ARRRR Matey, I be telling you… errr, sorry with the antics but I’m just going to update you all on the method that I re-discovered within myself just a few weeks ago. Recently I had been very goal oriented in the meditation practice that had been done.
I found this to be very counter intuitive and lacked any sense of progress. And then something happened. Like a flash of light, it hit. Meditation is not about reaching a goal, it’s about giving up.
Not giving up in respect to rolling up your matt and stopping, but about surrender to the experience that is going on right now.
Why Is Surrendering Important?
I believe in Zen meditation that surrender is the most important aspect of meditation. Can you imagine yourself sitting in meditation with your eyes closed for a second, and you are seeking some state you’ve heard about. You can really feel the tension in your forehead, temples, shoulders, throat. Striving, striving toward some sort of progress that you feel you aren’t making because your expectations seemed to have lead you in a different direction then actually looking at what is going on right now in your experience.
And because of this held expectation, the stress gets higher in meditation, which meditation shouldn’t be able stress, it should be able eliminated stress completely.
So how is it that I made a perceptual shift toward an open space in Equanimity?
I’m going to tell you right now. I dropped all of my expectations of what I wanted out of meditation and accepted the fact that it isn’t about goal that meditation really shines but by seeing what is right in front of us that our goals are achieved instantly at every moment. Once I surrendered trying to attain something, did I break the plateau of my meditation practice.
Not only that but I experienced something that I hadn’t ever before felt, which was a very clear sighted Equanimity.
How Did I Breathe My Way To Equanimity?
Well like most forms of meditation, it starts with paying gentle attention to the breath. When I say gentle, I mean gentle… As in the focus is on it but also taking note in letting tensions of the body go.
Especially in the face and these tend to come up frequently with me.
Once this gentle focus on the breath is there, you follow the in and out breath and what may help is counting on each in and out cycle. After each cycle you count one, two, three etc. I would start my meditations with something small like a 20 minute sit and work your way up. And you will begin to notice that things begin to focus on their own. This is referred to Access Concentration. You will tell when this happens because attention SNAPS into place almost out of nowhere or that you’ll be able to concentrate on how gentle the breath is at such ease that everything takes a back seat.
How Do I Get Rid Of The Monkey Mind?!
This is actually a big big misconception about meditation. People go into it with the intention of dissolving all thought. However you do not control thought! The more you try and stop it from happening, the more thoughts will be generated. That isn’t even the goal of meditation. Instead when a thought enters or disrupts the meditation, simply note that a thought is there and any sensations that may of come up with thought.
Thank them for coming up and gently bring your attention back to how gentle the breath is and continue to count.
Trust me on this when I say not to worry so much about thoughts intruding in the beginning. The more you bring yourself back to the breath, the less they will begin to bother you. Once access concentration happens, thoughts will take a backseat anyway and they will not be a problem. They may or may not still happen but they will not be a problem.
By doing this, you then accept all things coming in and out of experience, and look at them with more of a playful tone. (Oh this thought is coming, and now it is going. Or oh this sensation is felt, and now it is dissipating.)
All the while you are still being mindful and bringing yourself back to counting breath cycles.
A few final words:
It’s all about accepting what is right in front of your eyes and surrendering to the fact that they are there in your present experience. Relaxing into these sensations or thoughts, instead of resisting them and just letting them be there. They are harmless and will not persist. Its like leaning into a nice comfortable bed and drifting into sleep.
You will see great benefit from this sort of meditation. I guarantee it!