Meditation is withdrawing the mind without withdrawing from the world.
When you are deeply integrated you are undivided, whole and total. This is the peak experience of the present moment as an end in itself. There is no urge to save it, improve it, judge it, control it, modify it, or any attempt to prolong it. The moment you try to do anything, you move out of the present moment. Instead of simply being in the present moment, you are planning and preparing for the future – a future that may never come as you’ve planned it.
The present is not a product of having planned, designed or anticipated an experience. It is beyond the past and future. It is an experience of grace, not the reward for hard work. You are qualified to enter the sacred space of Now only when you remain totally vulnerable to the future, having no expectations, no plans, no desires, no fears, and with nothing to lose, nothing to accomplish, nothing to protect or change. There is no room in the Now for any baggage from the past or expectations of the future. Only one who is empty and open, in the truest sense of the word, can enter the present moment.
Think of the humble camel in the Bible, who has no attachments to the past and no plans for the future. Being empty, he can pass through the eye of a needle. But a businessman burdened with ambitions, goals and expectations, is psychologically so large he cannot pass through even a large gate, much less the eye of a needle. This allegory has great relevance to our modern world: the present is created out of nothing, and anything you seek prevents you from being with nothing, yet it is the ultimate fulfillment of everything we have ever wanted.
Witness the miracle of being fully present. At that moment, you are fully alive; your actions and expansions flow effortlessly, and your creativity flows from the source. Nothing needs to be added, nothing needs to be removed. It is the state of being where the doer and achiever are not needed.
Love and Peace are Spiritual States of Being
When you are consumed by something, you become it. When you struggle to achieve it, you lose it. You cannot strive, achieve or struggle to get there by being impatient, doubting and expecting end results. You get there by being in it – right now. Love and peace are spiritual experiences because they happen in the state of being. Striving keeps you from getting there. Anything you do to become peaceful disturbs that peace beyond all knowing.
The question is, “How much is enough?” What will make you feel like you now have enough to be at peace? Rather than living in a future dream which keeps moving away as fast as you try to move towards it, you must learn how to make peace with the reality of Now. The future is a projection of the mind and the past is a dead memory. The only reality you must face is in the transcendence of time. You do not need the assistance of the mind to change anything when you are present in the experience of being present now. When you release yourself from the dreams of the future and the stories of the past, only then can you set the stage for meditation.
Watchful Awareness — the Secret to Meditation
We experience ourselves as our values, goals, dreams and achievements we wear as a mask. Our true self is buried beneath our self-image. Our personality, the persona we identify with occupies our attention, distorts our perception, and obstructs us from knowing the limitless Self within. In our spiritual search what we are truly looking for is the Self behind all images.
Witness the miracle of being fully present. At that moment, you are fully alive; your actions and expansions flow effortlessly, and your creativity flows from the source.
Meditation is a process of unveiling this Self by disengaging the mind from its constant chatter and emotional entanglement. It is a process of moving from the periphery of daily distractions to the center of your being. From this center arises the stillness which absorbs all disturbances, all illusions, all sorrows, pre-programmed perceptions, self-destructive behaviors and false concepts. As you progressively come in contact with your inner source, life becomes joyful and fulfilling, and the wonder of the meaning of our existence begins to reveal itself.
To do this is a constant practice of letting go of all that you identify with. When you encounter your thoughts and feelings in meditation, you step out of judging. You witness them without grabbing onto them, embellishing or reinforcing them. By observing unconditionally and non judgmentally, you disengage from them. This is a process of exorcising the self-image, fantasies, beliefs and choices constructed to protect and strengthen the ego-mind.
When identification with your thoughts is loosened, the thoughts may continue, but their energy-draining, negative impact is lost. You can live in the world with thoughts and emotions; but you are no longer affected by them.
Meditation is Withdrawing the Mind without Withdrawing from the World
This is a continuous journey out of that which has become comfortable. To meditate is to become adventurous, thus venturing into unfamiliar territory, where the self-image has less to identify with. Being free is letting go of that search for comfort of the ego-self. By and by, you enter new and unfamiliar dimensions – the world of reality. To enter this land of truth, you must remain open to perceive what cannot be seen; hear what cannot be heard; experience what you have never experienced before; and feel what has never been felt.
When you first begin a meditation practice, you see just how much mental disturbance exists and how much energy is lost. The mind seems to have a mind of its own! It is constantly wandering away when you attempt to focus your attention. Or worse, it is taken over by whatever emotional drama you are experiencing. When you see that, you could be discouraged about meditation. At this point, you may get discouraged because you have decided to meditate in order to become calm, serene and relaxed; but the moment you try it, you find every reason to become tense and upset.
The first thing to learn is how not to be disturbed about the disturbances—how to encounter what comes up in a way that will keep you from getting entangled and reactive to that which you want to release. Meditation, then, is a method of learning how to remain a witness to whatever you are experiencing at any given time. Not judging it or yourself; and not trying to find the answer intellectually. Instead of jumping in with the mind, you simply watch your thoughts and emotions. Meditation is: watching, watching, and watching. It is simple observation without interpretation, without analysis, and without value judgment.
Breath Is a Profound Key That Can Assist with the Process of Meditation
Using Breath Meditation promotes balance and harmony in the present moment. This is a powerful technique to bring what you think, feel and do into balance and harmony. Automatic breathing in and out is a biological process. However, when breathing is done with total awareness and deliberate action, it has the potential to bring healing prana to the body.
Breath is the bridge that connects our energy body to the infinite universal body of energy. Breath is also the bridge between the body and the mind; and the body and the soul. Life begins with the first breath in and ends with the last breath out. In between, what we call life is sustained by a series of uninterrupted breaths.
Through breath we are not only connected to the life-giving functions within our bodies, but also to the external ecological world through which we receive the life-sustaining energy of prana through air, food, sunshine, minerals, plants, and animal life. Breath connects us with the unlimited pool of prana that sustains planetary existence, the ecological balance of the Earth, and the evolution of life on Earth.
We have recognized an intimate physical relationship that exists between the body and mind, but have not recognized the vital role and impact the breath has on our physical and mental makeup. Our body’s balance is perpetually maintained by the process called homeostasis through the interplay of balancing the power of autonomous sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This autonomic, involuntary, balancing, restorative functions are carried out by the intelligence of the prana/energy body.
This energy body carries out its life functions involuntarily; and our pre-programmed unconscious habits use the same energy. Tensions introduced by unresolved emotional patterns such as anger, jealousy, hatred and fear are held as stress. The stress in turn is reflected in your breath, your attitudes and your health.
The moment you disengage prana from being confined as the carrier of unconscious fears, it automatically becomes linked to integrative consciousness. This is when breath becomes the carrier of light that effortlessly turns the darkness of unconscious patterns held securely in the physical, mental and emotional bodies. Breath, impregnated with prana, can be a powerful vehicle to shift from the personal to the transpersonal dimension of the soul. Energy and consciousness can overcome the long, arduous journey in an effortless and easy manner.
Breath, in combination with attention and meditative awareness, can be a powerful tool for concentration, connecting you with the awesome powers of the spirit. Breath re-establishes deeper levels of restorative, regenerative interaction on both voluntary and involuntary functions of your body.
The first part is deliberate practice of the technique of breath control through Pranayama. The moment you completely let go in the deeper relaxed levels of surrender, prana is released from willful action, and functions optionally on the natural level of polarity. Breath is your lifeline to meditation.
Breath is the bridge that connects our energy body to the infinite universal body of energy. Breath is also the bridge between the body and the mind; and the body and the soul.