Today I am thinking about how meditation fits into my overall lifestyle and goals. The goal of consistent meditation as I see it is to evolve from a limited state of consciousness to a higher, deeper or more real state of consciousness. I would hope that this evolution is unidirectional and permanent. I feel that poor practice would consist of residing in ordinary consciousness and using meditation as an escape or a high, only to return to one’s former awareness. The goal I seek is to live as one who is awakened to his true nature, not to be a visitor or tourist to an interesting perspective.
As such, I am realizing today that my lifestyle must support my daily meditations and foster the expansion of my consciousness. Physical fitness offers the best analogy: when one wants to be a healthy person, one must do all the things that take one to health. You cannot exercise every day while eating poorly and ignoring rest. You can of course, but your workout will contradict your lifestyle. You may have good workouts; they may feel invigorating and you may make some gains for a short amount of time. But soon you will stagnate. And you will not transition from an unhealthy person to an healthy person. You will be an unhealthy person who works out – nothing more.
I do not want to be a person of low consciousness who meditates. I want to use meditation to raise my total level of consciousness. In order to do this, my entire lifestyle must support the process of spiritual growth. Daily meditation must be a part of a full-time effort to live as the Tao, the Buddha, the Self, or Christ.
I realize that what I take out of meditation and into the day must be nurtured by pure and simple thoughts. To raise my consciousness I must give up the mental habits I valued previously. What I leave behind daily I must give up for good. Today I have noticed that the total volume of thoughts cluttering up my mind has decreased by half of what it was the first day. However if I do not live a lifestyle that is congruent with my meditative goals, I will limit my own progress. The results of my first few successful meditations have been enough to underscore those thoughts and intentions that are not conducive to spiritual advancement. I am feeling hyper aware of the thoughts I entertain – perhaps a sign that my awareness is improving. I will follow its prompts. Let’s do this.
I am ready to start my meditation. I assume the same posture I have used for the last three days. I set my time for one hour and push start.
I’m there instantly. The moment I close my eyes I am completely empty and completely full. I feel satisfied and accomplished that I do not have to spend the first ten minutes clearing out psychic dust and cobwebs. Since I am starting further down the track than I was on day one, I want to try to go deeper today. And since “going” and “trying” are not effective strategies, I guess today I’m going to simply realize how much deeper I am.
I sit for a moment perplexed by how I go deeper without trying harder. I can’t “get to” anything, since I already am all that I’ll ever be. If it’s not trying that “gets me there,” what is it? How do you get where you already are? I think I’m starting to understand. I let it be. I let it present itself to me. I receive and accept. I don’t try to find; I wait to be shown.
With these thoughts suddenly the spiritual teachings of all great teachers converge and coalesce. I hear Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” I hear the Tao, “The practice of Tao consists in daily diminishing. Keep on diminishing and diminishing until you reach the state of non-ado [non action], non-ado and yet nothing is left undone.”
I once heard Gangaji say that when you relinquish all desires in pursuit of the higher power, you realize that you don’t have it, it has you. I am fully cognoscente of this as reality at this moment. My body and mind are special cases of a universal consciousness; when they drop away I lose nothing – I gain all things. The fear of annihilation is the true barrier to self knowledge. Faith, hope and love are required to overcome it.
My time is up and I feel like I’m just getting started. On the walk to my car I feel like my aura has a twenty-foot radius. Very eager to live as my awakened self today.