WILL MEDITATION LEAD TO AWAKENING?
The question of meditation will inevitably arise on the path of awakening. Of course, meditation as a practice for the novice on the spiritual path or the one who is seeking peace, is absolutely vital ... as it provides a view of the gap between thoughts. But I'm talking about the more experienced seeker ... the one who's been meditating for years and yet still is seeking an abiding state of peace or true self-realization and liberation.
For this one, the question arises ... to meditate, or not to meditate? Is a dedicated meditation practice the only road to enlightenment ... or is the direct route of recognizing “what is already free” a better way? Should all effort be put into achieving a higher state of consciousness ... or is it best to simply let go of any effort to do anything at all?
And if I make no effort, how do I awaken? Isn’t there something I need to do? How do I transcend thinking? How do I shift into an awakened state? Maybe if I read enough books or listen to enough spiritual teachers, I will get it?
To meditate, or not to meditate? The question is a conundrum to the mind that seeks satisfaction. The mind seeks a definitive answer, as if this would bring an end to mind’s unease. The personhood seeks certainty, as if the certainty of “spiritual progress” would bestow a badge of worthiness or specialness.
But the question of meditation cannot be answered by the mind. It can only be realized when silence has become the bedrock of your life. This silence is not about closing the doors, turning off the phone and lighting some candles. Nor is it to do with trying to get rid of your thoughts, or imagining the perfect sanctuary of peace.
This silence happens when you stop giving attention to the narratives that wrap themselves around your experience of reality. This silence happens when you turn towards tenderness every time an unwanted feeling enters your inner landscape. This silence happens when you have surrendered all resistance to what is. This silence happens when you are no longer the center of your universe, when you have become without a center and the whole universe is in you. Without resistance, there is no inner conflict, no inner division, no outside and no inside, no barrier and no boundary.
When you know your true nature as silence, there is no need to do meditation. In true silence, you ARE meditation.
True meditation is a state of being. It is your natural open state. In your natural open state, there is nothing to move away from and nothing to move towards. You are simply and irrevocably here. There is no longer a question ... because in silence all questions fall away.
So, it’s not about whether you meditate or not. It’s about whether you can fall into the silence that is always here prior to your ideas of what meditation is or what it can give you or where it can take you. Whether you sit in deep stillness or whether you are doing something in the world, this silence is always here. It is in you, as being-ness itself.
Being-ness does not need to do meditation ... it IS meditation.
I am often asked whether I meditate or not, and I sort of shake my head, unable to give a definitive answer. Did I used to do meditation? Yes. Until meditation swallowed me up and all that was left was silence. Now the whole of life is meditation, without doing a practice, without trying to get anywhere, without trying to change anything. Now ... I AM meditation.
Now, as a "spiritual teacher", when I am asked whether meditation should be practiced, I say "please ask a different question". The question is ... "how can I meet myself and meet the world as silence?" This question is likely to turn the mind around from its horizontal searching into the vertical inquiry, where a deeper truth can be revealed.
My friend, meditation is not enough ... there needs to be a living inquiry as well. And this is found in the relationship between you and yourself, you and the world, you and life. My friend, can you meet everything as the silence that exists prior to thought and feeling? This silence is the doorway to true awakening and freedom.
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Thanks for reading.