WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation generally means focused attention. You straighten your back and clear your mind for a moment. It is a simple and ordinary activity. It is deliberate silence and stillness. It is natural. Nothing happens, actually. You remain just the same at the end of fifteen minutes as you were at the start. You look at what your thoughts are doing. If you are new to meditation your thoughts leap around. They deliver messages about how foolish this activity is or how foolish you must look. Be patient with your natural state of mind.
If you are practiced, thoughts become steady rather quickly. Perhaps most of them are tedious and ordinary. Then, right in the midst of the experience images or feelings may erupt and you find your way into an inner space of simplicity and clarity. Focused attention has slowed down the movement of thought making it possible to observe a single thought or feeling in depth. When you witness a thought or feeling without judgment the “me” slowly dissolves.
As the “me” dissolves, the gaps between thoughts increase and an inconspicuous emptiness occurs. In the empty spaces an insight happens: Everything just is. You are not taken out of the turmoil of this world; instead, you have seen something about being in the turmoil of this world. You have found how to be with the white water and eddies of life in a way no teacher can ever show. Meditation is a very private experience that is like the reading of a wonderful poem. The experience, deeply felt, gives you a clear perception of the essence of thought. And yet, as the poet Gary Snyder once said, the process that seems so exotic to most of us is as common as grass.
Here is a short guide to meditation:
Fall into the arms of Nature.
Accept everything as it is.
Be with that acceptance – from moment to moment.
Let mind go.
Cease to observe.