Meditation: So Much More Than Watching And Letting Go
Cover Photo by Josh Power
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
Most people are taught when sitting in meditation to watch their thoughts, feelings, everything which comes into awareness and let it go. Focus on your breath. Simply watch what arises and let it go. Focus on your breath.
The preoccupation with watching and letting go in meditation can easily continue the separation of our small mental stream from the great body of awareness of who we really are. The mental activity of watching and letting go can keep us entertained with the busyness of our ego while keeping us from deeper levels of meditation. It is in deeper meditation where we discover the love of our core self and a vast inner universe. In other words, meditation is much more than merely watching and letting go. No wonder many people give up on daily sitting. The endless thoughts, tiredness, boredom that seem to be waiting for us each time we sit are not much reward to continue a meditation practice.
Mindfully watching and letting go can lead to devaluing our thoughts, feelings, the story of our life. When we are told the life passing by our inner screen is only distraction, only clouds covering the large sky of awareness, we can downgrade important parts of who we are. The thoughts and feelings we are watching and hoping will disappear can lose their life force. We can forget there is purpose. In our detached observing and our desire to let everything go, we can be detaching and letting go instead of embracing life. The thoughts, feelings, and story filling our awareness are expressions of our life energy. These are our thoughts, our feelings which we are told are interrupting the clarity of meditation. If we are only watching and letting go we can be separating ourselves from the power, the life juice which our thoughts and feelings come from and are made of. Instead of feeling bigger, we can be left feeling small and unsuccessful. Many people try and quit meditation. They feel it maybe great for others but for me, thinking about not thinking seems like a waste of time and effort.
Watching and letting go of our mental activity by itself can be just an exercise of more mental activity. It can be an unending adventure of the ego watching and trying to let go of itself. Instead of trying to get our grasping ego to let go of itself, there is a loving presence, the love of our natural awareness, inviting us deeper within. The hope and power of meditation is to widen the river of our mental world to the ocean of being that is who we really are. Sitting and waiting for glimpses of clear viewing in the midst of a busy mental stream is not the same as clear being, experiencing awareness as a great body of peaceful presence.
The path to the great love of our core being begins with valuing and embracing the thought and feeling passing in our meditation. Instead of merely watching and letting go, we can embrace our mental stream. When we embrace the stream of thoughts, we are right away including our heart essence. Meditation is this embrace, feeling the presence of our heart in our awareness. This presence is underneath, in, and all around the inner voice, the stream of thought. As our awareness includes the greater presence we find inside, the engine of our mind slows down, the busy voice of our ego calms. Our experience of heart strengthens. We are no longer waiting for a break in the clouds, a clearing in our thoughts. Meditation is feeling the body of presence in our heart. Our meditation is bigger than the thought and feeling floating down our inner river. Meditation is the daily connection with the part of us that is much greater.
With practice, no matter what or how much thought and feeling come and go, we are identifying with something more, a brilliant stillness, the gentle vastness, the awe that is within us. Meditation is changing our identification from the narrow focus on thought and feeling. Meditation is sitting with something greater than today’s page in this chapter of our life story. Meditation is remembering the expansive peace in our heart which is so much more than the ups and downs on any page of our personal story. Meditation is directly receiving our heart essence. Our mental activity lessens as the inner well of our lightness of being is experienced. The strength of the busy mental activity decreases as the awareness of our inner silence grows. We are beginning to experience our core self, our no self with by its magnitude heals the unnecessary habit of always thinking. We can learn to be, heartfully present.
If we are going to take the time to meditate lets not just sit here watching and letting go. More than needing to be mindful, lets be heart full. More than finding a few centering words, we can receive directly the quietude inside which carries us. There are realms of complete acceptance, an intimacy of soul and spirit to discover in deeper meditation.
As the culture of meditation grows and spreads it is important that we guide one another to the true garden, the real fruit which meditation offers. Sacred emptiness waits for us. This emptiness fulfills the part of us, our personality, that is seemingly always struggling. This sanctuary of emptiness heals the part of us that wants more, needs to be busy, that can’t have enough no matter how much we have. There is a home inside of each of us. Its walls, roof, and floor are a diamond light of unlimited emptiness. This home speaks directly to our materialism, greed, anger, and mistrust. Sacredness and holiness are words with meaning as we connect to the very real wordless encounter of a loving emptiness which is full of warm presence.
Meditation is so much more than watching and letting go. Life is much more than observing, letting go of grasping, and trying to control the events and characters of our story. Meditation takes down the veil, lightens the filter, uncovering our essence and true being. Meditation is devotion, understanding, humility, and joy. Meditation is true whenever our heart is involved. We are discovering consciousness. Meditation is washing away everything occupying the Divinity of awareness. This daily bath of our awareness is important if we are to stay in touch with our unworldly self, our true self, our innocence, and life’s beauty. Lets tell everyone hesitant to try or about to give up on meditation, the magical life of your heart and deep joy depend upon it. Meditation, absorbing the essence of our heart, frees our mind. Meditation brings forward the richness of consciousness, inner worlds beyond our imagination, and perhaps most important, the simplicity of this moment of love.