The other day, I was sitting in the Himalayas along with a group of friends, all meditators, and my guru was leading us into a long silent meditation. I heard him saying something about how our minds are used to looking for questions and then looking for satisfying answers to these questions. How we’re happy when we feel we’ve found an insightful question, and we’re really happy when we believe we have the right answer.
The last words I heard were: Close your eyes; Don’t speak; Don’t Listen.
As I sat with my eyes closed, I understood that speaking is the same as thinking, or coming up with questions. Listening is the same as waiting for answers. I decided to try to sit and not speak and not listen.
I noticed my mind habitually going towards thinking something, commenting in whispers about the situation, or attempting to figure out some answer to a question. I resisted these automatic habits. With no speaking and no listening, I was left in between all thoughts. I had to hover there, resisting allowing thought in any direction.
When you can just sit and not think, all that is left is a still and alert awareness. There are no mind activities, but the fullness of your alertness and life are not at all diminished. This means that even without thinking, your full presence is not at all gone, rather the real existence of yourself is in that moment undeniable.
Original meditation is this simple, still and focused discipline. You might be wondering, “Why would anyone want to do that?” We have been filled with ideas that meditation is for some purpose: for relaxation or stress-management, or for gaining control of a monkey mind.
Our minds like to have a good reason to do actions, and we like to believe in concrete results to our actions. Do we ever value simply sitting and being still, and having a direct, undistracted vision of who is actually present, who we are when we are not obscured or distracted by our own thinking, or by the weather of the world around us? Who is present throughout all situations, in all moments of our life?
This still and direct knowledge of your own pure presence is discovered in original meditation practice.
Why would one want to know who is real, living and present?
I believe we all do.
Join Padma in the Himalayas for the OM Meditation Retreat September, 2014.