In the beginning, meditation is a practice that teaches us to focus our attention on a single point, perhaps the breath or a mantra or the space between two thoughts. As we focus, we discover how many thoughts we have. We begin to see that the mind is nothing but thoughts about things, and thoughts about thoughts. The mind races without order or purpose from one thing to the next, careening from the past to the future. We also see that all of these thoughts are self-centered; that is, all of the scenes that our thoughts create have the central character of "me."
As we continue to focus the mind, we begin to observe our thoughts and feeling states without getting lost in them. We see that these mental/emotional states arise in numberless waves within the mind, as the mind. That which observes the thought-stream is awareness, which is qualitatively different than thinking. It has a depth and silence to it. Gradually, we begin to perceive with this awareness, in silence. And, as we do, our self-centeredness begins to dissolve.
Meditation practice calls us to the silence of pure awareness. The power of awareness, that consciousness behind the thoughts and images of the concept-loving mind, liberates us from the limiting conditions that are created by concepts and beliefs--such as self-centeredness.
Entering this silence signals the end of meditation as a practice, as an exercise in concentration, and the beginning of meditation as a state of being. A different way of seeing and knowing is aroused, a capacity of intuitive perception that is holistic and instantaneous.
In the stillness of meditation, we feel a subtle, pervasive Presence. Our thoughts continue to appear, but they no longer obscure that Presence. This is called natural meditation, the experience of our own essence. Our essence is a glowing Presence, a shimmering light around everything. It is indescribably beautiful and in the midst of this beauty we fall in love with all things.
Whether we see it nor not, the light of the Presence shines within us. If we would just sit quietly by the open window of our heart for a few minutes each day, soon that light would be evident to us, and soon that awakened light would heal, inspire, and enlighten us. We would enter reality, and become lovers and servants of this reality.
And then everyone would be in love with all things.
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