Meditation is healing and nourishing. It is like hitting the reset button, allowing us to recharge and connect with ourselves and with life. The essence of meditation is to be silent. Why? Because in that silence the everyday activities of thought are allowed to subside. We are then able to come into contact directly with life, with what is. The distorting filter of the thought-based ego is no longer in the way.
When the ego is not active then there is space for something magical to happen. We can into contact with something, something that cannot be put into words, something deep and precious and wonderfully healing.
The ego always has a motive, it always wants to go somewhere (desire), or get away from somewhere (aversion). In either case, the ego is characterised by the effort to move away from where we are, to move away from what is. In fact, the ego is that movement away from what is. When that ego-movement is no longer active, then there is peace and wellbeing, and this is the beginning of meditation.
Here is a suggested meditation technique for you to try to help you contact that place of peace:
1. The first step is to allow yourself to become aware of the environment around you. Sit in a calm and quiet place in a relaxed posture with your back upright. Allow your breathing to settle and relax and, keeping your eyes open, allow yourself to become aware of your surroundings for a few minutes
2. The second step is to become aware of the body. Start to become aware of your breath. After a few minutes of this start to become aware of your body. Allow the muscles to relax if they want to. Next become aware of any emotions – these are usually felt as physical sensations in the body.
3. The third step is to become aware of the mind. Notice your thoughts. Specifically notice if you are trying to get somewhere, as we described above. Learn to see this ego-movement which is the same as the movement away from what is. Notice that this ego-movement is actually a form of suffering. When the ego is there, resistance is there, desire is there, and this desire is suffering. When the ego is there, there is suffering. When the ego is not there, there is no suffering. Get a feel for what the ego feels like, what it ‘tastes’ like. Then you will start to notice it in its many varied guises.
4. The fourth step is insight-intelligence. This is the bit that is not easy to teach or write about. What can happen quite naturally in the silence is that a kind of intelligence-awareness kicks in. This natural intelligence notices the ego in action and allows it to dissolve by itself. This is not something you can do (or not do) – it is something that can happen when there is a space for it to happen. In this space action happens, but there is nobody doing the action, there is no motive. Just intelligence acting. If you try to bring this state about, notice that this is just the ego again trying to gain something. Nothing to do, nothing to gain, action happens by itself.
The fourth step is something you have to discover for yourself by yourself. The key is to allow the silence to act and not have preconceived notions of what you are trying to achieve (that would be the ego again). So give it a go, play around with the technique, keep it simple, and let me know what worked (or didn’t work) for you.