I didn’t quite mean to spread out my “How to Make Meditation Simple” series over six parts, but I suppose breaking it up into smaller chunks is an easier way to go about it so that you can better absorb the information.
In this part, I’m going to touch on the idea of stepping out of the way of the process so that it can unfold. I’ve done that in various ways throughout the other posts, but I want to get more specific in this particular one.
It’s a branch of the whole bit about the conundrum/trap we can get caught in of how we think we have to figure out everything, as I discussed in the previous post. What I’m really meaning is that the trick to thoroughly engage in your life is to disengage from the process during meditation. Especially during meditation. That in itself — the act of disengaging — is an action step in and of itself.
What I am intending to get across, again, is that all you are is an information-gatherer for much of the time, and that the only time you need to actively “do” anything is when you get an “a-ha” about how to create something — to take the neecessary action step, or to act on an opportunity (obvious or veiled) that your Little Voice is telling you to take.
Meditation is designed, at heart, simply to help you get awareness. That’s it. If you want to put an intention behind your practice of meditation, leave it at that — and only that. Let go of defining specific awarenesses you want, specific outcomes, specific answers. Meditate simply to meditate. You can no more force where the meditation goes than you can a river. I realize that’s kind of a cliche of a metaphor…but it’s very true. The point of meditation is the journey itself and where it takes you, and what opportunities start to arise from it. That means that the benefits of meditation don’t just remain in those few minutes you take — they start to spread out into all areas of your life, like opening a gate to let water flow into a parched field. And like the water, you cannot dictate where the flow will go. It’s going to follow its own course. But, eventually — it will reach all corners.
Yes, there are some things you can do to guide the water to certain areas before others, but that’s about it. You can only guide one area at a time. Some places may stay dry longer than others…and that’s okay. Eventually the water will reach it. But, for the most part, your only act is to simply open that gate each day, saturating the field. Your act of meditation is the equivalent.
Disengaging from the process, allowing it to unfold as it needs to, will actually help things happen faster. When you get in the way of the flow, you’re creating further blocks. All you have to do is open the gate, then start removing obstacles you see blocking the flow of water. So you’re not directing the water, you’re helping it flow where it needs to go.
People always ask me how they can “make” the process they’re in go faster. How they can “figure out” faster. How they can get answers “faster.” They try, pouring all their energy into confusing watching/witnessing/observing to make that the way to “figure out”. Except that’s how they wind up frustrated to almost tears sometimes. They’ll get an insight and become upset as it wasn’t the one they wanted or expected. The water is very wise, as is the landscape. It — like awareness — will naturally flow to where it needs to go first, and you’ll have to accept that it may head left first to the potatoes when you want it to go right to the sunflowers. In other words, the water flows to where its needed first. The benefits of meditation do the same thing, and those benefits come from awareness.
By stepping out of the flow and letting it happen, that’s how the answers and solutions and results come faster. It’s how we move through the chaos faster. Now, this doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for directing yourself into better choices and action steps. If you want to go to a specific port, you’re going to have to make sure you help guide your boat to it, otherwise you’re going to drift right past it. The river isn’t responsible for getting you to your destination, to new choices and changing around self-talk — you are. The river’s job is to flow, your job is to direct yourself…not the actual water.
By stepping back and watching/witnessing/observing, you’ll be able to see where you’ve steered yourself wrong before. Why, perhaps, you keep coming back to a certain port of call when you want to go elsewhere. You may think you’re directing yourself differently, but if you keep landing in Cairo and you want to go to Venice…well, you’re still doing something to get you back to Cairo.
Meditation, and the act of observing your thoughts and choices so you gain awareness (as a note here, you can know what you’re doing, but if you still keep doing it, you haven’t gotten awareness. Awareness isn’t knowing. Awareness is getting it on a deeply fundamental level. Where you actually feel the shift-click of information dropping into place. It’s when you get the “a-ha”). So when you meditate, meditate just for meditation’s sake, no matter what method you choose and like. Meditating just to meditate will get the flow going. It’ll open that gate each day and let in water to your parched and dusty life, even if you open it for just five minutes.
Another note here: Opening that gate more, for longer periods of time, and/or more often will not create faster, better results. Instead, you’ll get flooded with too much and get in the way of the process. If you think of a dried-up pot of dirt or yard, you have to gradually soak it with water to get it fully moistened. If you open that gate for too long every day, or too often, you’ll just get a lake. You want to use the soil under the water. Gradual, steady steps. And lots of patience. And more time than you may prefer.
Disengaging from the process, watching the way you would polar bears on the other side of the glass at the zoo, stepping in only when you truly need to do so — sometimes frequently, sometimes not for awhile — will generate the best, and widest-reaching benefits. It will rejuvenate the soil of your life and make it so you can plant delicious things and not feel overrun with weeds…which will still come, but, in time, it’ll be easier to pull them out as they’ll be fewer and fewer of them, and the soil will be softer.
Step back, watch, observe and witness, take action steps when you need to do so, be mindful of the process so you don’t become continually stuck in eddies or on mudbanks (which will sometimes still happen; all part of the process). Disengaging is the equivalent of pulling up the anchor so that you can turn on the motor. And what you’ll discover is that you’ll have the ability to do exactly what Jean Luc-Picard always said in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Engage, and make it so.
Monkey See, Monkey Do: When Your Mind is Full of Gibbons — Meditation, Part 1 of 6
Creating a Order from Chaos: Practice, Time, Patience — Meditation, Part 2 of 6
Keeping it Simple — Meditation, Part 3 of 6
Watching for Awareness: Meditation, Part 4 of 6
Walking Yourself Through the Process: Meditation, Part 6 of 6
Top image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net.
Questions? Comments? Email me at heather (at) smallchangelife (dot) org or drop by my Facebook page and leave me a message, leave a comment below or feel free to start up a conversation in the discussion forum.