The posts on this blog have spoken much about various practices and about some practical suggestions (even if of general and superficial character) which can be experimented on by anyone with a little charge of “good will”.
What hasn’t been faced much, even if mentioned in a theoretical and practical way, is the practice and the concept of meditation.
Even if we are aware of the fact that it is impossible to face the topic of “meditation” in a theoretical way, we’ll redeem ourselves by dedicating some posts which will speak about three aspects of the practice of meditation and meditation itself. If you still don’t know the difference between meditation and the practice of meditation, we’ll suggest to read first this post, then continue with the following one. The three aspects are: naturalness, the mind’s ”refuge” and the emptiness. Once more, these three topics can’t in any way explain meditation, or as practice or as state of being; they are just some concepts to which we should pay attention in order to begin or deepen a practice.
We could intend meditation in thousands of ways, but there’s no single definition which could contain its meaning; namely, if we speak about meditation in it’s true, essential meaning, it can’t be limited to a single definition, as usually happens. In order to accept something, mind has the tendency to understand it with a linear way of thinking, but meditation can’t be understood in such a way. Something that goes beyond the linear mind can’t be enclosed in an elementary model.
So, as we can all witness with a bit more attention, everyone describes the practice of meditation in accordance to a determined tradition or religious belief, such as, that an ancient and fundamental tool for inner development could be just this or that thing, with some specific rules and limited purposes. “Follow your breath”, “repeat a mantram”, “meditate while walking”, “meditation helps to stop thoughts, to relax, to this or to that”…. yes, meditation allows many of these things and also could seem to be many of these things. But it is not enough. Maybe meditation can only be experienced, but not explained.
So, we’ll surely not try here to give an “alternative” or “enlightening” definition of this ancient science for inner and spiritual development, but rather to mention some aspects that could help to achieve some particular concepts that could allow an easier approach.
In our daily life, in our job and even our self- development, there is always an associative relation with the idea of “effort” and “gaining something”. We feel to have always something to achieve. We commit ourselves to achieve something and the reward must be guaranteed. Of course, there’s nothing wrong in work to achieve something, but beyond that there’s a mechanical attitude that tends to be more focused in the results rather than in the action itself. It’s one of the most common conditionings in our contemporary society. We act exclusively to gain some advantage. In this way, during an action, our mind is identified with the goal, and this produces emotional oscillations proportional to the subjective feeling we have if the aim seems closer or further away.
We expect something – a result, and expectation is one of the more subtle poisons for a path in inner development.
Ok, to avoid any misunderstanding, we don’t state here that it’s wrong to wait for some result as consequence of our efforts, but there’s a huge difference between acting to pursue a goal and limiting or denying the action because of the continuous preoccupation concerning the result. It’s so subtle a behaviour that is one of the most difficult to be noticed when it happens. We are too accustomed to distracting our intellect with emotions or, oppositely, to be stuck in any creative flow with obsessive and mechanical thoughts. We put a spoke in the wheel to ourselves.
In this field, meditation is a very effective mean to overcome such limitations. Indeed, it can release us from the tendency to oscillate because of our preoccupations related to the goals we intend to achieve. It develops a huge capacity for emotional detachment and an increasing of mental clarity, of course, if we don’t bring these same preoccupations to the practice of meditation itself; namely, we have to practice meditation without the anxiety and urge to achieve a predetermined goal, because this would deny the possibility to access a real meditative state.
So, differently from other practices such as, for example, the practice of self -observation, meditation has nothing to deal with the concept of “effort”, nor does it have anything to do with expecting something. But, if we haven’t a goal, why should we spend time in this practice?
Here comes in charge one of the aspects of meditation (beware, this doesn’t describe meditation, its an aspect of it): naturalness.
What should this mean? Nothing mysterious, nothing “esoteric”, just following the natural rythms. Everything has its own nature that responds to the natural laws. So, natural means in accordance with the natural flow (laws), so in accordance with Nature. That’s all. The most simple thing that should be understood. Indeed, animals and vegetals following the natural flow is a… natural thing, it’s spontaneous. But this is not so for humans.
In order to overcome many environmental limits and dangers to which all species are subjected, humans use their “higher thinking brain”; so, they found different solutions, tried and created new ways to survive in the hostile natural environment to the degree that seeking for new solutions and ways became part of the innate human nature. So, the slow passing from the caves to the metropolis is part of human nature, because nature has provided us with skills and capacities that are not present in the other species of the animal realm. And this is one of the reasons why the contemporary, as well as humans in the past, consider intellect a fundamental function.
But, is the possibility to use our intellect the only skill that Mother Nature has given us? The answer could sound a little strange for many, but it is simple: no.
So, what else do we have at our disposal but we usually still ignore? What is the effective synthesis of the human being? Once more it could sound strange this time also for many insiders in a work on themselves that have no consideration about meditation, but the practice of meditation entails the discovery of our true nature, our essence, what lies behind all our known and unknown abilities.
So, as stated by a popular Zen quote, “sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself”, during the practice of meditation we accept to clear our mind of all that we think and consider to know, and also we leave out all the preoccupations, tensions and anxieties.
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. Possible? Yes, all is possible with an appropriate and diligent training.
We have to leave all our convictions and ideas concerning ourselves and the world in general. We have to enter into a clear, calm, serene and empty space. In such a space, we await the manifestation of our true nature, but without making any attempt to find it. We have just to be, as natural as we are.
And this is a fundamental aspect of the practice of meditation.
All that we consider to be, our illusory self, never mind if it manifests itself as a manager, a believer, a father, mother, Gurdjieffian, even a meditator…. we simply focus kindly and without intellectual effort to the meditative technique, allowing all to flow as it flows, without pretentions or expectations.
This is a peculiar aspect of the meditative practice that could bring us to a source of a surprising power that, through time could manifest itself not only during the meditation, but also in our daily life. A stable, continuous force associated with a profound stillness and calmness towards every kind of adversity. It’s something that in our contemporary society is not only rare, but also precious: allowing the lucidity and the qualities of our true nature to emerge during our daily life.
One thing that should be said to avoid further misunderstandings, words as “naturalness” and “allowing” doesn’t mean to express passivity and less activity: on the contrary, we become more active and resolute, and don’t spend energies in identifications of various types, preoccupations, anxieties, tensions and negative inner dispositions.
To speak in technical terms, while sitting in meditative practice, we have to find the most natural posture, breath and inner disposition. The more we are “natural”, the more we approach the state of consciousness defined in meditation.
Theories, ponderings, and academic abstractions don’t have a place during this practice; nor do we have to seek for something “special”; we have just to sit down and “be”.
It’s obvious that, at the beginning, everything will seem all but natural – the position, the immobility, breath. But, if we succeed in overcoming the temptation of changing something to make it “special” , to define some goal that has to be achieved in this practice, to interpret what is happening (and all these are not easy tasks), we could experience these moments of “meditation” as a returning to the source of what we really are, maybe experience for the first time in our lives what it means to be ourselves in the objective meaning of the term.
An exaggeration? No, just pure, natural, unconditioned and uncolored meditation.
- "Gurdjieff's Meditations"
- Art Of Memory
- Diary of a Pupil
- Fourth Way
- Gurdjieff's system
- Inspirational Stories for our Being
- Jiddu Krishnamurti on Meditation
- Krishnamurti's Core Teachings
- KRISHNAMURTI'S NOTEBOOK
- Quotations on Wisdom And Awakening
- Self Observation
- Suggested Readings
- Tai Chi
- The Art of Listening
- The Book of Little things
- The power of Vibration
- The Walker on the Waters
- Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti
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- "Gurdjieff's Meditations" Art Of Memory Awareness Buddhism Diary of a Pupil Exercises Fourth Way Freedom Gurdjieff Gurdjieff's system Inspirational Stories for our Being Jiddu Krishnamurti on Meditation Krishnamurti's Core Teachings KRISHNAMURTI'S NOTEBOOK Ponderings Quotations on Wisdom And Awakening Sarmoung Self Observation Suggested Readings Tai Chi The Art of Listening The Book of Little things The power of Vibration The Walker on the Waters Uncategorized Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti
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