Each of us, in our own way, is seeking liberation. We want to experience the rapture of reality. We have been taught to pursue this through addition. We want to add happiness, prosperity, love, success. Yet no matter how much we add to ourselves, achieve, or possess, still we are not whole. That is because we can never experience the rapture of reality through addition. We only experience the heart-piercing light of reality through subtraction, when we empty ourselves of everything. Then there is silence. There is love.
Lack of love propels our search for wholeness and experience of fulfillment. But if "we" do the seeking, we will fail. We are in the way. Our own self is the barrier to love. We can't do anything about it. We can only see it. Then it ends, by itself. This is what meditation is: the ending of ourselves and the beginning of the rapture of reality.
At first, meditation is a practice that teaches us to focus our attention on a single point, perhaps the breath or a mantra or the space between two thoughts. As we focus, we are amazed to discover how many thoughts we have. We begin to see that the mind is nothing but thoughts about things, and thoughts about thoughts. We can observe the chaos of the mind, racing without order or purpose from one thing to the next, careening from the past to the future while barely touching the present moment. We also see that all of these thoughts are self-centered; our whole internal experience is qualified by this central thought, this image of "me."
As we continue to focus the mind, we begin to observe our thoughts and feeling states without getting lost in them. We see that these mental/emotional states arise in numberless waves within the mind. That which observes the play of thoughts is not the mind but the awareness from which the mind itself is born. We can see that this awareness is qualitatively different than thinking. It has a depth and silence to it. Gradually, we begin to perceive through this awareness, in silence, without thoughts, images and symbols. And, as we do, our own sense of self becomes transparent.
Meditation ends our anxiety of self-centeredness because it invites us into the silence of pure awareness. In this awareness, our spirit is liberated from conditions. We no longer need strategies in life, because the fundamental condition that needs strategies-the condition of "me"-has disappeared.
Our entry into this silence marks the end of meditation as a practice and the beginning of meditation as a state of being. Our chronic restlessness subsides. A different way of seeing and knowing is arouse, a capacity of intuitive perception that is wholistic and instantaneous.
In the stillness, we feel a subtle, pervasive presence. When we try to know that presence, it recedes, returning as we relax and simply allow it to be. Our thoughts and struggles appear in the midst of all of this, but they no longer obscure that presence. This is called natural meditation. It is the encounter with our Source. It is who we are, once we have relinquished our smallness, pettiness, and fear. As we relax into awareness, we see that we are the background from which all these forms arise. We see this glowing presence as a shimmering light around everything. It is indescribably beautiful and in the midst of this beauty we fall in love with all things.
Meditation is an ending of ourselves and an opening into life before form, full of beauty, full of peace, full of love. We intuitively move towards silence because we can never be fulfilled unless we return to our Source. We've forgotten about the Source; nonetheless, it is the very ground upon which we stand and live. It is the essence of what we are, though we constantly overlook it's shattering simplicity and ever-presence.
Yet whether we see it nor not, that light is within us. If we would just sit quietly by the open window of our heart for a few minutes each day, soon that light would be evident.
If we need an image of that light within us for the sake of the mind that becomes lost in its brilliance, we might see a single white rose poised toward eternity while still glistening in the early morning sun.
May everyone be at peace, in love, and know their most perfect Self.
Robert Rabbin is an author, speaker, and advisor. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing: 2629 Manhattan Ave., Ste. 192, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available in bookstores or from the publisher at (800) 777-1048.
"Echoes in Silence" is a bi-weekly column by Robert Rabbin--author, speaker, and advisor--who has spend thirty years using self-inquiry as a means to explore the true nature of self, mind, reality, and consciousness.
His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available through the bookstores nationwide.