for many years, through many forms of meditation,
I prefer a most basic and simple meditation.
A meditation that requires no effort. A meditation
that is not a doing. It is simply sitting...aware.
In its simplicity is something very powerful,
because when we sit down to meditate, often we
feel we should be doing something. Instead, for
a period of time, we are to do nothing at all.
If we find we are trying to control or manipulate
our breathing, thoughts, etc., we recognize that
and cease trying to do anything.
Enlightenment is sometimes called the "Natural
State" or the "Unconditioned." In
Zen, you will hear references to our original
Returning to the "Natural State" requires
no effort. Actually, anything you do will only
get in the way. It is like mixing a jar of water
with sand and ice. As long as you keep mixing,
the contents will not be at their natural state:
sand on the bottom, ice on top, and clear water
in between. Anything you do will keep mixing
and jumbling the contents. In the same way, this
very simple meditation is to cease doing or trying
to do anything.
There is an acceptance of what is as it is.
Sure, things might still be mixed up at the moment
(when you stop mixing), but give it some time
to settle out. If there is no interference, the
natural state will return. Any non-acceptance
is a form of fighting the situatio, which will
keep things mixed up, prolonging the return of
the natural state.
It is not a form of manipulation or doing to
be curious. Curiosity is of great help in this
meditation. It provides fuel for awareness and
helps it deepen of its own accord. You are not
guiding the curiosity. It is more like being
curious as to how much you can be aware of. However
much or little you are aware of is fine -- and
acceptable -- but a curiosity as to how much
can I be aware of helps. This keeps awareness
alive and vivid.
This kind of awareness is like that of a cat
watching a mouse hole. The cat must be constantly
aware, for at any time the mouse could come running
out. If the cat starts dreaming of how good its
catch and dinner will be, the cat's absence of
awareness of the present moment (the hole) may
result in missing the mouse. Also, in the wild,
the cat can not be unaware of what goes on in
the surroundings, for there are predators who
would make the cat their dinner.
This is a relaxed awareness. If you are trying
to be aware, you may end up hopelessly unaware
of the present and just trapped in thought. Like
the samurai of old, they were told to be constantly
on guard because an attack could occur at any
time from any direction. But if you are busy
trying to be aware of all this, you are easy
prey as you lose awareness of the now. Such awareness
cannot be forced. You just relax into it.
This is not so much intellectual as kinesthetic.
How much can you feel? Are you aware of your
breath? Not so much mentally aware, but do you
feel it? Through the nose, down to the lungs
filling the body, etc. Feel it, don't just make
a mental observance.
This is the simple and basic meditation I prefer.
Just letting go of thoughts of past and future
-- and feeling (be aware of) however much or
little you can feel and be aware of in the present.
This meditation involves nothing more than just
sitting with relaxed awareness...curious as to
how much you can be aware of in the now.
Printed in EdgeLife Magazine Online - January
Copyright © 2008
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