One of the reasons we begin to meditate can be because we want to solve the problem of being a human. Experience is uncomfortable and we want to learn to transcend it, but only if we don’t have to feel any awful feelings, as after all awful feelings and situations are what we want to avoid. There’s this idea that we can train our minds into an impervious detachment. Somehow meditation must provide only a dopaminey, seratoniney type experience, otherwise we must be doing it wrong.
Strangely even though we want to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, we can spend all day obsessing over them, and feeding them with our attention.
We are convinced there is a problem, and we either ruminate on the various aspects of the problem for much of our waking hours, or we partake in soothing activities to try to take our minds off it and get some relief. If we believe meditation is a soothing activity undertaken as a solution to a problem, we will attempt to use thought to stop thinking, we will desire to end desire, the self will want to stay around so it can witness the dissolving of the self. We are very concerned with getting it right, we want team Right to triumph over team Wrong, but life continues to include ideas of failure and mistakes, and we still continue to feel fear and anxiety. We are not happy about this. Meditation must provide results! Our productivity index must rise! We must become a better human! We have to do something.
We have many ideas of what a happy and contented person might be like, and we identify that we are still not permanently that person. We are trying to mould the clay of life to fit a series of abstract ideas of perfection. These ideas are a combination of social constructions, group mythologies, and individualised filtered points of view and preferences.
Am I going to suggest ‘having no problem’ as a solution to having a problem, so then you can police your problem type thoughts with no problem type thoughts? Is it possible to be so totally detached?
No, but what if Life has no problem with us?
Lucky for us there is an ‘isness’ in whose Attention both our ‘problem’ and ‘no problem’ thoughts arise.
The idea of ‘being here now’ will prevent the being here now. The idea of the perfect body prevents the acceptance of the body experience. The idea of world peace highlights the conflict. The idea of unlimited abundance draws attention to the numbers in the bank account. The idea of success precipitates failure.
There is a noticing and welcoming curiosity behind all ideas. It is fun (scary fun for the ego?) to notice this noticing. There is the idea of the self, and the ideas occurring to this idea.
Who notices? Where do the ideas come from? Did our brain really create them? We often assume so, but the noticing shows that ideas are simply patterns, like all experience.
Ideas are phenomena, ideas are mathematics. Ideas are systems, like all life, they are the pattern unfolding.
Our true nature is the One who Notices, or Knows the pattern, and IS the pattern.
So no, it is not possible to be that detached with your mind, or to meditate enough to make your mind become that detached. True meditation is simply a surrender to the Mind in which your mind is but a pattern. Here is the ultimate detachment, so rest Here. If you can’t rest, its ok, eventually your body+mind will fall asleep, and here rest is faithfully delivered every time in deep sleep. When you awake your mind will take up the problem burden again, but it needs your attention to fuel it. Why not be curious instead and turn your attention back to what attends to you, and IS you?
What if pain and fear and anxiety and mistakes and not-enough-ness are not problems to be solved, or experiences to be avoided? What if the reason we resist them is because we have ideas about what they are? There is a welcoming Presence these challenging experiences can be surrendered into, it is our True Self.
We come now to an important point: that the idea of surrender is also not surrender. The complement of surrender is control and of course the idea of surrender looks a lot like controlled surrender, You know -when someone says to you ‘Just let go’ and its damned infuriating! It is also hilarious if you can tilt your head a little. The bitter irony! The harder we try to let go the more it becomes evident we are hanging on for dear life.
The even bigger irony is what is in the way of surrender is not really control, it is the idea of Freedom.
Since I’m writing about the ultimate cliff-hanger, more on that next time xx