What is meditation?
What if you could access your deeper awareness in social work, in activism, art, with your children and family, at any moment?
What does it look like when we, for a moment, strip away the traditions around meditation and we look at the mechanics of [meditation], and build from there? How does it feel to build your, practice of coming into personal center?
When I teach meditation I may reference Buddhist or Western Esoteric practices, but what we build is flexible structure of practice based on the language of your cosmology. What you have in your world will work, we look to explore... break apart and restring it all with a tensile strength of emotional flow and mental fluidity.
The fundamental truths we are seeking are available within us because it is our deeper, aware-being that holds the axis point between intuitive wisdom and higher ordered thoughts; it is the being who can know. That being within myself, I call, my true awareness.
What does my meditation practice look like?
My favorite stories to tell comes from my personal life.
My mother on reading one of the the Dalai Lama's book The Art of Happiness, said "I can't meditate. I try and I can't sit still. I think too much. I can't do it." I had been watching her read that book, and thinking about what may have been going on in her mind. When my mom said, "I can't" I recalled her standing in the kitchen at the sink.
My mother isn't a classic American mom, so please don't think the she was Mrs. Cleaver by any stretch of the imagination, but she did care for us, and she did keep a clean house. We all did. On a personal aside, I'm glad I was taught chores, responsibility, and personal accountability.
Recalling my mother at the sink and her quiet engagement with her thoughts it occurred to me that the act of washing put her into a kind of zen state. She may have gone to the sink angry, or a thunderhead of thoughts, but left with a sigh or a solution born of clarity. What my mother did at the sink is a kind of meditation.
Not everyone can sit still. I quote the late, great Peter Paddon (loosely) in a podcast on magick that, "Not everyone can sit still. I can't. I know lots of people that need something more visceral." He spoke about needing to move, to shout, to enter into the meditative/magickal mindset from a more palpable doorway.
Your meditation practice may be:
- Jogging or sport
- Walking in nature
- Quiet contemplation
- Abstinence and ritualized silence
- anything that connects you to your inner beingness.
The Center for Contemplative Practice identifies hundreds of types of meditation, and does not limit their definition to their list alone.
I would go so far to say that any act is a potential meditative act, and you can surprise yourself by letting your preconceived concept of meditation go, and allowing for the breakthrough of realization that your inner beingness can deliver in any act, silent or engaged.
In a World...
In world where media and people want to constantly grab our attention and eviscerate a response from us; in a society that locks into polarization, with institutions that focus on fear and propaganda; In world where religion, culture, and tribalism initiate the demonizing and "othering" of people "not like us," Meditation is fresh air.
Meditation is Life.
When I meditate I see where I was caught in the wheel of life, pulled by emotional extremes, caught up in mentalizing everything into concepts, forgetting that I am in an animate world of many living things; forgetting that I am connected.
Meditation is connection.
When I facilitate GATHER or other Meditative spaces in Ritual, public or private, it's about connecting to our self. When we are in the place where we feel the fullness of our beings in the awareness of our connection, the world is animated in a different way. There are greater potentials for diverse solutions, different choices and paths, deeper meaning, greater respect for one another.
Meditation is Change, it is Magick.
I invite you to meditation. I invite you to a Gather, to class, or simply to sit with one of the many forms of meditation, and consider, respect the practice as it evolves within your own life.
I'll post a few ideas for meditation in the next 7 days for you to play with. Follow along on facebook here: Facebook.com/TheSacredOther
Scott K Smith
Community of Temple Los Angeles