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A Contemplation on Meditation…

A contemplation on meditation:

Many people have a very lofty notion of what “meditation” is, or what the experience is supposed to be like: namely, that “meditation” is about sitting with one’s mind silent, unthinking.

But the mind isn’t going to stop. That’s not it’s job (and after all, you are not your mind). The mind is going to keep on working, throwing thoughts and desires and emotions your way – and the point of meditation is to accept all of those things. It’s sitting in simple awareness of those thoughts when they arise, but then letting them go.

The problem is that seeking “meditation” (a silent mind) will both be infuriating, and will put your meditation in a position where you are seeking something outside of yourself. And, of course, you are perfect just as you are, so sitting with that aspiration is self-abusive. The Hindu scriptures put it pretty neatly: “Even the desire for liberation is a bondage.”

So for me, the purpose of meditation is not to be liberated, or even to get peaceful, but to accustom myself to the discomfort of meditation – and to know that the discomfort is okay.

My mind does what it does, throws a thought out while I’m doing my meditation thing, and (when I’m at my best meditative self), I see the thought and let it go. Sometimes it’s a really distracting or “triggering” thought – the mind is really damn good at getting our attention – and to that, I tell the thought I love it, and let it go. Soon there’s another thought; I don’t get attached, I let it go.

Another thought arises: I love it, bless it, and say goodbye. To me that’s meditation.

In other words:

Meditation is getting comfortable with the fact that you cannot “meditate”.

The practice of meditation is the ongoing process of getting used to the discomfort of everything your mind throws at you. (And then loving the dismay when you fall short, too)


Follow-up comment:

I know this likely brings up questions on practices, and the how – and while these are perfect and fascinating in and of themselves (including outside/beyond the standard “meditation” stereotype of sitting perfectly still), I’m going to hit them at a later date.

I’m also going to (at some point) hit on the personal nature of it – getting to the fact that all I know is what I know, derived from the traditions I’ve been steeped in, multiplied by my practice. (In other words, put is all through the lens I proposed in the Knowledge vs Wisdom piece: do my words inspire your Self to remember something that might bring you more fulfilment?)

So, a later date, because that personal practice, which has been greatly beneficial for me but also includes a ton of failure and shortcomings and struggles, has also led me to be care and think enough about this to make it an occasional content piece on meditation contemplations.