It is quite perfect that I am writing about this topic today because it is one of those mornings when getting my arse onto my meditation cushion is akin to herding cats! Luckily, I have a long-term goal which is important to me so I was able to sternly and lovingly wrangle all my cats onto my cushion. I have quite a few cats, i.e. aspects of myself, that want different things, simultaneously: my body wants this, my mind wants that and my whimsical spirit is distracted by everything. 😉
During these cat wranglings, I often ask myself, “why not just walk away and do something enjoyable?!” Because, I tried that. For decades. And nothing changed. So I quit choosing that well-worn path.
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. ~ Robert Frost
Meditation is certainly a less traveled path and the style of meditation I practice is even more so. Vipassana, which means to ‘see things as they truly are,’ is the most simple style of meditation I know of, and the most challenging. Why? Because there is nothing to DO. The art of this meditation is BE.
I sit. Quietly. Aware of the breath. Aware. Aware. Aware… Time passes. Stillness comes and goes, aches and pains, thoughts and worries, peace and fear – everything changes – and I simply remain aware as ‘things’ continually fall away.
With time, I too fall away from myself and only the deepest part of my awareness remains, which is the witness that can ‘see things as they truly are.’
The Art of NON-DOING
In order to ‘see things as they truly are’ we must learn to clear our sight. We often believe we must do something to see things as they truly are, but the opposite is true; we need only allow the superficial to fall away and this falling away occurs when we stop doing. Meditation is the art of non-doing. This is what makes meditation so difficult – in the beginning – because we do not know how to be, exactly as we are, in this moment, and this moment, and this moment…moment to moment to moment. ( you may want to re-visit the blog knowledge is not wisdom) << and do not be surprised when we circle back to previous teachings, I have found that life weaves new wisdom upon old wisdom, which strengthens the weavings>>
If meditation is non-doing than it means many of us need to stop what we have been doing for most of our lives and re-discover ourselves with a childlike curiosity. I often forget to view the world with childlike curiosity and instead seek personal perfection; I try, I do, I need, and I willfully fix all those aspects of myself that I deem are not good enough, not worthy enough and soooo terrible that if anyone saw the inside of me, well, dear lord, the horrors they would find! Oh, oh, oh…sound familiar? 😉
Many others have shared their fears of facing their messy inner world and have told me the ways in which they fill their days with do, do, do – in order to escape the very thing they can never escape. Never a moment of inner peace, never a chance to rest.
Palms of your Soul remember you, as a child? nothing wrong, nothing broken, no thing to do. you were you, perfectly content without doing. remember you? you do not need-to-do, you are. so open the doors which are locked with doing's, and allow the winds of laughter into your bosom, your belly button, and the palms of your Soul. ~ssj
Meditation is so simple that people often struggle with the non-doing aspect, they desperately need to do something or change something so they get frustrated with the simplicity of being present…odd, isn’t it?
Please watch this 2 minute video which explains how simple meditation is.
The Simplicity of Meditation
Failure is Success!
I love the video shown above because we are rarely told that our failures are the stepping stones to our success!! In meditation, failure immediately becomes success!
Failure = Success
This is wonderful news for those of us who have minds that we are not in complete control of, which I think is 99.9% of the human population. 🙂 So, now that we know it is normal for our minds to go wild and crazy when we sit still, and we understand that it is the remembering to start again that is the success, we can relax and simply witness our minds’ behavior. Our attention is all that is needed.
Blessing with Attention
I would like you to recall a time when someone truly listened to you. When they bathed you with their attention. When they honored every aspect of your being, of your experience in life, of your worthiness, of your perfection in the moment. Was that profound for you? Healing? Calming? Soothing? Transforming?
Being attentive is one of the greatest gift we give others, and ourselves. Meditation is the art of bathing yourself in your own attention, without the need to change, judge or alter anything that arises. As it is, it is. Perfectly.
Vipassana continues to teach me how to accept each moment as perfect, especially the challenging ones, for they are the most powerful teachers. To allow each moment to be perfect does not mean I am a bystander in my own life, I continue to make decisions and choose paths to follow, but not until I have spent time meditating: stripping away the superficial layers of an issue/situation in order to discover wisdom (again, you may want to re-visit the knowledge is not wisdom blog).
Blessing with Attention
Following are a few questions to be courageously thoughtful about:
- If I were to stop needing to change myself or my life, would that allow me to be comfortable in my own presence?
- When is the last time I fully rested, awake and aware, with no ‘thing’ to do, no ‘thing’ to prove, simply content?
- Could I discover new insights about my driving-motivations in life by choosing to remain attentive to myself and my habitual reactions – without judgement or need to change?
- When I see my ‘imperfections’ or feel my emotional responses to life, can I view them as experiences or even teachers, not problems? (despair, suicide, hate, anger, fear, self-loathing)
- Do I value some ‘thing’ more than I value understanding ‘who am i?‘ If so, what do I value more? Is this a healthy value?