Joy and more joy well up inside me with everyone – because we are meditating with the world. I know that many thousands of people are doing the same; my heart leaps because of that.
We are one: one shared consciousness, one community, one species of living being, One. As a meditator focuses on whatever or on nothing, focuses according to a particular tradition or training of meditation or a quality or deity, etc., the focus itself is the most important. Because of focus – mountain-like concentration and skylike-open mind, the Awareness of heart-mind and the qualities of being embodied in the focus can pervade and emanate into the oneness of humanity. It’s so simple and so true.
Imagine if every person in the world sat for a few minutes. Not necessarily for meditation, but just to sit and do nothing else. For those moments no negative or harmful action would be done, unless the moment was one of negligence. But, let’s imagine that it’s not; that all babies are attended and that the “sit” is when the baby is asleep and that the sickly or elders are also properly loved and attended and that the “sit” is when they, too, are sitting or sleeping. Maybe, if leaders of the world did this, they would notice the living beings of this Earth and feel empathetic and respectful for them. Maybe new insights or inventions or moments of remorse or of love or joy would well up in people just because the moment was given a chance.
We invite the world to sit for a minute or more. Just sit.
The meditation on Saturday (this one) was as simple as they come. But, that’s the point, isn’t it. Whether from Patanjali or Buddha Shakyamuni or all the lineages that derive from them, the instructions in all levels of meditation are fundamentally the same: still the patterning of consciousness so that Awareness can experience itself as IT IS. Along the way of incremental stilling, insights are possible. Due to that, two aspects of awareness can be experienced, known, and – in time – combined. They are tranquility (neutrality) and sharp unrelenting clarity. Both are attributes of awareness: common daily cognitive, analytical awareness and intuitive expansive awareness.
Every meditator who has repeatedly sat has experienced that which is innate: peace, harmonious presence, detachment and altitude, simplicity and simple Being. Each meditator will experience these (and more qualities) uniquely yet the experience(s) are universal. Why? Because Awareness is Awareness, universally shared and participated in by all beings. Just as everyone experiences water as moist or wet, those who practice withdrawal (pratyahara) from external stimuli with consistency, provide opportunities to themselves to experience Awareness as it is. Patanjali’s beginning sutras 2-4 state: “Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then, pure awareness can abide in its very nature. Otherwise, awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.” (Yoga in this context means meditative concentration.)
Buddha Shakyamuni explains what is possible when the mind is focused correctly. “I focused my mind correctly …” as a result “vision arose; knowledge, apprehension, understanding, and realization arose.”* To focus the mind correctly is to first focus it at all! Classically, this is pratyahara (right withdrawal). The mind stills when it is “focused correctly”; that is so no matter what is the cause or object of focus – listening fully to someone, practicing an instrument, gardening, or various spiritual practices. A stilled, or quietened mind – one that is not bent on its own rotary motion – also begins to experience its innate light. Light is clear, light is bright, light is translucent, light sharp and provides intensification of focus. Using classical words, Shamatha has fostered Vipashyana.
Why do we care, if we do? Because these two are the manifest expression of foundational and pervasive qualities of Awareness-Being. Being and shamatha are experientially related. Awareness and vipashyana are experientially related. And, since Awareness-Being is a set of words trying to convey something that is beyond all words and conceptual frames, then shamatha and vipashyana are mechanisms that inculcate that which is beyond conceptual frames of reference within the practitioner. As Buddha said, “vision arose; knowledge, apprehension, understanding, and realization arose.” About what? About anything and everything for him. The same is possible for anyone who focuses the mind correctly.
I apologize to those who use this blog to support a meditation practice and those stopping by for astrology and the series on the houses. Harvest time was consuming, joyfully so, and volunteer time was needed locally too. Doing my best to attend all responsibilities. (smiley heart face)
The Need to Grow is an important, inspiring, and riveting documentary on human agriculture, the destructive and poisonous practices and the backyard organic practices. This award-winning film is free for streaming only through October 15. Here is the link to watch it. We all can grow food sustainably – even in window boxes or on porches. We all can help Mother Earth which means to help ourselves, our loved ones, and the only home we have – Earth.
Imagine yourself being the first caucasian person to go up the Amazon, or cross the Mississippi, or enter the bush of Africa, or set foot on Borneo. You would “discover” what was there. It would be new to you but not to the native people or the animals and plants, the river devas or the mountain spirits.
Our inner discoveries are like that. They were already present and are already present.
I had an interesting experience recently. The roads around here are long and fairly non-trafficked. A car about 1/4 mile ahead became a point of one-pointed focus; not the periphery, the scenery, the speedometer, nothing but the space between the back fender of that car and the long road. Pretty quickly the periphery came more into view, wider and sharp but – at the same time – as no thing. I saw everything but paid attention to no thing, not even the car 1/4 mile ahead. The experience was that of my senses as functional – fully so – but “me” was nonexistent, thus no distraction and no inner commentary nor concern. When action was required, such as coming into a small town and slowing down, it happened as if the car was driverless, which it kinda was.
This was maintained for 10 minutes or so. Then, in dropping the one-pointedness, the comical “me” mind was back. The discrepancy between the two was laughable and not preferred. I engaged one-pointedness again until approaching the destination.
* Be mindful if you are going to try this. My guess is that one needs to have the capacity to meditatively focus one’s attention as well as have safe driving conditions. None of us needs to produce more karma from foolishness!
The discovery was that expanded function of the senses was immediate and sustained by not having the “me” forefront. I was more aware of my surroundings not less through this concentration and disinterestedness. At the same time, the neutrality felt like an emanatory field pervading the surroundings and the people off in the distance.
I have recited mantra for hours on long drives and/or recited the Heart Sutra repeatedly; and a certain zone is established that is its own type of meditative field and bubble or “pure land.” But, this was different – maybe because it was the first time.
Nothing arose as distinct, nothing got labeled yet every thing was crisp and clear and included within simple being. Lines from the Prajnaparamita came forward occasionally such as “no cessation and no Path; no increase no decrease.” Nothing arose as being particular/individuated therefore no emotion or thought process required a process such as cessation. No habit of consciousness arose thus, again, no ceasing of it was needed nor insight into it. No Path because all was now, present, non-distracted, and had a smathering of non-two. The experience was of a unified field – inner and outer with no “me” to say this or that. No words arose such as road, velocity, truck, etc. thus no thoughts increased. But, since no thoughts arose/increased no thing decreased. The experience was smooth like a sustained shamatha.