it's been said "the way you do anything is the way you do everything". when many of us begin trying to meditate, we do so in the manner in which we do most everything. that is, we imagine the result we want, then do something we believe or hope will achieve that result,
what a lot of us hope to achieve in meditation is some sort of spiritual awakening or enlightenment. the barrier that arises with this approach is hidden in plain sight. the solution is simple yet so elusive that enlightenment is widely considered to be impossible for all but a few gifted masters throughout history.
the power of enlightenment is not a thing that may be attained because it is already part of our being. it is accessed through non-effort. this indescribable spiritual awakening is simply what is revealed when the endless train of thoughts flowing thorough our minds ceases, the myriad of concepts and perceptions we have naturally developed momentarily disappear and we are consciously aware without thinking any thoughts. what we are aware of in these enlightened moments cannot be explained by a mental concept quite simply because it is the absence of mental concept.
if you've tried different forms of meditation but have attained nothing more than a relaxed feeling (not a bad thing) or a level of frustration, perhaps you're trying too hard. in fact, if you're "trying" at all, you are trying too hard.
meditation is simple, gentle and most of all, effortless. that can be very difficult for us humans as we're pretty much hardwired with ambition and desire to be doers. the following has bode well for many people i've worked with over the years:
sit quietly and apply any relaxation technique(s) you have utilized successfully to relax your body. after a few moments, as you begin to feel relaxed, gently bring your awareness to whatever thoughts are flowing through your mind. as you gently notice your thoughts, allow them to be in your awareness without trying to change, coerce or direct them in any way. simply practice this this noticing. notice you can apply awareness without doing anything.
notice you are the awareness and the thoughts that you are allowing to flow are unnecessary for the awareness to continue.
if your attention begins to wander, allow it to as you effortlessly notice that is simply the thought your awareness is noticing. allow yourself the luxury of not knowing what is going to happen.
there is no goal so there is nothing to do, just gently notice. awareness of the stream of thoughts will allow it to slow and eventually stop. it will do this in it's own time if you simply allow it to by noticing without interfering. be patient and kind with allowing yourself the gift of effortless non-thinking and non-doing regularly, perhaps daily. at the moment it is revealed, you will know why you desire this awakening.
gently applying awareness throughout the day can also be quite revealing. part of the gift of being alive is effort, thinking and doing. so by all means, put forth effort. think and do! simply allow your awareness to notice what you're doing at any given moment and notice what you're thinking and feeling while you're doing it.
"my friend addiction came over to my house a bunch of times and i'd eagerly let him in.
we hung out, had fun & it was cool.
after a while, my friend would come over & knock on the door. "hey devo, it's me, can i come in?".
i'd open the door, a bit weary from all the hanging out we'd done but we'd hang out some more.
one day, my friend addiction came over & knocked on the door. "hey devo, it's me can i come in?".
i opened the door & he punched me right in the face, it was a good one too! i slammed the door & put some ice on my nose.
the very next day, my friend came over & knocked on the door, "hey devo, it's me, can i come in?". i said "no way, you punched me in the face". he said "i'm sorry, you know we're friends and i love you, please let me in & i'll make it up to you". i opened the door & he punched me right in the face again. i slammed the door & put some ice on my nose.
the following day, my friend addiction came over & knocked on the door, "hey devo, i'm sorry about the punch yesterday, i love you, please let me in". i said "no way, you're going to punch me in the face again". he said "no i won't, i promise". i opened the door & he punched me right in the face ...again.
it took me a while, but i stopped letting him in, he wasn't a good friend.
he kept coming over everyday for a some time but i didn't open the door. i made new friends & hung out with them. they didn't punch me in the face.
my ex-friend addiction eventually got a clue & stopped coming over. he sends me a letter every now & then, apologizing & asking to get together. i throw it in the trash & hang out with good, loving friends exclusively now."
-devo a brown