Meditating Is Easier Than Not Meditating
Non-Meditation is Easier Than Meditation
When we sit down with a cup of tea, in that first instant, we are totally relaxed. We have given up everything; no worries, no tensions. We just are. That is non-meditation.
Then we might think, “I should be mindful of what I am doing”, and we become self conscious. We become aware of our thoughts and feelings. That is meditation.
Gradually, we forget, and either fall into a careless vacancy, or start to think about things we have to do. We worry, and our anxiety rises. That is when we are not meditating.
Meditation is a method or technique for calming the mind until we can recognise pure awareness/pure consciousness; then, we no longer need to meditate. That is resting in non-meditation.
When we start to investigate the nature of mind and the nature of reality, we become aware of the philosophy and workings of relative and ultimate truth. This brings up experiences we hadn’t previously noticed: we come to realise that we spend most of our lives in complex tensions, and have become so accustomed to this that we think such behaviour is normal. When we become aware of these tensions, they appear to get worse; we are merely noticing more, and this can have the effect of making our actions self conscious, exaggerated, and perhaps a little wooden.
There’s a great saying: “First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is.” Mountains are just mountains. Mountains do not exist. Mountains are just mountains.
A fuller explanation:
At the level of ordinary, street mentality, mountains, trees and flowers are just mountains, just trees and just flowers. We dismiss the joy in pure seeing as we have better things to do.
When we become more aware and analyse, we say that mountains, trees and flowers are empty of any true existence, and therefore cannot be said to have any reality. This is our philosophical self-conscious stage.
When we realise the nature of reality, we can appreciate the beauty of a mountain, a tree and a flower. The mountain just is. The tree just is. The flower just is. The experience just is. There is joy in merely seeing, and we can rest there. That is non-meditation.
I once tried to paint a sunset, interpreting what I was seeing. Being engaged on this interpretation, I was missing the experience. So I dropped my brush, and just watched. The original is always better that the interpretation.
The joy of seeing a sunset is marred by announcing how beautiful the sunset is.
The exclamation of how beautiful the sunset is, is marred by not even noticing the sunset.
Meditating is better than not meditating
Non-meditation is better than meditation
When we sit to practise meditation, in that moment of just sitting, we are totally relaxed – and then we feel we have to meditate. That interferes with the first instant of just sitting: we only use meditation techniques when we forget to rest in the clarity of emptiness – which is non-meditation/non-duality.
We could say that too much method interferes with natural being, but it’s vital to be honest about this, because sometimes we need discipline and inspiration to sit down in the first place and apply techniques when necessary. The danger lies in re-applying the technique when it is no longer needed, which sends us round in circles and subtly confuses us. It is easy to become stuck in the technique, which interferes with pure experience. The completion stage of any practice is dropping the method and resting in the clarity of emptiness, rather then continually stirring it up.
It is here where religious practice can interfere with spirituality; it’s possible that this could be the element that destroys the teachings from within.
We are not supposed to fall into a vacant state. We are resting in the clarity of emptiness. It is imperative to remember the Buddha’s statement, “Not too tight and not too loose.”