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Meditation

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Meditation

Awareness of the Truth

Meditation can be seen as nothing but the spontaneous and passive awareness of the movement of rejection and desire. The awareness of the rejection is the meditation. You can be aware of this truth all the time; in fact meditation is actually needed all the time. Meditation is awareness of the truth, so we sense, look, and listen all the time to be aware of the simple truth of what is now. If you want anything else, it is a rejection. If you do anything beyond the awareness and the understanding, there is rejection, and then you're compounding the problem.

Belief in the Perspective of the Physical Senses

Our belief in the perspective of the physical senses influences our consciousness in a powerful, dramatic way. We cannot know how powerful this influence is until we perceive the nonconceptual. So freedom from the senses does not mean not using them. It means not believing that the
information that comes through them is the whole story. For example, when you have done some meditation practice or had an insight or some energetic opening, you have undoubtedly seen in many such experiences that your perception becomes very different—you experience yourself in a less opaque way, but also the perception through your senses is much more vivid. The world you perceive often will look more vivid or bright, or more precisely itself, clearer. Your sight has been cleansed; you hear sounds you were not hearing before—the sound of birds outside is clearer, more present, more beautiful. Smells and tastes are more clear and full. You are living in a different world. So clearer information is coming through the senses; you are experiencing the physical world with less filtering through concepts. In such experiences it is not only that the physical world becomes more vivid; at the same time you become more open to your own presence and awareness, more available to the living, direct perception of what is manifesting in your body, your feelings, and your essential presence. However, even though you might have hundreds of such experiences, it is not easy to actually shift your orientation away from the completely materialistic perspective of the ego.

Diffusion of the Observer

In advanced stages of meditation, practitioners experience the absence of the center or locus of observation, called the diffusion of the observer. This indicates that one is experiencing awareness as boundless Presence (or space), centerless and omnipresent.

Dissolution of the Various Habits and Contractions of the Mind

Student: What kind of sitting meditation do you recommend for the realization of the night?
Almaas: The collaboration and, ultimately, the synthesis of two kinds of practices—the stabilizing meditation and the analytic practice—are useful here. During the stabilizing meditation, you contemplate your being, not trying to understand but simply being the consciousness with no differentiation. During the analytic practice, you use your discriminating intelligence to understand reality in all of its differentiations. This is our central practice of inquiry into experience. You need to do both back and forth. Each one helps the other. Ultimately, the analytic meditation is a play of consciousness, revealing the underlying truth of pure consciousness. The objective of the stabilizing meditation is to simply be, without observing the differentiations that arise. You not only are not analyzing, you also are not observing. Putting it another way, you are observing without discrimination, without labeling. You notice something but you don’t call it this or that. You simply feel it, the actual sensations, the actual being, the actual consciousness. You do not follow the experience or hold on to it or do anything to it. The stabilizing meditation is actually a form of concentration. In time this practice relaxes and dissolves the various habits and contractions of the mind. But we don’t really know what it means to do the stabilizing meditation until we understand what it means for there to be no concepts. So we have to go far into the practice of inquiry, far enough to experience the oneness of pure consciousness, before we can begin to meditate without conceptualizing. Before that, all we can do is discriminate. Before that, we don’t know how to meditate, not in the way necessary for the realization of the night.

Perceiving the Process of Becoming

The action of meditation can be very simple. It is perceiving the process of becoming, with its wanting, desiring, pushing, and pulling. You can just be aware of all that because it is not Being. The more you are aware of this movement of becoming and allow yourself the possibility that it is not working regardless of what it is moving towards, the more you can observe and experience the gap directly. And if you don't follow any movement, attitude, or reaction to it, you may find yourself to be complete.

Repression of Space

This illustrates the primary reason for the extreme difficulty encountered when an individual attempts to achieve a clear experience of open space through meditation techniques, as in Eastern spiritual schools; for the experience of space, because it involves the dissolving of defenses, will bring into consciousness any distortions in body-image. The defense mechanisms of the ego will then automatically mobilize to prevent consciousness of the affective experiences associated with these distortions. This mobilization of defenses in effect amounts to the repression of space. Space not only reveals distortions, but because it exposes self-boundaries, it naturally brings into consciousness all the identifications making these boundaries, as well as any affects and memories connected to them. Naturally then, space will be vehemently defended against. Space is actually dynamically repressed; and this fact, besides explaining the difficulty in experiencing space, indicates the usefulness of psychodynamic techniques to those seeking this experience.

The Void, pg. 49

The Brilliant Drink Meditation

So, we are going to do a meditation, what we call the brilliant drink meditation. The meditation will be a visualization with music. The visualization has to be what we call an embodied visualization, in the sense that as you visualize, in some sense, you create the presence. It is a creative visualization. You’re not just seeing a picture, you’re seeing an embodied picture. You’re experiencing, and you’re visualizing, a fountain on the top of the head that is brilliant white, so bright that it is difficult for you to look at. You see and experience it flowing down, down, and into the head. As it flows down, it comes down sparkly, like a crystalline kind of brilliant fluid or drink that’s so brilliant, white, and clear and bright. And as it flows into and through the head, your head wakes up and becomes bright. You experience yourself bright and brilliant, with the sense of intelligence, completeness, and preciousness. All with the clarity and precision of diamondness. You become a lighted bulb, but the bulb is lighted with some kind of unusual fuel—fuel that is much more powerful than nuclear energy. This power gives it clarity, awakeness, and brightness. But it is a fluid, a fluid that is filling up; and as it fills up, it goes into the heart. And as it goes into the heart, it becomes sweeter and more colorful—all kind of colors. As it permeates all of the body, it becomes a sense of rest, fullness, and contentment.

Brilliancy, pg. 298

The Value of Meditation is in Just Doing It

The best attitude for doing the meditation is to forget about results. Forget about what will happen when you do the meditation -- just do it. When you meditate, you might not feel your Presence, but that is fine. Just the doing of the meditation is what is needed. Sometimes you will feel present, sometimes you won't. Sometimes you will feel wonderful, sometimes you'll feel miserable. These factors do not determine the value of meditation. What determines the value of meditation is that you do the meditation. If you really do it, in time you'll become present mainly because you will not go along with the judgments and preferences of the ego. You tell yourself that for 20 minutes a day, whatever your ego says, you're going to do it. This attitude by itself brings the true will, which brings true Presence and detachment from the ego. Meditation is oriented towards Presence.

True Meditation According to the Diamond Approach

Practices that aim to put you in a particular state have a whole mind-set attached to them, which is the mind-set of that particular state. The problem is that this can become your mind-set, providing you with a mental framework, which means a particular orientation toward your experience. And we want to be free from any mental framework. So true meditation, true practice, according to the Diamond Approach, consists of following your thread, which means being where you are and continuing to be where you are without trying to make your experience go in any particular way. This requires practice because most of the time, you do not know where you are, you do not understand where you are, or you are fighting and rejecting where you are. This is the normal state of the ego-self, for the ego is always trying to get someplace, to make itself be a certain way. The ego-self is constantly judging and rejecting its arising state and trying to fit itself into a certain ideal. It is not just being where it is and allowing itself to unfold freely. As a result, it does not understand where it is, for it is invested in being somewhere in particular, being a certain way, or in satisfying a particular ideal. And even if this ideal is taken from spiritual teachings, the same mechanism of ego activity is in operation. Trapped in the ego-self, you do not trust that Being itself will take you where you need to go.

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