One has read blogs (recently) wherein those composing them write about meditation as if it is something that one can make one’s mind do… as if one can decide to do it (like turning a light switch on or off). Real meditation is not what one can decide to do. The accumulation of knowledge, as the past, cannot (under any circumstances) decide to be what it is not. Any planned or deliberate meditation is not real meditation. Charlatans abound, however, who are all too willing to tell you how to meditate. (It must be very easy to mesmerize yourself, in a rather self-hypnotic way, and then be all too willing to encourage others to do the same with themselves.) There is no “how” to real meditation. If it takes place, it is like a sudden spontaneous silence or quietude that was not (in any way) preplanned and brought about by a mental blueprint or calculated procedure. It may happen when one is walking through a wooded area, or when moving occurs from one room to another, or when sitting (without motive) takes place for a while on the back porch steps. When a bundle of memories, as the accumulated past — called thinking — decide to meditate, what they strive for is loaded with reactions of motive and acquisition. Whatever they reacted to become is an obtrusion of thought that projects with — and reinforces — a learned reaction constituting an image of “me” or “I,” which is itself another extension of thought/thinking. Deciding to sit down and meditate (for any motive), via a learned procedure, merely strengthens the fallacious “I” and its supposed ability (which it really does not have) to alter consciousness to a true and profound silence. The known cannot decide to be the unknown. Conditioned reactions, even sophisticated ones, cannot decide to be the unconditioned.
Awareness can — without the separative nonsense of an “I” apart from and controlling “its” thoughts — function with thinking, and if intelligence functions without calculated, separative psychological nonsense, then perhaps real meditation, without effort, may actually (naturally) occur. However, one cannot decide to meditate any more than one can decide to have — or be — an insight. Neither can one decide to be what humility is.
Another thing that people have been posting about is how they are so sure that everything in their world will turn out to be rosy and wonderful. Fanciful ideas! Because of underlying fears, many have an indoctrinated belief (either on the surface or deeper in their psychological unconscious) that a deity somehow is benevolently pulling the strings for things that go on in their world. Their security blankets, born out of fear (stemming from thinking and psychological time), are their beliefs. Fear, in people, is often buried in the hideaway of concocted belief. These beliefs, unfortunately, often encourage waiting for some future after-death utopia or some external power (to make things better in time). I am suggesting that we grow up (from those blankets), face the fears without separation, and not presume that God created this universe (and continues to manipulate it); (one is not suggesting that the sacred does not exist… on the contrary!). Additionally, if you actually want real security, perceive (without mere imagery) what is actually taking place, and act (don’t merely react) with intelligence and care. Perhaps you could write (like i have done many times) to governments, asking them to curtail nuclear armaments, fossil- fuels, and wars. Do environmentally friendly things, join the Sierra Club (or other such environmental groups), work for a more peaceful, environmentally cleaner world, do more and more green things, actually help life, and then maybe things will be truly wonderful.
I completely agree with you, Thomas, that there are a lot of charlatans regarding meditation. I usually meditate when I start to draw. All thoughts have disappeared, I don’t feel hunger etc. anymore.
Your last paragraph contains very good ideas what people could do and I do hope that you can convince some people to write to governments and to take care of their environment, because it’s the environment of their grandchildren. Most people forget that. Have a nice Sunday, regards Mitza
Thank you, Mitza! 🙂
Drawing, walking in nature, and a lot of things can be when there is a natural (not concocted) unfoldment of the mind where mindfulness or meditation may take place.
We never had children, yet we feel responsible for the health of the future environment for children and nature. I can’t imagine having had children and not bothering to do very much for a better environment!
Are these starlings and juncos? Two often over-looked species that I have come to adore.
Thank you for writing about meditation. For two decades I have tried to meditate as friends have told me and books have directed and none of these ideas have worked. I have maintained that my meditation must be different – I find peace and tranquility in the woodlands and one walks to the river. I cannot describe it except there isn’t a thing that comes to mind – nothing. I walk hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing. Rather it is just being present I suppose. When I do think about these walks – perhaps something brings me back to thought (like Emma or Ronnie showing up!) I can try to think back and realize I just walked with not a thought in my head. But when I tell people this is my way of meditating, they pooh pooh it and say I am not really meditating. I believe I am.
As for your last paragraph, I completely agree. In fact, that is exactly what we purchased the pecan orchard acres for. We have plans to give back to Mother Earth… and I hope we can manage to make the place a sanctuary for wildlife, and for young people to learn. It is an exciting time for us, and it feels very good.
I’m not sure… but i think they are Starlings, Lori. They do have a unique beauty to them!
Meditating to other people’s procedures is calculated and so is never the real thing. The real thing is beyond what the mind can intentionally fabricate. Don’t listen to them when they say that you are not meditating. Who are they to know?! Meditation is not what the mind can “know” that it is doing. Seems like what you are doing, without someone else’s second-hand road map, is excellent! In real meditation, there is a possibility for that sacredness beyond time to visit; but it is not ever likely to visit what merely mesmerizes itself with some kind of absorbed special form of self-hypnosis.
I realize that you do much for nature! Keep it up! Too many destroy nature and don’t care. You two definitely care! 🙂
I wouldn’t know how to meditate, but as you say, quiet moments occur quite naturally sometimes.
And yes – if we want our children’s future to be rosy we have to do something about it right now!
There is no “how” to real meditation. If there is… it likely is merely a special form of self-hypnosis or self-mesmerization. Cherish those natural quiet moments… that may be the real thing!
Yes… we must act now. Too many are not bothering!
I notice how we are all attached to our particular beliefs. 💛
Yes, Val, and we are those beliefs… not something magically separate from what they are. And along with those beliefs — that each one of us exists as — is a learned projection called “I” or “me”… that is associated with “having” or harboring those beliefs.
Sudden spontaneous silence… so true! 🙂
Yes, Nicole! Otherwise, it is merely a part of some absorbed procedure! 🙂
Silence.. that’s my meditation …And I believe in God, but know I am gonna die. Not believing out of fear either. Interesting post
Good about silence; one hopes it is of the deep and meaningful kind! 🙂
Personally, i think i understand what you are saying about God. Personally, one never doubted that there was that tremendous sacredness; however, i don’t consider it to be in the ordinary realm of belief. Calling it belief, for me, is far too superficial. It is much more than that! (If you are a good paleontologist, you don’t have to believe in fossils or in dinosaurs.) Of course, fear has nothing to do with it; and i strongly suspect that this is a similar thing with you. 🙂
Can it directly visit one in a way that most people would call miraculous? I say “yes,”… but don’t believe me! Find out for yourself.
Very nicely said. I don’t ask God to directly visit me, but it is tempting . Rather I see The likeness of God in different ways. I think we speak closely the same here my friend .
Maybe; maybe not. 🙂 Asking for a visit…would be greedy and what groping is. Being innocently empty, such that one is beyond greed, asking, groping, achievement, man’s silly psychological procedures, and merely wanting… is something else. That something else may be timeless. It may be that only in the timeless that what is beyond time may exist. Suffering and limitation are all involved with (and immersed in) psychological time. The limitless does not — and will not — immerse itself directly into the limited.
I never understand how people can hope for a better world by praying and without facing the reality (particularly people). Thank you for your insights, Tom.
Dear Tom, I thought this was an incredibly insightful and innovative blog post. I think we live in a world of buzz worlds and quick fixes and inspirational quotes – and that’s all fine and dandy. For me, arriving at the introduction to meditation and then the subsequent exploration was a series of internal events (mental and physical pain), external events – a bit of serendipity I suppose, but it came together for me in a way that worked for me. If anyone wants go put “mindfulness” and “meditation” on their on-line dating profile – I have no problem with that. Meditation is not a toy, but a bit of awareness about it can potentially be a good first step. I think how we explore meditation is connected to our values, and that in itself makes it a very personal thing. I am not going to opt to share my personal journey because I don’t want it to be perceived as the right way, but meditation is incredibly intimate, it’s not a multi-vitamin. It just is what it is and the acceptance of it is what it is can be the biggest barrier and the biggest breakthrough.
Thank you for this great posting. I am feeling slightly stirred and not shaken.
Thanks, Harlon! 🙂
Fortunately, while in high school (in the ’60’s) i was interested in hypnosis and self-hypnosis before i delved into meditation. I quickly realized that a lot of what was being pawned off as meditation was really just a glorified special form of self-hypnosis. It, like you suggest, is certainly not a toy. A lot of people, though, treat it as if it is another form of entertainment.
Personally, this movement doesn’t think that it is very immersed in personal values or opinions… since it is what transcends individualism, conditioning, and psychological time. Yes, it can be a huge barrier if one is merely practicing some dead method. On the other hand, there is an effortless kind that truly can be the biggest breakthrough. One thing is for sure; the later kind doesn’t require sitting on one’s behind like a pretzel (to achieve something). 🙂
Interesting post, thoughts and comments all of them, enjoyed. I’ve sat in an Ashram and tried to meditate but fell asleep, I’ve been to yoga classes where we have meditated and that was just what i would describe as a nice feeling. The best way for me to meditate comes when I am engaging in something that I really enjoy doing, a walk in nature for example, and lately I have found just topping and tailing green beans for any length of time the way I used to see my grandmother do, that quietens my mind too and so is meditative.
It was great reading what others thought about meditation.
Wonderful post .Besides, I have listed some wonderful spiritual books in my latest blog. Hope you find them worth a read .
Here’s the link :
I would describe my meditation as a reverie. I go for a walk nearly every day. I observe nature, I talk to animals, trees, grass, anything, or anybody, that I encounter. Often, whilst gazing up into a tree, listening to birds singing, communicating silently, maybe with squirrels, I find that many minutes have elapsed without my being aware of the passage of time. Even so, all that time has been enjoyed immensely. It is a reflection of life, and very special.
I will disagree. 🙂 I have done very calculated meditation: I did it every morning and every evening for quite some time. I added up minutes with daily precision. And it changed my life tremendously. It’s one of the best things I ever scheduled for myself. There is no one way for everyone. Time to explore yourself is as good if scheduled, as if it just happens..