All traditions and religions describe some form of enlightenment or spiritual awakening. Unfortunately most people are spiritually asleep, some snoring soundly. Meditation is our wake up call, when we rub the sleep of ignorance from our eyes and begin to enjoy the great bounty that awaits us.
The good news is that we’re all already enlightened, we’re all perfect in every way. Perfectly happy, perfectly healthy, all our desires are instantly fulfilled. I know you’re rolling your eyes but, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Sadly, the bad news is that we’ve forgotten it and thus live less than perfect lives where we get sick, depressed, frustrate and so on. Meditation is the journey back to perfection and, in the process, we are showered with its gifts..
Most people spend their lives looking to the external world for happiness and certainly we all have periods when we feel happy. However, external happiness is rarely lasting and most of the time we’re on an emotional roller coaster – someone pays me a compliment and I feel happy, the next day they ignore me and I’m miserable. Meditation takes us on a journey from external activity to inner silence from the chaos and confusion of forgetfulness to the peace and quiet of remembrance. Remembering the joy and bliss that we always are.
For the most part, our lives are very limited. Our thoughts and actions are a result of our memories and desires. I do an action which creates a memory, this in turn generates a desire, which leads to further action. For example, if I go to Starbucks and drink a cup of their coffee for the first time, this was my action. This creates a memory, now I know what Starbucks coffee taste like. If I enjoyed the coffee, I might have the desire to return the next day for another cup and so the cycle goes on. Even though we like to think we have freewill, most of the time we repeat the same old habits, the same social conditioning. We are prisoners of our own beliefs, fears and doubts. We live our lives like that little hamster running in his wheel, thinking we’re getting somewhere, while in fact most of the time we’re just going round and round. Our possibilities are very limited.
Meditation guides us to turn our awareness within, to discover a deeper meaning in life.
We realize that there’s more to life than just repeating to same things over and over. There’s more to life than grasping for material happiness. The journey to infinite possibilities begins.
The teacher and mystic Osho called meditation “The first and last freedom”. It’s the freedom we were born from and the freedom we can return to. When we give up all the concepts, the stories, all the limiting beliefs and constricting attachments, we’ll be free to live the life we were born to enjoy. Meditation is the key to reconnecting with this life. Meditation awakens us to what’s already here, always has been and always will be. As the Sufi poet Rumi said, “I have lived on the lip of insanity, searching for Truth, I was knocking on the door, the door opens, I was knocking from the inside”.
Meditation is Being rather than doing, it’s being aware, being the observer rather than the doer. Although we call it the practice of meditation, it’s is really about doing nothing. Meditation is doing less to accomplish more and doing nothing to have the potential for everything. When you are doing nothing, you are meditating. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, just listen to the wisdom within the silence. Of course we cannot create silence, we can only create noise and most of us are pretty good at that. However, when we allow the noise to settle, the silence that’s always there, reveals itself. To quote Osho again, “Collapse into silence”. When asked why he didn’t give more lectures, Ramana Maharshi said, “The only reason I speak at all is for the benefit of those who don’t understand the message in my silence”. Although silence is often thought of as something negative or an emptiness, it is actually full of the potential for everything. It contains the wisdom of the Universe in seed form. Nothing can touch or disturb your inner silence and only you have the power to enter it, because it is You. It’s your Universe waiting to unfold.
Meditation is to be aware of the present moment and, although it may sound odd, most of the time we are not here. Our thoughts take us into the future or the past so consequently, that’s where we spend most of our lives. However, we are not our thoughts. We are the one who thinks the thoughts. So the only place where the real you can be, is in the spaces between the thoughts. Meditation takes us to quieter and quieter levels of the thinking process until we slip into the spaces between our thoughts. Here we rediscover our true Self, the person who we really are and always have been. The Self beyond the ideas and concepts, beyond the self-made prison, beyond anything our limited self can imagine. The Self who is always with us, always ready to support and guide us, always watching over us. Meditation means to be aware of what we are doing, rather than being consumed by the doing. When we live our lives with awareness, our whole life becomes a meditation. We regain Self-awareness and enjoy the fullness of life on all levels.
In the New Testament Jesus says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within”. In the Gnostic Gospels he says, “When you make the two one, the inner as the outer, the above as the below, the male and female into a single one, then you shall enter the Kingdom”. Meditation a journey through all the layers of our life, until we reach the source of everything, Pure Consciousness. We realize that everything is Pure Consciousness expressing itself in different forms and disguises. This is the coming together of all opposites, the end of separation. Just as the wave has its own individuality but cannot be separated from the ocean, so we have our individual consciousness but, with meditation, realize that we are One with the ocean of Pure Consciousness.
When we don’t forgive, we are the ones who suffer. How many times do you hear people complaining about someone who’s been dead for years. Do you think the dead person is bothered about how the other feels? When we don’t forgive, we remain energetically connected to the other person and allow ourselves to be drained of our personal power. The deep rest we receive during meditation allows the stresses to begin to dissolve, bringing the growth of acceptance, understanding and compassion. We move beyond fear, anger and resentments and once again take responsibility for our own lives.
In our essence, we are Pure Love. Sadly, nowadays, most people have forgotten how to love and who to love. As the Indian poet Tagore said, “While God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones”. Fear contracts while love expands. Meditation reconnects us with the infinite
so the heart expands fully and once again we fall in love with all creation. When we learn to truly love and think from our hearts, all good things spontaneously flow into our lives.
Life is a long journey and like any journey, sometimes we may feel lost and confused. It’s been said that all sickness is some form of home-sickness. Meditation takes us to that safe secure place deep within. The place where the storms and conflicts of life can no longer touch us. The place where we can rest, nourished and nurtured. Meditation is our journey Home.
Meditation has many, many gifts to bless all areas of our lives. The the greatest gift anyone can give themselves is the gift of meditation itself.