Meditation would seem (at least superficially) to be a practice which someone does – the seeker seeking a full living embodiment of self-realization – to come into (re)union with Self/God.
True meditation is actually just the simple observation of consciousness – the Self watching the play of manifest consciousness (which is also Self!) Another way of talking about meditation, is to speak of seeing (and moving) from the Heart.
The full utility of meditation is only realised when meditation is bought into everyday life – when walking, talking, eating, defecating, working, playing and making all become meditation. Some of the most beneficial times to meditate are during intense suffering. Suffering is a significant doorway to self-realization.
As most who have walked this road have soon discovered, there are many possible frustrations. Although specific meditation practices can gradually culture the mind to become more this way or that, there is a deeper purpose.
The deeper purpose of meditation is to enable us (the Self) to stop trying to push mind this way and that.
Proper meditation is effortless, even when there is effort! So, how does one achieve this paradox? In fact, meditation is the only activity we instinctively know how to do, which cannot be entirely understood by mind.
A useful trick is to channel the inner artist. (If you are not the artistic type, do not worry. Everyone has an inner artist whether you know it or not. Just follow along as best you can, and there will also be some additional pointers.)
Make this moment the canvas, stage, ground or building site for the effortless expression of an unseen intuitive principle. It is the state you enter when you are observing something with intense curiosity, but totally unconcerned with outcome. It is the state you enter when you often enter when you draw, paint, sculpt, compose, perform, act, dance, synthesise, analyse, design or play – a state where there are very few intermittent passing thoughts and the mind is calm and receptive to what arises.
Those familiar with Mindfulness may recognise this as the way Mindfulness is 'performed' when the practice is actually taught as it should be – to observe with an alert but relaxed, non-judgemental awareness, and without seeking to control what is seen.
Meditation is a kind of 'non-doing' – where there is little obvious sign that anyone is there and where whatever is happening seems almost to be happening by itself.
Meditation is actually a momentary surrender of intellectual knowing. You cannot know the outcome, nor do you know what will happen next. Though you are curious, you remain unconcerned.
It is different from being 'on auto-pilot' only in so much as you are entirely present with whatever is happening, where as when one speaks of being on auto-pilot, it is generally in the pejorative to suggest you had 'switched off' and were uninterested (even bored) with whatever was occurring.
Another word for meditation is presence. Sometimes meditation is referred to as being in the Now.
Most people are somewhat familiar with the idea of sitting for meditation, as an activity in itself. This type of meditation has significant merit, particularly in the beginning. It can help to become acustomed to what meditation feels like.
Often there is the added instruction to pay attention to a specific object – such as the breath, the sensations within the body, a beloved pet, or something in nature.
Eventually, however, the object of meditation should expand to become the entire contents of our consciousness – just as we gradually expand meditation into more and more of our daily life.
On the homepage, I briefly discuss two components to a path to self-realization. The first of those components is realization itself – this refers to the gradual unfolding of a more accurate (and usually heavily revised) understanding of the nature of Self.
There is a separate Contemplation process for that purpose. Both contemplation and meditation should be used in your journey to Self-realization.
As the understanding of Self evolves, so too your meditation practice will evolve. The conviction and trust necessary for surrender will arise naturally. So too, judgement will transition naturally toward discernment. The habitual rising of an 'ego' or personal self, through which control and judgement is exerted upon the mind-body will subside. No control is necessary, because all is Self. No judgement is necessary, because no specific outcome is required.
Be aware during meditation. Notice if there is judgement present, including judgements about whether you are meditating properly! Also notice if there are any attempts to control or steer the mind-body that feel self-conscious, forced or wherein there is a strong implication in mind that such an activity is 'wrong' or 'bad'.
When you notice any of these tendencies, see if you can let go – surrender still ever more deeply.
Heart embodiment (meditation) is particularly about learning the difference between discernment and judgement. There are a couple of pointers you can use to help determine if what you're witnessing is judgement or discernment:
The difference between discernment and judgement is very much like the difference between seeing and doing.
Keep in mind that there is nothing rule-based or intellectual about this. The purpose of this list is to help direct you toward recognition of your own Heart place within your on-going meditation practice.
The real secret of meditation is hidden in plain sight, at all times. Even when the person is not seen to be meditating, meditation is eternal – the nature of all being is perpetual meditation.
So then, what are we really doing in meditation? We are inviting the fictitious agency of our consciousness to enter a state of deep relaxation. The 'doer' is allowed to subside. We are inviting the mind to come to rest.
Doing so is a statement of radical trust (in ourselves.) It is an invitation for everything to be, as it pleases.
© Copyright 2020 Joshua W. Hawcroft