This is how I’m living in NV not PA. It’s how I’m no longer working and I’m a SAHM like I always wanted to be. It’s how I’m no longer an alphabet soup of diagnoses bouncing from mental hospitals and taking anywhere from 5-15 medications simultaneously. The mind is a marvelous servant, but a cruel, distorted master.
No force on this earth can suppress or oppress like our own minds. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” and to “become as a child and ye shall know heaven.” Most people have the impression that training the mind, mindfulness, meditation, etc. involve being like a monk, sitting in meditation for hours, whatever. This is not so. These saintly austerities are the teachers, not the practice. These things are all explaining to you how it is done, but once you learn, you learn. Many struggle to see that final step.
Meditation is akin to a child learning to ride a bicycle. It is a practice designed to teach you a skill. Once the skill has been mastered, it becomes effortless. The child hops on the bike and goes without a thought. Or once you learn to drive a car, no thought is given. These practices are designed not to become a lifetime of piety and massive austerities to prove how long you can sit still and how still you can sit. The practices are designed to bring you to the state of your childhood with all the perks of adulthood. Where there is no limit to possibility, there are no barriers, there are dreams, imagination, the present moment, and enjoying things for the sheer joy of doing. Adulthood warps these pleasures and makes everything serious.
Meditation is a practice that teaches you how to play. It reminds how profound doing nothing can be. Our childhoods were spent with no purpose – adults gave us these purposes and structures and rules and fears and anxieties. We were not born with this nonsense. To play – to truly play – one must be engaged with the moment they are in – not past moments, not future moments – to be lost completely in what you are doing and not thinking. This is what meditation teaches.
Meditation does not need to be done seated – it can be done walking, driving, or even talking to another. It is a constant practice of watching the mind until you no longer need to watch the mind because you learned how. Meditation is certainly not the only way, but it is the way I used. The hangup can be, though, that the practice can keep you from experiencing. If it is understood that meditation is the teacher by which you learn to train the mind, then at some point, one must know that they have accomplished the learning. At some point, like riding a bike, it becomes effortless. the austerities are not needed as they were or the training/learning/practicing is not needed as it was because the basics have been mastered. If anything, it is challenging yourself to new skills or new heights. Alan Watts described religion and spirituality as revolving doors, people just go round and round. You do not need to. Once you get it, you just get it. All of these things are teaching us how to get it. The “it” is the same truth told by every religion, wise man, etc. It is the secret in the video, it is the truth, it is the law. We just make it very, very hard for ourselves because we allow the mind to do whatever it likes. We chase the bike, we carry the bike, we beat ourselves about the head with the bike. We do everything but ride the bike.
The basic secret is watch the mind for the thoughts that are bringing pain or suffering and choose to focus on the thoughts that do not. Focus is our greatest power. It is our currency – time and focus. What we pay attention to is what we’re buying in experience. Many think that the thoughts in the mind are who they are, but this is simply not true. This is what meditation teaches. Many think meditation is “good” or “successful” if you sit for a long period of time not moving. No! This is designed to frustrate and piss you off because you are supposed to fail. You’re not supposed to be able to do all of these things well. You’re supposed to learn that you can’t stop thinking. The more you try to stop thinking, the more you will think. The more you try to stop moving, the more you will move. The only way to successfully meditate is not to try to do anything. Let everything be exactly as it is. Imagine a child riding a bike – they aren’t trying to ride, they’re not trying to ride better or more effectively or holier. They are not trying to do anything. They’re riding a bike because they want to. That is how life works.
Meditation shows – in just a few moments – that you and your thoughts aren’t the same. If you can observe that you are thinking, you cannot be what you are observing, yet you are. It is the paradox of life. I cannot be the computer monitor I am observing, yet I am. It is a part of my mind. As I’ve said, we all see the sky in different blues and no one can convey what blue is to them. In much the same way, our lives are colored by the perceptions and thoughts we pay attention to. However, you aren’t the negative thoughts or the positive ones. These are clouds in the sky of your mind – you are all of it. You are the one who chooses, but most of us cannot make the disassociation until we begin to watch and see that these thoughts have nothing to do with us. Meditation is a practice not so much to be mastered (i.e. I can sit for hours on end) but to frustrate you and see how you cannot make yourself do these things, but you can just do. They are like songs and we choose what plays, we choose what repeats, we choose to skip. We can do whatever we’d like regardless of what song is playing. That is the mastery.
Many spend their lives learning how to ride a bike without riding, or we ride the bike and stop ourselves because we think we need to learn how, or we slow ourselves down telling ourselves we’re riding the bike incorrectly. All are just symptoms of a mind that is a master. And an adult who forgot how to be a child. Nothing on this earth can disturb you quite like your mind. Because, of course, your mind is the projector of the movie of your life.