The topic of meditation can be misleading because people attach all kinds of meaning and expectation to the activity which inevitably obstructs simple understanding. Some misconceptions for example are that the practice will somehow allow people to transcend all discomfort, avoid the messiness of their bodies and desires and perhaps even be protected from the inevitability of change this earthly existence so obviously demonstrates. A simple understanding is helpful; the simpler the better and beyond that, letting go of the need to know works best. Ultimately, no one really knows what meditation actually is.
Therefore, you should understand that although there are many people who can help, you have to find your own way; no one can do it for you. This is true for everyone. I realize that this may sound daunting but remember that if you breathe, walk, sleep, talk, stand, and whatever else you may do, or not do, then meditation is. You don’t need to worry about that and you don’t need to worry about your capacity to become more aware of yourself and the world through meditation!
People usually begin the journey of meditation with so much seriousness that they become tenser than before they started which is usually why they started to begin with, because they are tense, confused, feel that something is missing, or just not quite content with life as it is. If meditation is your chosen solution then perhaps your problem(s) are existential. Who am I? What am I? How to live? What is God? Why suffering? You may be conscious of this or not.
Meditation will not solve your existential problems in the way that you think although you may proceed no matter what you think. Actually this is good; it means that you are interested and moving forward in spite of your mind story.
Please remember that whether you meditate or not; who and what you are is absolutely complete, in that nothing is missing from your experience as it is right now, and some people understand this most profoundly without doing any activity like meditation, in order “to cultivate themselves”. Meditation, as in sitting for hours on your butt in silence, is not a mandate or prerequisite to what we may call understanding, although some do this with positive outcomes.
Understanding as I am using the word, is just like meditation in that, no one actually knows what that is either and giving yourself over to this fact, that you may not know and may never know goes a long way in what we may awkwardly call: understanding.
The simplest essence of anything; like a solar system or your stomach digesting dinner or even your day dreams is that it just is and is always changing which means that it is beyond the mind’s capacity to know because the discursive mind is a labeler, a story teller, an after the fact reporter. It describes reality and in so doing breaks it up into separate pieces. The actuality of a solar system, digestion or the movement of your mind is that there is no separation at all; more over this is true for all and everything which means that you, your life, the so called universe, even time and space do not exist and will never exist as you think they are. The mind creates an image of separation so that we can practically navigate, that’s all. Suffering ensues when we confuse reality with the image in our minds. Formal meditation practice is an excellent laboratory to examine this.
Relaxing into a bodily felt sense of this, beyond the busyness of your mind is meditation, whether you are sitting, talking or dancing and while you may never grasp it with your mind; you can feel the truth of it, in and as your bones.
Understanding meditation in this way does not mean that you, whatever you are, would experience only pleasure or comfort and never experience pain or insecurity. No, sorry. You may acknowledge that most of your suffering is self-imposed and hence most of it would probably then disappear, but a certain amount of suffering is inherent in the life/death process and is not a problem, just the manner of “things” and by the way, suffering is a golden opportunity to clarify the matter.
Who and what you are right now is all you need and nothing is missing. The objective to meditate in order to change yourself, get beyond your suffering, your body or your world in order to understand or be at peace, at some point in future (perhaps at death) because your mind story says you need to, is a wrong view and wrong practice. You probably will do this a lot (everybody does) before you relax into and as the simplicity of bodily-based being beyond your compulsive attachment to this mind story
Adhering to the idea that you are a separate thing which needs to escape (life is dangerous for separate things!) and trying to escape through meditation or so called spiritual experience or any other experience for that matter, is itself a demonstration of making a problem for yourself-as a separate self, and whatever your suffering happens to be, this compulsive action that you yourself are doing is your most significant problem. Please look and see.
All that makes up who we are, our so called bodies, thoughts, emotions, desires, bad habits, experiences, as well as awareness itself are non-specific mystery while also paradoxically, being very specific and therefore each is a wonderful opportunity to realize the most natural essence of who we are and what all the world(s), most effortlessly are.
Meditation is the absence of any motive to fix ourselves, or to escape our bodies and the world and all the compulsive activity this engenders most profoundly, at the very core of our being, in the depth of the heart beyond the attachment to mind, and this is the essence of who and what we always already are, in this and any moment. This is always the ultimate and unknowable mystery of you, me, everyone, world(s), life and death, consciousness and matter.
copy right all rights reserved. william miller
Heart-Awakening 21st Century Spirituality