No Moment Left Behind
Why does establishing a practice of meditation seem so difficult? Clearly it is one of the more challenging aspects of yoga or it would not have been saved for the last of the eight limbs.
There are many poetic ways to describe what meditation is, but in its essence it’s quite simple and maybe that’s why it feels so difficult. Something so profound could not possibly be so simple? At least that’s what our minds would like to think. We are quite used to making things more complex than at times necessary.
Meditation is a state of “being”; literally being in this moment. This means that if we are fully in this moment, none of the previous moments need to define us, nor do future moments need tug on us. We arrive free and clear. This arriving into momentary “being” free and clear can feel quite scary. Why scary? Well, we arrive without the baggage of our ego, our history or our anticipations. Often that’s everything that has defined us. Becoming undefined can feel shaky and unsettling, though if we allow ourselves to rest here often and consistently, it can be freeing in the deepest sense.
I just finished reading a wonderful book by Dean Sluyter, titled Natural Meditation. It is among the best and simplest books I have read on the topic. In it he shares a tibetan saying, “Gompa ma yin, kompa yin”. “Meditation isn’t, acclimation is.” Basically, meditation is a state of doing nothing; this “doing nothing” is what requires acclimation. We are so tethered to a productivity oriented society that focuses on doing. This is not in and of itself an unwholesome thing, especially when steeped in balance. However, this is also why it is so hard to believe that something so potentially profound could be an act of non-doing, non-results oriented “being”. What a lovely paradox to explore!
This fresh, unbound, undefined capacity for “being” can bring us into the moment with the newness of a child walking his or her first steps, ready to fall as much as being ready to take the next step forward. As we practice, the beauty of meditative, effortless “being” can be invited along the path in all moments, waking, sleeping, walking, standing, listening, conversing. No moment is left behind. No feeling is left untouched. And yes, in the words of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, “All is coming”.
** I’ll be offering two series beginning in April at Yoga Yoga. One will be focused on the techniques and benefits of mindfulness meditation. The second will focus on the four sublime qualities of heart. I look forward to threading in some of the beautiful wisdom and insights from Dean Sluyter across both series.