Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nowhere to be

Is meditation boring? That question was asked by today's InnerNet Weekly email. In response, American guru and spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen, had this response:
In order for the experience of meditation to be endlessly fascinating and infinitely compelling, you have to be interested in 'nothing.' Day in and day out, we are constantly pre-occupied with one thing or another, always busy with 'something.' But if you want to experience profound meditation, and a depth that liberates, the objective of your attention must be nothing--absolutely nothing whatsoever.
Cohen suggests that the meditator imagine sitting in a dark movie theatre waiting for a film to start. Instead of waiting, writes Cohen, imagine that you become passionately interested in the darkness and nothingness. There is, he continues, 'something' in the nothingness that once discovered is infinitely compelling, and absolutely absorbing.... Once you truly become interested in the darkness, you wouldn't want the movie to start. You might actually be disappointed when it started, because it would take you away from your meditation.

I see parallels with T'ai Chi Chih moving meditation. There are days when my practice is so all-encompassing that I need do nothing more than stay in the softness of the present moment: shifting weight, leading with t'an t'ien, keeping my attention in the soles of my feet.

Lately, of course, like many others I've been busy, distracted, and overwhelmed. Though I know the value of staying attuned to the moment, I'm too geared up, too on alert, too high speed to allow myself to slow, breathe, relax, wait.

During tonight's TCC practice I began to deaccelerate. I applied the brakes, movement after movement, breath upon breath. By the conclusion of my half-hour practice I was just beginning to journey beyond the boundaries of my day-to-day existence and relax into a greater emptiness. Tomorrow I'll return to this location. And the next day. And the next. Each day a continuation of the ever-present jouney. Each day a new beginning. Each day, each moment carrying me into the mystery of nothingness. With no-thing to do.

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