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 and let go until we are just sitting with no thought, no self...just being. Meditation does not need to be sexy, goal-oriented, or the visualization of dreams coming true. That being said, meditation does not need to be cut off from the joys of life or be separate and dry. Life in our society 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 a big screen of their thoughts, their body sensations, and 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 in hopes of drowning out the noise in our heads. Others have strict programs of many hours of discipline, sitting and staring. This can be like boot camp for the strong. Many try and give up, as they find too many distractions. 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.
We don’t realize that meditation is soaking the feet of our awareness in the safest 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 embracing 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 may be, is a place of simple breath and 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 quietness. It’s just that 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 each phase of life seems to come with new demands and waves of its 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 ourselves 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 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 with seemingly no boundaries, true love comes forward in our awareness. There is only love.