Reflections on the Inner Art of Meditation

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The goal of meditation, if there is a goal, isn’t about attaining a permanent state of bliss. Everyone will feel times of joy and sorrow, of uncertainty and happiness, of peace and confusion.

To meditate is to see those experiences as they are in each moment. Not to judge, comment, or get lost in them. Just being loving awareness is enough. Tending to what is happening.

When we live with presence, we begin to open up a little more, to be a little bit more vulnerable and honest with ourselves, breathing in and out with all of the universe. Alive as the universe itself, unfolding.

As one swami said, the waves of an ocean won’t go away, but you can learn to surf.

Just pick a practice and stick with it. Instead of flittering from one discipline to another, we must find one that opens our hearts and helps us to be free.

We will still feel envy, anger, depression, greed, and so on, but we can be aware of these feelings as they happen and slowly transform them with kindness, love, and patience.

In meditation, we follow our sensations, thoughts, and feelings as they’re passing. We let them come and go and don’t need to identify as them.

Our bodies may ache, we may cry, we may feel worried, angry, fearful, happy, excited, calm, or blocked. We may feel restlessness, tension in our faces, pain deep in our bones.

All of these things are normal processes. We are making a discovery of ourselves every moment by simply being aware. We can note what happens and return to our breathing.

There is no need to make any judgement about our experience, trying to control the moment with thoughts about how something should feel or be. Meditation is attention to the present moment without evaluation.

We don’t have to make life different than what it is. All we have to do is be with life as it is.

When the mind can listen patiently, all our questions are answered. When the heart can open, everything is love.

Nothing is really grasped for too long. Things come and go and come and go.

There is great wisdom in our uncertain experiences, and in change, there is a deeper truth within us.

We can listen with a beginner’s mind while not expecting or claiming anything. We do not have to overflow with opinions about who we are, what we want, what is right or wrong.

When we are empty, we can let ourselves experience our pain and sorrow and joy and happiness.

If we can be compassionate toward the darker aspects of ourselves, we can love others. If we can be aware of the seasons that arise and pass within ourselves, we can know the changing conditions of all people.

Meditation isn’t only about sitting still and counting our breaths. It’s about being truly alive in all that we are doing.

We can always be awake when we are driving in heavy traffic, when we bite into a sandwich, when we listen to a friend, when we walk alone at night. Most of us do things automatically, not thinking of where we are, consumed in stories and memories.

We may forget again and again, but in only a moment, we can come back and awaken.

With tenderness toward ourselves and everyone else, we can be here and now.

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