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This is the first of the series of reflections arising from a month in silence and solitude; the musings invite the reader to explore the Truth for himself or herself. May the writer's reflections be windows to look in, or out, onto the vista of our one Beloved, our deepest, truest Self. Peace! Brian
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In truth we are not separate from each other or from the world, from the whole earth, the sun or moon or billions of stars, not separate from the entire universe. Listening silently in quiet wonderment, without knowing anything, there is just one mysteriously palpitating aliveness.
* Toni Packer
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The vast array of meditation practices can be confusing and lead one to ask, "Does meditation mean anything at all?" This is highlighted when there are meditation practices having little in common, and may contradict each other.
Coming back this day, from a month of silence and solitude, including many hours of meditation sitting in a little room and facing a wall, a small bench supporting posture upright, and, at times, lying down in what is called a death mudra, or posture or asana, I reflected on carrying the scent of perfume. So, what does this have to do with meditation and the confusion that can surround it?
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This musing is not about specific ways of meditating, which as noted above are confusingly diverse. We can ignore that for a moment, and simplify. Let us try.
What is meditation? Meditation is soaking. Where? In Presence. When we get in a posture to meditate, we position ourselves to soak in unseen Presence, which some call God, or Christ, or Krishna, or Shakti, ... but no name has to be given this final, ultimate Mystery. However we choose to relate with this Presence, we find it is, in the words of Toni Packer, "a mysteriously palpitating aliveness." Presence is not something way off somewhere, but is so intimate, so close, we often fail to see it. We could say, Presence is more intimate than intimate. And one does not have to see this Presence as other than, also, his or her own true Self, the Self in oneness with everyone. Some extend this to every sentient being and all creation, seen and unseen. This Presence can, likewise, be seen as religious or not.
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The image here of soaking may remind one of being like a washcloth submerged in perfume. The washcloth rests in the perfume, surrounded by it, penetrated by it, not needing to do anything. Then, the washcloth could be pulled out. What would it smell like? The perfume. The fact of being washcloth is still present, but the likeness to perfume has been absorbed. This process does not negate your relative self, your personhood, your personality, yet a transformation takes place as who you appear to be, which is an expression of your True Self, undergoes change over time.
By being submerged again and again, one progressively takes upon himself or herself the scent, we could say, of the perfume of Presence. This happens, though one is often not aware; others may notice this, even when the one on this path of submerging is not aware of how subtly he or she is taking on the likeness of loving Beingness. Indeed, one becomes less aware of changes through meditation the more this process continues, becoming less attached to results and less self-conscious about his or her spiritual practice. One may even come to think of meditation as not meditation, rather simply going through a process, for example, of sitting quietly and receptively for a time each day.
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This may assist in simplifying meditation for you. Technique is not priority. This allowing of oneself to be surrendered into the Presence, or True Self, leading to compassion for all beings, would hopefully be the aspiration of one engaging meditation, if not at the beginning, later.
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*This series of writings arose from reflections in solitude and silence April 24 to May 24, 2018. The musings, from brief notes, thoughts, remembrances, and short poems written in the Quiet, are here presented, expanded in format for your edification. Please share these with others. Hope you find encouragement in this series. Peace to All!
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.