How To Meditate 1 – Why Meditate?
How To Meditate 1 – Why Meditate?
Ahh, meditation. Currently, there is so much written about it, so many saying how beneficial it is and urging us to sit twice a day, so many different meditation techniques and classes, it can be overwhelming. These days, people may feel meditation is passé or unimportant, or conversely, insist that it’s the most important thing to do, and then stress over how to meditate “right,” muster the discipline and time to keep up their daily practice, and even ask, “Why should I give an hour or more of my life everyday to just siting here doing nothing; it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere?”
That’s a shame, because meditation is so beneficial and so simple. Meditation just means being present. Meditation, correctly practiced, just means being present with what is. And being totally present with what is, is not something you do for just 30-60 minutes a day, it’s the state you want to be living in all the time. Why would you ever want to be un-present to what is, even for a moment? It’ll certainly make you unsatisfied, stuck in your head, or even crash your car. Conversely, being fully present all the time makes you feel supremely satisfied with how things are right now, and in every moment. It makes you a great friend, because you’re really listening to what the other has to say, instead of already thinking about how you’ll reply. And it makes space in you for a full Awakening to take place, because you can’t be present, and be in your head identified with your thoughts, at the same time,
If someone suggested you should meditate every day, conjuring up images of you sitting still relentlessly, focusing on a mantra or your breath, while your back & legs were hurting and time to do the “important” things in your life was slipping by, you may not feel inclined to take them up on it.
On the other hand, if someone suggested, “Hey, let’s get really present, and stay that way all day long,” you’d likely say “Sure, that sounds ideal!” Developing & sticking with a daily practice of meditation can sound like a chore, something you have to set aside time for, something you must push yourself to do. Being present doesn’t sound like something you do, it sounds like something you are. And, indeed, you are Spirit and you are a human Being. However, most of us spend all our time being a human Doing.
We think getting things done, figuring things out, controlling things, planning, setting goals and going after them, is the way to be a satisfied human Being. Since thoughts, desires, moods, and bodies are changing (and eventually dying) all the time, and control is just an illusion, spending all your time doing to try to appease those aspects of yourself always results in an unsatisfied human Doing. Always. If you don’t believe that, just spend all your time doing and pursuing your goals, and watch what happens in your life. You’ll achieve some of them, for sure, and you’ll experience some temporary “satisfaction” when you do. Watch what happens next. You’ll start to feel dissatisfied, acquire a new set of desires, and become a doing machine all over again to reach the next plateau. Or, just as likely, you’ll commence “doing” at a faster, more stressful pace than ever to try to protect & hold onto whatever you achieved.
As humans, we will always be doing things, it’s in our nature. But who are we really. Are we just this bag of brain & biological parts that spends its whole life doing, acquiring and then losing everything we acquired at death? Shakespeare’s “Tale told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, signifying nothing?” Or are we the Being, the Awareness, that resides behind all of that scurrying about, watching, experiencing, letting go, all in perfect peace & equanimity? We Are That.
Ultimately, nothing need get done by us. It’s all Awareness, or Spirit, acting through us. Still, we will both do lots of stuff every day of our lives, and think we’re the one doing it. We identify with the ‘doer.’ That’s where the simple meditation of Being Present comes in.
“One who sees the inaction in action and action in inaction – he is a wise being.” – Krishna, from the Bhagavad Gita
Our “goal” is to rest in the Awareness of non-doing, or no “I,” even as we’re doing. To rest in the deep peaceful awareness of Now, even as we perceive getting things accomplished over “time.” To celebrate the fullness and precise perfection of “what is,” even as we try to alter & adjust things to be “better.” To experience the bliss of limitless Being, even as we experience all the trials & tribulations of our limited “doing.”
Over the next few How To Meditate posts, we’ll clarify how to easily drop into this experience of Being and being Present, using both formal sitting meditation and all-day Awareness meditation done throughout all that you are doing. The “how-to” is amazingly simple, the practice effortless, and the benefits so limitless and so worth it.