All of man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.
– Blaise Pascal – French scientist, mathematician and philosopher
A Simple Exercise
Simplicity fosters spiritual growth. Simplicity may actually be synonymous with spirituality. The simplest ideas are the most impactful, such as “giving and receiving are one” or “the temple of the spirit is a relationship.” We can often make simple things complex; this is especially true about meditation.
Meditation is simply an exercise of the mind for practical benefit in every area of life. During meditation we become more mindful (aware of our thoughts), more present (here and now), and more connected.
We connect with the light, truth, and love within. This deepens our connectedness with the Universe, others, and Self (the divine essence within ourselves and others).
This does not lead to a sedate life; it actually leads us to a fiercer or a more on-purpose life.
We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.
– William Butler Yeats
As we become more aware of our thoughts, more conscious and awake, we access a deeper more expansive creativity. We gain more control over our thoughts. This is crucial because thought is causal. So, we end up increasing control over our lives and the world around us. This may sound like arrogant grandiosity; it is actually Self-full grandeur. This is neither selfless nor selfish – but Self-full or being full of one’s Self.
As we become increasingly aware and in control of our thoughts, we are able to assess and change our attitude & mindset. Change in attitude & mindset is accomplished through a change in perspective, from fear-based to love-based thoughts. We change our view of others and situations. Remember, we are working on drawing closer to Self (our divine essence, which involves others – life is “a we thing”).
We gain increased presence, evidenced when we look within and see serenity. This intense presence affects others and situations, which increases our influence and effectiveness, often in unspoken ways. As we connect more deeply within to spirit and love, that depth of connectedness increases in every aspect of life. We have deeper, more meaningful, and more impactful relationships with others.
This concept of connectedness can also encompass time – we begin to “connect the dots” from a timeless perspective. This timelessness ends up circling back, providing us with patience, persistence, and tenacity. We begin to see a natural flow of events around us, heading toward an end-point vision, which we know will be accomplished – it is “simply a matter of time.”
Have a timelessness of perception and a perception of timelessness.
– David Hawkins
You know. Trust your Self.
The point of meditation is to connect with the truth and light within you. So, why not accept and use that truth from the very start? Consider some of the thoughts below, listen to others, read books; but know that you know what is right for you. Stay true to that truth within you. Consider some ideas; discard the rest.
Just do it. Set aside 15-20 minutes of quiet uninterrupted time – sometimes more, sometimes less. Meditate every day, at least once – some times more often. Simply sit down and be quiet. Be still. Be.
Be comfortable. Either sit or lie down; you know what is right for you. But mediation is not a nap. Simply relax and consume less air. Be conscious of each breath – be aware of each instant of time within each breath.
Observe your thoughts. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle describes our spirit as the silent observer – so observe. Our egoic mind does not like to be watched (egoic thoughts are based on separation, fear of the future, or dread of the past). As we sit quietly and simply observe our thoughts, we will notice our thoughts simply fade away. Observation, alone, is quieting. Do not think about your thoughts – for that is just another thought. Observe. Be the observer. From breath to breath, in each holy instant of time, simply watch your thoughts.
Sometimes in meditation we may choose to direct our thoughts toward others or specific situations in our lives. In Loving-Kindness Sharon Salzberg writes about “metta,” translated as “love” or “loving-kindness.”
The spirit of metta is unconditional: open and unobstructed. Like water poured from one vessel to another, metta flows freely, taking the shape of each situation without changing [love’s] essence.
As you imagine yourself pouring your love into another vessel (e.g., someone in your life), imagine yourself breathing in love and then breathing out love – toward another person or into situations in your life. Then, over time, see how those relationships grow and deepen. Observe.
As you deeply connect with the light and love within, feel your entire body with each breath. Eckhart Tolle talks about one portal into the unmanifested (spirit) being the intense feeling of our entire body. As you breathe in love, observe that feeling. As you breathe out love, observe that feeling. Feel the flow of love with every fiber of your body – be.
In each instant, and in every breath – observe – be.
In time you will attract people, books, and situations which will help you advance your meditative practice. An enlightened phrase is, “When the student is really ready she will realize the teacher is with her always and everywhere.” Observe this teaching. Then select and use what is true for you and discard the rest.
These are a few thoughts on meditation. The critical points are (a) just do it, and (b) you know.
Benefits from a Meditative Life
Exercising our minds will help in every area of life. We will have greater presence in our relationships. We will become more mindful and creative in our work.
Time will change. We will become more patient and persistent as we gain a timeless perspective. But, paradoxically, we may become impatient when others do not see the same timeless vision we do.
As we draw closer to the intense and loving light within, our lives become more intense. We will be more comfortable in intense situations, realizing those situations do not define us. Our serene intensity will attract others into our life.
When you find the way others will find you.
Passing by on the road they will be drawn to your door.
The way that cannot be heard will be echoed in your voice.
The way that cannot be seen will be reflected in your eyes.
– Lao-tzu in Tao-te Ching
Just do it. Be more connected, grounded, and centered. Be more in the flow and more creative.
Be still and know.