By: Larry Li
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Meditation and Familiarity. Published at the Inspire Health Center newsletter located in Vancouver, BC.
Meditation and familiarity
By: Larry Li
By: Larry Li
Someone much wiser than I once said that meditation is running into reality, implying that there is space for discovery and of course, running. This line of thought is harmonious the idea that in meditation we are discovering ourselves and the world around us. Learning to see the world everyday as new and fresh is a part of meditation as is learning to see reality without impressing our own judgments onto them. Please allow me to omit discussions of concentration, mindfulness, and insight today as we explore the idea of meditation as the act of familiarity. Be aware that this article is intended to prime your attitudes towards meditation so that you can discover your own meditative states of mind.
The Sanskrit word for meditation is sometimes translated into familiarity or the practice of becoming familiar. What do we become familiar with in meditation? It seems almost ridiculous to say that we are not familiar with ourselves but that is exactly what I am contending here. We are not so familiar with ourselves. In meditation I had to admit to myself that I did not know much about myself. I was quite familiar with my likes and dislikes and I was skilled at pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain; beyond that however I had little more to say.
In meditation we should seek to hold an intention for aspiration while allowing the mind to present itself in whatever manner in each present moment. The keyword here is allow and the skill of learning to allow is one that can be difficult to cultivate. With time and consistency however it is achievable by every single one of us. Developing our ability to “allow” can bring about profound and much unexpected positive changes to your life.
Furthermore, it is important to hold an open, neutral, and curious attitude to each mental phenomenon that arises. It is useful to maintain a sense of neutral witnessing in your meditation. Approach your own existence and consciousness with compassion. Often times we are extremely hard on ourselves in meditation and expect too much too quickly. Often there is an illusion within ourselves that we can control our minds, meditation can show you quickly that the key is learning to let go of this desire for control. Paradoxically, it is in learning to skillfully release this control that we gain a sense of control and knowing on a deeper level. This is a common theme in meditation as the inner path often presents knowledge that upon first examination seem contradictory.
With regards to the act of becoming familiar, I say that there is no bad meditation and there is no good meditation; there simply is. In meditation we practice just observing ourselves and nothing more. It is important to equip yourself with a deep sense of humility as you approach your own existence with a blank slate. By doing this we will slowly become familiar with our tendencies to judge ourselves. We will become familiar with how we instantly react to steer the mind to a “good” place. In meditation we seek to see more than just the light, we seek to learn how to illuminate the darkness. Step by step we become more familiar and step by step our awareness expands. Concentration and insight is built from within and we begin to develop the capacity to truly internalize and integrate with the truths that we recognize to be so. Meditation will change your life at the very core of your existence and there is no one but you to do it. Best wishes to you my friend and good luck.