Saturday, March 27, 2010
Meditate on Nothing
Meditate on Nothing
Meditate on nothing? Sounds like a contradiction. A wonderful book by Diana St. Ruth, called "A Guide to Buddhist Sitting Meditation" explains it well. Find a suitable place for meditation: quiet, peaceful, most importantly, intentional. Sit comfortably; arms in lap, palms up; eyes closed or half-closed. Breath in, breath out; counting silently to yourself; "One". In and out, count "Two". Breath naturally, not trying to control yourself in anyway. When you reach Ten, begin again. Most likely, you will become distracted by sensations, thoughts and noises. Acknowledge them and dismiss them quickly, beginning again at one. If you mindlessly go beyond ten, begin again. So you are intentionally meditating on nothing. Some find it helpful to stare at a gently moving object, such as a plume of incense smoke, a candle flame (be sure it is far enough away as to not hurt your eyes) or your own abdomen. While learning this technique, I preferred to stare at a weeping willow tree blowing in the wind. There was one visible from my mediation spot.
You will be surprised how much chatter is going on in your head. (or perhaps you will not) Make no judgment about what is happening with your mediation. It is neither good nor bad. It is, what it is; just so. It is perfect. It may be weeks or months before you will experience a moment when there is space between your thoughts. You of course, being human, will become so excited, you will distract yourself with thoughts of rejoicing and need to dismiss those and begin again. Then, in your trying very hard to re-capture the moment, may be too distracted to find the "Nothing" again during that meditation session. Dismiss it, it means nothing.
The counting to ten, is merely an exercise. Soon your ability to tap into calmness and concentration will develop. Move on when you feel it is time. You may be able to reach this state (of a quiet mind) while involved in any and all activities; washing dishes, running, walking, or taking a few moments to sit in the sun. For me, the natural world; trees, birds, flowers, wind, sun, water, rain, leaves, new growth, etc, are all sources of great power and peace through which I can access calmness and concentration.
Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed. Lao-TsuBe ever mindful, throughout the twenty-four hours of the day, to apply yourselves to the study of the Unthinkable. Daito Kokushi
A Monk asked Yueh-shan, "What does one think of while
"One thinks of not-thinking," the Master replied.
"How does one think of not-thinking?" the monk asked.
"Without thinking," the Master said.
As someone in chronic pain, I highly recommend a book, or a book on CD called, "Journey Into Healing", by Depok Chopra. It is extremely practical and includes a guide to mindfulness meditation. The CD only runs about an hour. Listening to it during a rest, is a fantastic way to both relax and learn to meditate . The spoken words are intermixed with short interludes of New-age type music.