Meditation is so easy a monkey could do it. Animals excel at alertness. Tell a dog to 'fetch!' and they react. Present a primate a banana and he eats. But tell a human to meditate and observe confusion and distraction consume them.
Meditation, the cultivation of awareness, has been presented to the species as something mystical, occult and secretive. Millenia of 'masters' have created lineage and traditional processes towards fuller consciousness and realization. In this way the perception of meditation is that it is something that must be learned. That there is a particular technique that must be acquired before one may begin.
In reality there is no instruction needed on how to connect with reality. We are already conscious and already here, to trust our powers of clarity and insight is all that is required for us to awaken. To open ourselves to the stream of life flowing through us.
When we observe species of a lower kingdom we see there is nothing fundamental about their alertness. Have you ever watched a flock of birds or school of fish coordinate? Or viewed an army of ants or swarm of bees operate? Witnessed an animal in the wild discern every detail? Nothing is overlooked or missed.
Monkeys and other animals don't meditate because they are already awake. They have no need for enhanced aliveness. They are already living! So how do we become more monkeyish? How do we be more wakeful and watchful?
We seek silence and stillness. If there is a secret or knack to successful awareness cultivation it is found in that peaceful, noiseless space between mind and matter. It does not mean that your environment is literally free from audible input, but that the decibals are no longer disruptive, our senses no longer separate from the sensational symphony of now.
Generally practitioners in the West conceptually consider meditation as some type of effort to control or master the mind. Yet thoughts can not be controlled any more than light can be captured. There is nothing to contain. Consciousness is a continually cascading waterfall. Only when we interrupt the river by damming and interfering with our intellectual resistance do we experience suffering. We create ordeal from our imaginary ideal. How we want things to be instead of how they are.
This is the maya or illusionary reality. It is a world we create. Many are kings in the mental realm. Able to concentrate and focus attention in any direction they choose. Those who fully harness the powers of their mind possess unlimited power for accomplishment. Although this is not the goal, for this reason in many circles meditation has become a kind of thinking competition. A contest of who can hold their one pointed focus or sit idle the longest.
Maybe this is why the mere mention of meditation is enough to discourage the virgin meditator. There is the correlation of long and arduous sacrifice and effort in order to make progress. But the action of waking is not like work at all. There is no summit to reach. The entire journey is downhill. Towards the foundation of ourselves and this moment. Once we're grounded in the solidity of nowness we are successfully prepared to scale the pinnacle. Else there will always be disillusionment, a thin veil of deceit separating us from the intensity and sensitivity of the present.
Meditation is mastery of the moment. Absorption into what is actually happening. Like the monkey mind, it is neither controlled nor chaotic but concerned only with this instant. The monkey doesn't try to act or think like a monkey any more than we should try to use meditation to become something. It simply goes about its monkey business.
Meditation Monkey: Sorry to dissapoint but there is no method for me to offer you in regards to how to meditate. If there was wouldn't there be many enlightened beings radiating everywhere? It is a feeling that you intuitively know like love. I can share my experiences and descriptions, but caution all seekers to be mindful of anybody claiming to teach you being. At best we can express the benefits and create the space, but the road can only be traveled directly by each individual.
Practice: Find space. Office, airport, garden, car, it makes no difference. Take your shoes off and get comfortable. You can be sitting cross legged zazen style or in a chair, but take a comfortable position. Really comfortable. So that even the muscles of your face relax and rest. Then without obligation, close your eyes and try to observe yourself for a total of five minutes.
Take inventory of your posture, breath and thoughts. Don't judge. Simply watch. Notice the physical sensations of light, heat, smell, touch, sound, taste and position. Keep watching until the individual senses melt away and there is no longer any differentiation between their origin and your interpretation. In part two we'll take it a step further.
Wongi is the author of Meditating Out Loud a mindful performance and lifestyle blog with articles released every Wednesdayish.
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