“While meditating we are simply seeing what the mind has been doing all along.” – Allan Lokos
Meditation is not an act or a practice in the same way that going to the gym or reading a book is. It’s not about silencing your mind, or not thinking. In fact, meditation isn’t about doing anything at all.
Meditation is the passively active event in which we can come into relationship with the constant internal movement that is always happening inside of us. It is about seeing what exactly happens to your attention when there is no external force to guide it. On the outside, we are moving all day long. We wake up, get out of bed, get ready for the day, go to work, see friends and family, take care of loved ones, etc.
But the activities that we’re engaged in on a daily basis do not define our actual experience of our lives. Our lives are comprised of two realities – what we’re doing on the outside, and how we’re experiencing it on the inside. Our thoughts are constantly defining the experience of the events that are occurring in our lives. Our thoughts literally create the substance of our entire experience – telling us what’s right, what’s wrong, what feels good, what doesn’t, what we like, what we don’t like, etc.
Meditation is the beginning of a relationship with all of this internal movement.
Seeking Control is the Issue
Which leads us to the problem most people have with meditating – they try to control the experience of their own thoughts…drumroll please… with their own thoughts. Trying to stop your mind with your mind is like trying to walk while stepping on your right foot with your left foot. When this is all someone has experienced in meditation, its no wonder most people give up so quickly.
Here’s what you need to understand: There is an attention inside of all of us which can actually watch our thoughts as they’re happening, with the understanding that we’re not actually thinking them. What we’re doing in meditation is making a true attempt to access that attention. The reason most people meditate is to feel relaxed and calm down. It’s true that these are incidental benefits of making a real attempt at meditating, but I want to shed light on why that’s so.
When you see that you aren’t, in fact, thinking all of your thoughts because you see that you can’t actually control or stop them, something beautiful takes place. There’s a separation that simultaneously takes place with that understanding. You literally become separated from those thoughts that create your anxiety, that label what’s happening in your life as ‘problems.’ That separation allows you to not only see but experience freedom from your own internal responses to life.
Let Your Thoughts Flow
So stop looking for relaxation. Stop trying to silence your thoughts.
Simply be interested in what happens when you sit in quiet and close your eyes for a few minutes. Even seeing that you struggle so much to get your butt in a chair, seeing how much resistance you have to just sitting without any external stimulation is a beautiful lesson to be learned. Start taking what happens when you meditate as a sort of study. The truth is that you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know where your attention is going to go. Become interested in it, and you will inevitably start to see the truth about yourself.
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