Meditation Is not Concentration
Meditation is usually taught as concentrating our awareness on one thing to subdue the mind. For me this is of no use and not what meditation is about. Tiger Woods has put as many hours as anyone into this kind of practice, and he is still trapped in his mind.
Rather than concentrating on one thing, we need to learn to develop a more spacious, softer awareness, that allows more than one thing to be here. This is the beginning of learning kindness.
Meditation Is Not Subduing the Mind
Also, meditation is not about subduing the mind. We dont want to subdue the mind. We actually want to expand our awareness to include the mind This is the beginning of learning to listen.
I Sit Eyes Open, Heart Open
When I sit in Meditation, I have my eyes open. Because I want to learn to see. I have my ears open, because I want to learn to listen. I am open to all bodily sensations, beause I want to learn to connect. I am open to all thoughts, because I want to learn the truth. I am open to all emotions, because I want to learn compassion
With my eyes I let my focus fall on one spot. Then without moving my eyes I allow another spot to be here too. Then another, until I get a 3D type awareness, where everything I see is equally here.
With hearing, I open in the same way to sound, letting them all in. This becomes a sea of sound explosions I feel right through me.
With body sensations I do the same. This has been a great teacher for me. If I sit for long periods, I can experience a lot of physical pain. I have found that if I focus on the pain, or try and focus on another spot that isn’t in pain, I end up being a battle, & the pain becomes unbearable. If, however, I soften my physical awareness out, & let all bodily sensations to be here at once, something strange can happen.The pain in an instant becomes just one of many sensations, & reduces by 80%. I have sat for days on long meditation retreats, having relaxed into this place, & sat comfortably and spaciously with my pain, aware that other people around me were writhing in theirs.
If I find myself caught up in thoughts, I just come back to being aware. No concentration or fuss. I sometimes will remember as many thoughts as I can at this point. I developed this until I could easily go back over 20 or 30 minutes of thoughts. What I discovered was that my trains of thought were very repetitive, & generally a load of meandering rubbish. This really helped in my mind losing its power & authority, slowing down & stopping. Then I began to discover what happens when the mind loses its power, slows down & stops. Which led me to learn why my mind was constantly chattering on in the first place..to keep my subconscious emotions buried.
Which leads to emotion I let them all here too. This means they are allowed to express themselves. Becoming overwhelmed by your emotions is natural & fine. Its the nature of emotions. In doing this for 30 years I have learnt a startling fact. Distressing emotions are nothing to be scared of. In fact they are allowable and lovable
Meditation Is Being Overwhelmed By Emotions
One is usually taught by meditation teachers to learn to view emotions dispassionately, to just let them be here without clinging, acting from them or pushing them away. To develop the “observer”. I actually find this teaches suppression.The nature of emotions is to be uncontrolled, to express, to overwhelm me. To feel like they are who I am at the core of my being. Allowing myself to be an emotional child, to be totally overwhelmed by hugely painful emotions 1000`s of times, has been how I leaned kindness & compassion. After all, who wants controlled laughter?
Beginners Compassion Class
For me there is no way round our inner emotions in finding these emotions we find an inner child. A child we have locked up,, thrown away the key & forgotten about. Learning to love & let out the child we have locked inside is beginners compassion class. Isn’t it time we opened our hearts to ourselves.