If you wish to experience the wholeness of a meditative moment, just work as best you can to gain your attention. When you can bring your attention home and keep it focused within yourself, it acts as a kind of “celestial collector.” And while it does not actually “collect” anything, it can serve to reveal a whole new understanding of your relationship with the present moment. Awareness of this new relationship is the essence of true meditation.
The essential pain in our life is born out of our idea that we can do something toward the moment and take something from it that will complete us. What we fail to realize is that any action we take to extract something from the moment to complete ourselves actually separates us, not only from the moment that we have imagined will make us whole, but from being present to the beautiful, quiet energy that occupies the body naturally when our own desires no longer interfere.
When you are in relationship with your natural body, your natural mind, and your natural heart, you will see how unnatural it is for you to continue to try to give yourself something. You will see that everything you’ve always wanted is never not being given to you. And meditation is the enjoyment of the gift.
The day will come when you will understand that if you’re just present to your own body during meditation, you need do nothing more. The catch is that you must first realize that your previous efforts have just interfered with the meditative process, and that you’ve accomplished nothing for all that you’ve done. You must see that all these efforts may produce the sensation of someone who is accomplishing something and achieving some ideal as it concerns meditating. But they do not produce the actual state of meditation that is necessary for the transformation of your being.
The energy we are given each moment, when it is experienced in its wholeness, is enough unto itself. It doesn’t need anything outside of itself. True meditation can simply be seen as a moment in which it is enough to be what we are.
When you go outside on a beautiful day, do you step into the sunlight and try to enjoy the warmth, or isn’t the enjoyment inherent in the experience? Similarly, when you see a falcon fly amongst the trees, land, shake its tail, and then survey its domain… or a great buck with its massive horns, broad chest, and strong neck… do you try to feel the nobility of these creatures? Or isn’t that feeling just part of the whole moment that you yourself have become one with?
In the same way, real meditation is effortless. It is the fulfillment of relationship, not the attempt on our part to create one. Our being itself is meditating; it is naturally one with everything occurring in the moment. Our thoughts and feelings are all a natural part of the whole.
All of the preparatory work we do to develop our attention is to help us be in the moment where life is unfolding. By contrast, it is the propensity of our present mind to always be wandering around “out there,” somewhere in thought. This tendency is so ingrained, it even prevails while we’re meditating. Instead of just being in the moment, consciously experiencing whatever the moment brings, our yoyo mind is busy running back and forth — looking for something within which it can come to a rest. Real meditation is the end of seeking, not a means to an imagined peace.
Question: It’s said that when you help others, you’re actually helping yourself. Can you explain why that’s true?
Answer: We share an uncommon possibility as human beings, but the uncommon possibility that we share comes from the fact that we all share common heartaches. I don’t care where you go in the world, you’ll find men and women in one way or another whose dreams have been broken, who’ve lost something that they love or someone they love, who have a regret or a disappointment that they’re unable to shake free from, and as a rule, when we meet people with problems, the first thing that we tend to do is keep them from ourselves because we think: “I already have enough pain.”
But when we can start to understand,in the truest sense of the word, that this man or this woman is in fact a celestial brother or sister – not in some religious or hokey sense but in the sense that their needs and our needs are the same needs — and if we can help another human being, if we can hear, if we can understand, if we can bring any light whatsoever into the heart or mind of another individual, we do so because we have found it first in ourselves. And the extent to which we are capable (if capable, and only if asked) of adding some light to the life of another human being, we have first found that light in ourselves, and we have shared a light that is in common. In that common sharing of a new understanding is an uncommon possibility that we have as human beings.