It was Tuesday afternoon.
The ‘Final Death‘ stage heavily loomed over one of the most important relationships in my life. The conversation, which I messily started via text, was officially sent and I stood there in my condo feeling completely empty.
As I thought about how to fill this inner void, my mind explored the various ‘resources’ I would typically use to distract myself from the discomfort. As I wandered my eyes towards my TV, laptop, kindle and bed, not one of them gave me the feeling that they would be able to fulfill me this time. For once, I had nowhere to turn… nowhere to run.
I dropped to my knees, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and it began…
To add some context, rewind 7 years ago to when I thought meditation was an absolute joke. Nothing but fluffy BS. I took great pride in my youthful, buzzing, untamed mind and couldn’t imagine spending a second trying to slow it down, never-mind stoping it altogether. However, when I jumped into the world of personal development in 2012, I was led towards this unique practice that is rather uncommon in the western world. As I studied it on an intellectual level, it began to make more and more sense, but as I tried to put it into practice, I could never really get it to ‘stick’. In 2015, after I completely lost my cool on a family member, I began to take it more seriously, but still it seemed forced and never really sustained itself as a regular, everyday practice. Even a 10-day meditation retreat in the mountains of Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama in exile, couldn’t get me in the groove.
However, here, on this random Tuesday, brought to my knees, in a concrete building within a concrete jungle, the skill unexpectedly took root in me.
At first, my mind began unconsciously working, while I still remained aware of myself. As I moved into the passenger seat of consciousness, I noticed as it began to play a game of sorts with my thoughts. With each passing thought, instead of being dragged deeper into it or rejecting it altogether, my mind started to consciously remind me “Hey, it’s just a thought… it doesn’t have to remain here with us.” Over and over, like a gentler version of Duck Hunt, my mind continued to lead me in focusing in on my thoughts, and rather than shooting them down – smile, nod and watch them fizzle into the ether. For the first time in my life, I was barely ‘doing’ anything yet my mind was becoming free. As the thoughts failed to pull me in, I began to feel lighter as the energy rushed through me in a way that I could feel the sensation. Meditation had become my medication.
Since that fateful day, meditation has not just become a common practice, but is gradually evolving into a way of life. This post itself not only was inspired through meditation, but was written in meditation. In every session, I take one more step back from needing control, releasing the reigns and allowing myself to learn from this mysterious teacher. With the foundation of ‘no thought’ in place, during certain sessions I am now able to remove sensations of separation and reach a state in which it feels like I’m floating. I’m also able to trigger emotional releases almost on demand.
It’s pretty damn cool and I’m excited to see where else it takes me.
That’s my journey (in a nutshell) into meditation, but that’s not the main intention of my post.
Today’s post is destroy the notion that there is “a” path into meditation.
To shoot down the idea that there is an objective route to be followed.
That there there is a ‘right’ way to go.
Each and every one of you will find your own way. And not just in meditation, but in life itself.
From my experience, meditation is not something you can start to ‘do’.
As the wise Alan Watts once said, “Trying to meditate is like trying to smooth ripples in water with a flat iron.”
It’s something that ‘happens’ to you, bearing in mind that this happening only appears because of the struggle in efforts of ‘trying’ and ‘doing’. That might be a bit complicated to wrap your head around if you haven’t listened to Alan Watts lectures on the idea of a do-happening, but all you really need to take away from that statement is that, on your own journey, you must try to do until eventually, it unexpectedly happens to you.
You won’t know the moment it will arrive, but must walk in trust it will. That has been a major struggle for me since my whole life I’ve been conditioned to always maintain an element of control. And while wise advice in some regards, it can be very limiting on the journey into self-awareness. What I’ve learned in dealing with this constant need for control is to go at your own pace. Relieve control in a progressive manner. Start small. Next time you go to a restaurant ask the waitress/waiter to choose something for you. Next time you want to go to the movies, get your friend to choose it. As you take it in stride with what feels right for you, your capacity to allow, to let happen, will increase.
Finally, remember meditation is not just about ‘no thought’. It’s not just about sitting, with your legs crossed, with no thoughts rushing through your head. That is just but merely one application of meditation. The practice itself is so much more powerful. You can use it to take you into experiencing emotions, understanding fantasies, detaching from reality, and understanding your true essence as the life force itself.
This said, go forth and embrace your journey into meditation… for it was never intended to ‘take you anywhere‘ but rather ‘show you anywhere‘ as you travel through this lifetime.