A Fresh View of Meditation
Put aside all your concepts and past experiences, and discover what true meditation is.
How to Coach Yourself Using these Wisdom Quotes:
Give yourself time to go through each point slowly
Consider your answers to any questions
Explore the links but come back to this page until you finish all the points
Pay particular attention to anything that touches your heart
1. The Spaciousness of Being
"The idea that you’re doing a meditation can be quite an obstacle, so let’s get rid of preconceptions and expectations that come with that term.
It’s not a doing. It’s the realization that you are, of being, which underlies all doing. An alignment with the totality, without the need to mentally understand anything.
A simple realization that you are.
When you’re completely present, here, now, you’re present not just with your head, but with the totality of your being. In other words, you sense an aliveness - it’s there in every cell of your body.
That is our meditation, to be present with every cell of the body, a subtle sense of aliveness in which the personal dimension becomes relatively unimportant.
What arises here is the dimension of conscious presence or consciousness itself.
Space is the essence of who you are, the spaciousness of simple being, and your entire life experience is determined by whether or not and how much space there is in your life.
For many humans on the planet, there’s no space. It’s not that the space isn’t there - it cannot be destroyed, done away with. But they don’t know it’s there."
~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: What Is Meditation?
We begin our exploration of meditation by learning that space is the essence of who we are. Is there space in your life? Can you find spaciousness within you?
2. The Natural State of Being
“As a spiritual teacher, I’ve met a lot of people who have meditated for many, many years. One of the most common things I hear from many of these people is that, despite having meditated for all this time, they feel essentially untransformed.
The deep inner transformation—the spiritual revelation—that meditation offers is something that eludes a lot of people, even those who are longtime practitioners.
There are actually good and specific reasons why some meditation practices, including the kind of meditation that I was once engaged in, do not lead to this promised state of transformation.
The main reason is actually extraordinarily simple and therefore easy to miss: we approach meditation with the wrong attitude. We carry out our meditation with an attitude of control and manipulation, and that is the very reason our meditation leads us to what feels like a dead end.
The awakened state of being, the enlightened state of being, can also be called the natural state of being. How can control and manipulation possibly lead us to our natural state?”
~Adyashanti, True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness
Have you ever been disappointed with the results of your meditation practice? I have come across many people who felt this way because they were full of expectations and hopes in promises that their lives would be transformed.
Have you been carrying out your meditation "with an attitude of control and manipulation?" There were times when I believed that meditation was all about willpower, and I felt discouraged that I didn't have enough to be "successful" at it.
Certain practices may be helpful for some people, so always remember that we are not here to judge or criticize.
Consider your own experience and concept of meditation and relax any intentions to force or achieve anything. The way forward is simpler than we often realize.
3. The Silent Awareness of Being
"Meditation is to be aware of every thought and every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong but just to watch it and move with it.
In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.
Silence put together by thought is stagnation, is dead, but the silence that comes when thought has understood its own beginning, the nature of itself, understood how all thought is never free but always old - this silence is meditation in which the meditator is entirely absent, for the mind has emptied itself of the past.
When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy - if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.
So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing of birds or looking at the face of your wife or child."
~J. Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
As well as being spacious and natural, meditation is a silent awareness.
"In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence."
In this very moment, take a conscious breath and begin watching yourself. Notice the movement of thought and feelings. Notice how thoughts just rise up, as though they have a life of their own. Notice how they come and go and are always temporary. Notice how your thoughts create your feelings. Become acutely aware of this movement throughout the day.
4. The Open Sky of Being
"Sit comfortably and at ease. Let your body be at rest and your breathing be natural. Take several full breaths and let each release gently. Allow yourself to be still.
Now shift awareness away from the breath. Begin to listen to the play of sounds around you. Notice those that are loud and soft, far and near. Just listen. Notice how all sounds arise and vanish, leaving no trace. Listen for a time in a relaxed, open way.
As you listen, let yourself sense or imagine that your mind is not limited to your head. Sense that your mind is expanding to be like the sky - open, clear, vast like space. There is no inside or outside. Let the awareness of your mind extend in every direction like the sky.
Now the sounds you hear will arise and pass away in the open space of your own mind. Relax in this openness and just listen. Let the sounds that come and go, whether far or near, be like clouds in the vast sky of your own awareness. The play of sounds moves through the sky, appearing and disappearing without resistance.
As you rest in this open awareness, notice how thoughts and images also arise and vanish like sounds. Let the thoughts and images come and go without struggle or resistance. Pleasant and unpleasant thoughts, pictures, words and feelings move unrestricted in the space of mind. Problems, possibilities, joys and sorrows come and go like clouds in the clear sky of mind.
Rest in this openness. Let sensations float and change. Allow all thoughts and images, feelings and sounds to come and go like clouds in the clear open space of awareness.
Finally, pay attention to the awareness itself. Notice how the open space of awareness is naturally clear, transparent, timeless and without conflict—allowing all things, but not limited by them.
The Buddha said, “O Nobly Born, remember the pure open sky of your own true nature. Return to it. Trust it. It is home.”
May the blessings of these practices awaken your own inner wisdom and inspire your compassion. And through the blessing of your heart may the world find peace."
~Jack Kornfield, from the article: A Mind Like the Sky
Make time to properly follow along with the above guided meditation.
5. True Meditation
“True meditation has no direction or goal. It is pure wordless surrender, pure silent prayer.
All methods aiming at achieving a certain state of mind are limited, impermanent, and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency.
True meditation is abidance as primordial awareness.
It’s easy to use meditative techniques to suppress our human experiences, to suppress things that we don’t want to feel. But what is called for is just the opposite.
True meditation is the space in which everything is revealed, everything is seen, everything is experienced.”
"True meditation is the space in which everything is revealed, everything is seen, everything is experienced.” To enter more deeply into this experience, visit the wisdom quotes here.
6. Being One With Life
"Question: What meditation will help me?
Maharshi: No meditation on an object is helpful, for this reason: You must learn to realise the subject and object as one, and in the meditating on an object, whether concrete or abstract, you are destroying that sense of oneness, and creating duality.
Meditate only on the Self. Try to realise that the body is not you, the emotions are not you, the intellect is not you. When all these are stilled, you will find something else is there. Hold it that it may reveal itself."
~Ramana Maharshi, Conscious Immortality - Conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Only gradually, in most cases, will it become clear that meditation is what we are, not what we do, and that the separate self or finite mind is what we do, but what we are.
The presence of awareness becomes increasingly our natural condition until there is no longer a distinction between meditation and life."
~Rupert Spira, Being Aware of Being Aware
"Try to realize that the body is not you, the emotions are not you, the intellect is not you. When all these are stilled, you will find something else is there." This "something else" is the truth of what we are, the conscious awareness behind all experience and, ultimately, that which is beyond description and definition. Notice that the key here is, "when all these are stilled."
Consider deeply the truth these words point to: "meditation is what we are, not what we do, and that the separate self or finite mind is what we do, not what we are."