Many of us are, unfortunately, allergic to the word
“meditation.” Perhaps you have tried it and didn’t get
anywhere, or possibly you aren’t attracted to the peripherals that
may accompany it. A large part of the problem, as I see it, is that meditation
often is incorrectly explained. We are led to expect unrealistic results,
and we become discouraged when we do not get them.
Meditation, to me, means sitting and doing nothing.
It is not another form of activity but inactivity. I am not referring primarily
to physical activity but mental activity. Usually we think we need to do
something with our minds in order to meditate. We become preoccupied with
doing and again ensnare ourselves in thought. If you can just flop down
into your favorite chair, stop all activity of the mind, and let yourself
drift into your feelings, you are meditating. However, we are so bound to
the mind, its activity, and its self-rejection, that we have lost the capacity
to drift or to even have an appreciation for the state.
The need for meditation comes about because we are
incessantly active in our minds: doing, striving, asking, planning, thinking,
seeking, evaluating, worrying, perhaps even praying. The mind simply needs
some time off. Cultivating this capacity is an essential part of inner growth.
When you enter the state of nondoing, you allow the mind time to recharge
and to cleanse, both of which are essential for optimal inner health. If
you develop this state and enter it regularly, it will easily become your
favorite part of the day. If you don’t practice meditation, the sole
alternative for cleansing is the projection mechanism, which results in
a distorted perception of the world.
Use a focus point
Remembering that meditation means doing nothing –
stopping mind activity – will help you to enter the state. Sometimes,
however, a focus point may be useful to help stop mind activity. You may
watch the breath, or mentally repeat the word “om” or any another
word, or inwardly watch a visual symbol. The focus point is not a requirement
of meditation and need not be used all the time; it is only a tool to train
the mind. Focus your attention on the point you have chosen as you sit to
meditate. Soon, the mind will begin to drift to other thoughts. Keep gently
bringing yourself back to your focus point.
The focus point is not to have any content. If you
are watching the breath, make sure you do not alter the breath; only observe
it in its completely natural form. If you use a word, take care that you
do not focus on what the word represents, such as “love” or
“peace.” Doing so amounts to attempting to condition the mind
and feelings according to a dualistic concept instead of allowing them to
be revealed as they are, which is the basis of processing. It is better
to use a word that has no intellectual meaning, that is simply an abstract
sound on which you focus. Similarly, any visual symbol should not have emotional
content or meaning at this stage of the meditation. Later you may bring
emotionally charged symbols before you in order to bring up certain feelings.
In this initial stage, we are setting up conditions for entering alpha and
allowing nondirective emptying of the subconscious.