Transcribed by LR from a guided meditation given June 5, 2023
All meditation is based on developing mindfulness.
It’s a recognition that the mind and the objects of mind (which we call thoughts) are two different things.
Our mind is like an empty field. All of the thoughts are like plants and weeds. They come up and they die, you pull them out, new ones sprout up… this is always going on.
In meditation we are trying to select those thoughts which remind us of the field, remind us of the basis of our mind and how the mind is clear and intrinsically pure and happy…
So to set the stage for being able to investigate our experience,
to think in new ways…
we select and cultivate those thoughts which bring out a sense of awareness,
a sense of calm and quiet and reflection.
This is so we can maintain an awareness of the field,
an awareness of the mind in which things are arising
and not get caught up with specifics on ideas or thoughts
that are small in comparison.
One image I like to use from time to time is that of a hallway, to imagine myself walking calmly down the hallway.
It’s not large, just wide enough for me to be able to walk through. The walls have no defining characteristics; they are simple white walls.
I can’t really see the end of the hallway, it just fades into a light and I’m just walking. It’s not so much about the hallway, but when you realize you have nothing else to focus on you begin to focus on the body that is doing the walking and on the process of walking itself.
Without being able to see a destination,
and the place that you started from already far behind you,
what becomes most important
is this present moment
down the hallway, slowing down
we can feel our arms and our legs, feel the orientation of our spine, feel our breath.
this is in fact how we live every moment of our lives
So as we’re walking down the hallway we recognize we’ve always been in this situation
we don’t know where we’re going
and we’ve already left behind that which has come before
but if we really accept this then it’s not so bad, is it?
Actually it feels quite calm.
Pleasant to just focus on that of which we are directly aware
Our body, sounds around us, the feeling of the air, our breath, our posture
And as we’re walking along,
nothing behind us and nothing in front of us,
we can see that if there is any weight or tension in the body,
it is not coming from the past
nor is it coming from the anticipation of the future.
That weight and tension is something that we are carrying with us
right now in this present moment
Whether carrying the burdens of things that we’ve done or said
or tensing in anticipation of what comes next
The past and future don’t exist
all that really exists is the tension we’re creating in the present moment.
Seeing this as we were walking along we can let it start to unravel
We have thoughts of the past come in of who we are,
what we are,
of where we come from…
we have this opportunity to just set them down and keep walking
Realizing we don’t need them today. They don’t have to be relevant for creating a space of meditation where anything is possible
Gradually setting down the weights, the burdens and the baggage that we literally carry with us… just set them down and see what it feels like to continue walking
Likewise any thoughts we have of the future
plans for lunch
plans to check our phone
plans on where we go after the meditation
plans on a future vacation
we can recognize when they come up
and that they refer to something that doesn’t exist yet
and then even if we do get to a reality in the future
where these thoughts are relevant
we will have to leave where we are right now
to do it
So we loosen our hold on our plans
recognize that our future can change
based on the decisions we make right now
the less we anticipate the more possibilities we have
As we walk along
feeling our breath
feeling our spine
feeling the tingling of our skin
We can become so light it’s almost as if we lose track of where our body is
We have this hallway stretching out in front of us and our thoughts slow down
we can sense the space between them…
how light and carefree can we become…
If we feel any weight or tension arising in the body,
arising in the mind
we don’t even have to figure out where it’s coming from
just remind ourselves
it’s nothing we need to hang onto,
nothing we need to cling to.
Anything can be put down.