What Today Brings
All theologies are straws His sun burns to dust;
Knowing takes you to the Threshold, but not through the Door.
Nothing can teach you if you don’t unlearn everything.
How learned I was, before Revelation made me dumb.
- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
When we opened our eyes after fifteen minutes of silence, my mom asked me what the goal of meditation was. What I wanted to say immediately was that there was no goal. In fact, meditation is anti-goal. It is striving for a space… no it’s not striving, it is anti-striving. It is Being, relaxing into the place of pure consciousness. I tried to remember how my meditation teacher put it. Tom Thompson runs the Awakened Heart Center for Conscious Living in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Week after week a small, diverse group of us gathered in his living room for a lecture and discussion followed by thirty minutes of silent meditation. Tom then softly tapped the Tibetan singing bowl with a tiny wooden mallet and out came a deep rich tone emanating purity and ceremony. We bowed and exited in silence, our feet creating the only sound as they stepped on the tiny pine needles surrounding his home.
“Most people are deeply engaged in the on-going drama of their ‘me’ mind and never stop long enough to question whether any of what they are thinking and believing is actually true.” Tom said. “This question is an act of existential courage that ultimately brings down the imaginary walls that separate us. This is true freedom.”
This freedom comes from letting go of the ego, the illusion that we are all separate. The ego is a made-up personality we have crafted since we were born. Our ego says we are a proud Native American or that we are poor and from the wrong side of the tracks, or that we are wealthy and special. The ego says we have a golden touch or that we are the victim of bad circumstance. Our ego says we are Black or White or Polish or Jewish, when in fact we are all part of the same Divine Ocean. Our individuality can be likened to a wave, different than all the other waves but still part of the same vast ocean. This analogy helped me understand. Each wave emerges, unlike any other, performs a unique dance in the air, subsequently returning to the sea. We hail from one Divine Source. Therefore, we are that Divine Source expressing itself through us and experiencing life a zillion different ways. When we rest in silent, non-dual, non-judgmental silent meditation, we are one with our source. We let fall by the wayside how weak or strong we think we are, how rich or poor, how accomplished or not.
To rest in pure consciousness, you have to release all preconceived notions. Perhaps difficult to follow or swallow, you have to be open to ideas that have never occurred to you.The brilliant poet T.S. Eliot wrote of meditation, “I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So, the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
Difficult, no doubt. Even enlightenment guru Eckart Tolle acknowledged the practice of meditation, never so bold as to imply it has been mastered. “I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats.”