Beginning Meditation is seriously powerful. In a world where we are literally bombarded with the idea that “excess is better” choosing to unplug and step back from the maelstrom is a significant first step. So congratulations are in order. Well done!
Now, first thing we have to do is clarify exactly what you can expect from when you begin your beginning meditation practice. As well as what exactly is this meditation that everyone is talking about?
If you’re anything like me, this might sound familiar “Sure, it involves sitting still, but how do I actually know I am meditating? It looks like I just sit there and no-one would even really know if I am or not – so just what is going on?”
First thing about beginning meditation is that yes you are simply sitting in stillness. And the second thing is that you will notice your mind skipping from thought to thought to thought. Like a running along the threads of a spider’s web. Outward, away from just sitting – and soon enough you might be planning your next holiday, or going over something that happened to you when you were a kid decades ago.
Your mind is a intricately woven fabric of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows, all jostling for a moment of your attention in the now – a flicker of the spotlight of your focus. And you, being a fair person, allow each thought a measure of time, but not too long, because just as soon as you shine on one thought, there is another eagerly up on it’s toes, bursting to get it’s turn.
So this whole practice of just sitting in stillness is actually an endless cavalcade of thoughts one after the other, all vying for that moment. No wonder you feel distracted and overwhelmed. It’s like wrangling a thousand different hopeful auditions on one of those reality TV shows, one after the other, every waking moment of your life!
So how can beginning meditation actually be good, considering all that?
Well, that’s the next part of this series and you’ll have to read the next post for the instruction. In the meantime, just sit and see where your thoughts take you. And, even see if you can step back from the crowded noise and see if you could lift up, high like a spectator up in the high seats, and just see each thought as it comes and goes as a thought – not as a list of holiday plans or a set of grudges from your past. Just as a thought, that can come and go.
And as you start seeing each thought as a little balloon that wafts up and away on the breeze, also be aware of the little gaps in the line. The pauses where no thought is there yet, and the stage is empty with expectation, silence and just the pleasure of the enormous space. This is when we start to see what meditation is all about.
In that quiet gap, when you have that awareness, but no distracting thought has arrived yet – that is the genesis of meditation. That space is there – but as soon as you notice it and grasp it – you have turned that space itself into a thought – and it materialises as a balloon itself. Only to drift away, and again leave that space.
Now go and practice your beginning meditation.
You know what it is now.