The mind, as the word is usually used, means the movement of thought in the brain. But there is another meaning to the word mind–a quality of awareness and attention that transcends and silences the mind-as-thought. Can Mind in this sense be predominant, in the brain, and in relationship?
It’s essential to let go of enslavement to belief systems, and not be enchained to any tradition, technique or teacher. Belief of any sort is a conditioning that binds the mind, denying the direct perception of truth and the sacred. So the first step for a serious person, a person who really wants to be free, is to question belief and tradition within oneself.
With regard to spiritual and inward matters, there really are no teachers. One must be one’s own teacher. There is only learning, which is not accumulative psychologically and spiritually, but occurs through negating all one has experienced and thinks one knows. Stay away from people who have an image of themselves as teachers.
The peddlers of particular paths have a clever expression: “There are many paths to truth.” That’s false however. There is no path to the truth. One perennially begins where one is, and negates the grooves and habits of thought simply through undivided observation to the movement of thought and emotion.
So there is no technique, no method and no ‘practice.’ They are all products of thought, will and time, and negating thought, will and time is the true meaning of meditation.
No one can teach a person how to meditate, because there is no ‘how.’ One can only observe, experiment and question—at once seriously and playfully —within oneself, without any goal or guide.
So if one has the urge to meditate, what do you do? First, do nothing, and be fine with it. Drop all inward goals, which can be very subtle. End the separate observer by catching the mind in the act of dividing itself from itself. In philosophical terms, the observer is an infinite regress,’ which is true in more ways than one given the way things are headed. The observer lies at the root of human disorder.
Awakening meditation requires an intense passive watchfulness, allowing an effortless quickening of awareness, as well as the willingness to let go rather than return to control when the ground beneath the conscious mind begins to dissolve. Undirected attention and spontaneous insight act on the brain, quieting the mind-as-thought and renewing and transforming the brain.
Though thought is the impediment to clarity and wholeness, thought is not a movement in opposition to our true nature. There is no such thing as “true self.” To think and to have thoughts is part of human nature.
But so-called human nature can and must change. Attending to and negating the movement of thought transcends the limitations and obstructions to growing as a human being. To go beyond the mind-as-thought, one has to have deep and lasting intent to understand one’s own mind, which is the mind of humankind.
It’s an exquisitely beautiful afternoon in the parkland, and thought there are many people on the roads trails and pedestrian roads, a sense of serenity pervades the ribbon of water and foliage that runs through town.
The sitting at streamside induces a meditative state quickly, with attention initiating the movement of negation, which in turn acts on the mind-as-thought without effort. As often happens in the deeper states of meditation, one becomes aware of the omnipresence of death, which is happening at the cellular level every moment and is in our every breath. It’s strange how death and love go together. When one is fully present, they feel inseparable, and flow through one like the lightly lapping waters of the creek.
A hundred meters upstream, a sister and her younger brother are having a rollicking good time in the water. The girl leads them downstream and then up again, over a washboard section of the creek. The boy cannot contain his joy. For the better part of an hour, he periodically shouts over and over: “I’m free, I’m free!”