a time of heightened receptivity, and it’s been described a million different ways, yet letting go is what your deeper soul part knows is the purpose of meditation.
"It's better to think not from the perspective of, "what is the right thing to believe about meditation, or God or the universe?"... but more like,
"what is it that I can understand about the simple practice of going within?"
One thing is certain; the practice of going within is more than any one person’s concept of what it is, or should be.
The more skills you have that help you to go within, the more you are likely to benefit from any practice, and the less likely you will be blocked by a rigid idea of what our practice should be limited to.
"Meditation is NOT a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there — buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day."
When you are going within you want to be open and receptive to how you are being guided within. There are so many ways and techniques as many there are people. If you are not receptive to what to use when, you might end up with a technique, stuck in a 'rut', missing out on the 'so much more' that is available when you go within. The following story illustrates this well.
There is an old story about a disciple who, after hearing a talk from his master on Oneness, went to his master and said: “I now know the answer. I now know ‘the truth’ about everything; it was revealed to me in meditation. It is true as you say. I am not the ego. I am not my thoughts and troubles. I am not separate from God; we are truly all One. The only thing to do when I go within is to just witness how we are all one. I do not need to endeavor and search for the truth anymore.”
The master was silent for a moment and then replied to the disciple, “Fool! Because I speak about Oneness and other spiritual teachings of truth, you think that all you have to do is accept what I have said when you go within; then you have some experience and think that you have become enlightened. You do not understand the full nature of truth. You do not understand meditation’s purpose. You are blind; you cannot see more than your dreamy concept of what you think to be ultimate truth.
Every day you scurry around these grounds like a chatter-monkey in the morning to get to the meditation hall, completely unaware of the chaos and disturbance you cause. But then you sit down to go within and look only for this ultimate truth of love and harmony. You look to find your mind’s picture of what I teach, yet you do not see the many truths you can and need to see all along the way. Do you ever look inward and seek to know why it is you behave in this chaotic manner in the mornings? Are you even aware of what you are doing, and how frantic your mornings are, and what effect that has on the rest of your day? What to speak of the effect it has on other people?”
The master continued, “You think you have found the ultimate truth – you have found nothing! Pay attention! Do not use meditation to escape your life. See that your practice is a part of your existence in this world, not to be used as an escape; then many more truths will be revealed that you need to see, not just the truths that you want to see. Perhaps now you can ask when you go within for direction about better ways to do your morning service so you are not a silly chatter monkey
that causes you and others needless suffering.
You do not see the answers yet because you do not look, but of course, you are close. You could see today if you wish. But you are not special in this. Everyone is closer than they know to finding many truths and answers that will help them right now.” The master closed his eyes and paused again to consider what he had to say next: “Like others, you are blinded to the many truths, because you seek only the one truth. The so-called ‘ultimate truth’ is but a butterfly that the seeker chases. As he chases the butterfly, he does not see the ground, and thus he trips and falls, time and time again.
When will he learn? Enlightenment, Oneness . . . yes, by all means yearn for these things and be open to receive in kind. But also seek to correct the illusory ways in which you think and behave. Want to see, want to know many truths; then you will be able to see how to change your illusory ways. You will start to see ways you should let go and change, and thus you will be closer to God. You will be closer to full awareness, and your consciousness will lead you to experience deeper truths.”
Then the master gave a decidedly human and warm look to his disciple that the disciple knew very well and said, “Become more aware, become more present. Know that there are important truths waiting to be found, important understandings about your existence that will help you see a better way to wash the floor and bake the bread in the morning. This would be of great help to you and the others.
“Contemplate what I have said. Hear what I have said. Change now, dear one. As you go within toward Oneness, do not seek only one thing. Be more open to finding all manner of assistance when you do your practice, and you will be given thus.”