Meditation: A Lot To Do About Nothing And That’s Good!
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
Yes, call it what you want but the goal of meditation is really nothing, the absence of activity. It is our time to unwind, let go, until we are just sitting, sitting with no thought, no self, just being. Meditation does not need to be sexy, goal oriented, the visualization of dreams coming true. And in the opposite extreme meditation does not need to be cut off from the joy of life, all feeling, separate, and dry. Life in our serious, overly mental culture is dry enough. Why meditate for more desert when love is already in short supply?
Meditation is all about coming home. It is enough to come home from all our worldly activity and relax in the best place in town, inside ourselves. If we can not be comfortable here how do we expect to find our comfort in the world?
Most people need something to do. They are afraid of any blank space in their day. Even in meditation, they stay busy. As if to be entertained is in their DNA, meditation can become another form of plugging in. There is the big screen of their thoughts, body sensations, the space around them. They are busy watching, trying to be patient for some results. For some meditation can mean repeating mantras or special words hoping to drown out the noise in our heads. Others have strict programs of many hours of discipline sitting, staring. This can be like boot camp for the strong and able, stamping out unnecessary thought and feeling. Many try and give up, they find too much distraction. There is no time to do nothing when their “to do” list is as long as it is. Sitting still can be scary, lonely, or depressing. Better to stay involved in the world and not open something that I don’t know what I am getting into ie. my feelings.
We don’t realize that meditation is soaking the feet of our awareness in the most safe place in town, in the peaceful waters of our own heart. Meditation is calming. Time to kick off our shoes, sit, relax and do nothing. Meditation is coming home to our own private, personal sanctuary. Here we can reflect, pray, and simply be.
Sitting still becomes easier as we practice receiving the gentle quietude within us. Underneath our busy mind is a deep pool of inner being. Inside, no matter how loud and crazy our daily world maybe, is a place of simple breath, peace. Meditation is a practice where our awareness drops anchor through the rough waves of daily life into the still waters below. Everyone has this inner quiet. Its just the waves can be so big and challenging, we don’t know how to get underneath them. Most people are waiting for a time when the waters of daily life calm down. But graduation, new work, partner, retirement all seem to come with new demands and waves of their own. Much better to learn to meditate.
Meditation takes us beneath the noise in our heads as we practice listening to the soundless bell of our heart. There is a space inside where our awareness can spread. We discover the part of us that is unlimited. As we receive this vastness within, everyday thoughts and feelings find new room. They transform. Putting the feet of our awareness in these waters is cooling, a relief. Our soul body is on vacation. We are recharging in our infinite being in the warm sun of our heart.
So how do we find this place of soulful rest? We meditate. There is a heart inside our heart calling us. Our awareness trained in thinking, planning, worrying, and staying active has a new job. Can we sit and enjoy peace and quiet? Can we receive the deep gentleness of our own heart? Instead of being slaves to our desires and attachments, can we rest in our own emptiness?
Emptiness is the best friend of everyone who enjoys meditation. It is a vast endless space. Light or dark, this emptiness is an inner feeling of openness without boundaries. Emptiness is different on different days. It doesn’t matter. It is emptiness which offers a balance to life’s pressures. It is receiving emptiness which calms the demands and satisfies the cravings. When our awareness rests inside in a space of seemingly no boundaries, the true love comes forward in our awareness. There is only love.