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True Meditation

True meditation has no direction, goals, or method. All methods aim at achieving a certain state of mind. All states are limited, impermanent and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True meditation is abidance as primordial consciousness.

True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not fixated on objects of perception. When you first start to meditate you notice that awareness is always focused on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc.

This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.

In true meditation all objects are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to manipulate or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself.

Primordial awareness (consciousness) is the source in which all objects arise and subside. As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the mind's compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.

Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects.

Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non-state of Presence.

The simple yet profound question, "Who Am I ?," can then reveal one's self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being -- Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE.

by Adyashanti

The All-embracing Totality

True meditation is to become transparent to the point of transcendence, whereby the mind matures to a state of constant awareness of the presence of the totality of divine reality that surrounds and fills us. In this experience, the opposition between samsara and nirvana dissolves. We will continue to ripen to the point where the world that appears as samsara to world-bound people of average awareness is experienced as the all-embracing totality, the fullness of divine being. "All is filled with the fullness of God!" (Ephesians 3:19).

From Free Yourself of Everything by Wolfgang Kopp

Transformative Meditation

The early spiritual masters of China explicitly and almost exclusively focused on the transformative effect of meditation on our situation as a whole. They remained almost completely silent about its subjective or experiential dimension. The point of meditation, as they saw it, is not an exalting experience of some sort - even though such experiences may, at times, occur - but it is realizing the kind of thoughtless virtuosity and charisma that characterizes a person who artlessly draws out the best of any situation.

Effecting this transformation means being always able to complement the prevailing pattern of energy or, as they called it, qi (pronounced, chi or chee) that characterizes our situation. Not only must meditators sense - like freely improvising virtuoso musicians - precisely what will work, they must be in the immediate position to channel or release just that quality and amount of qi needed to transform a uniquely troubled situation into a liberating one.

This mind of doubt is a dramatic vacuum into which energy is drawn from everything nearby. In effect, it impoverishes our situation and renders it incapable of taking care of itself. Accordingly, we must instead put a stop to all manner of picking and choosing. Thus, many of the spiritual masters referred to the function of meditation as realizing the "great, round mirror wisdom."

This is not an appeal for cultivating a capacity to reflect accurately on or display knowledge about the world. In wisdom teaching, the distinctive nature of mirrors is that they neither reject nor hold onto anything. In mirrors, all things can be freely present, coming and going without obstruction, leaving no traces. The mirror metaphor thus links wisdom with a capacity for fully receiving and openly offering back everything that comes to us.

As the "body" of wisdom, this kind of meditation is not about properly reflecting or representing how things are. It is about shining with the contributory light of all things, immediately focusing and blending their diverse energies and returning them into meaningful and harmonious circulation.

When speaking of meditation in terms of energy work, the Chinese masters often associated the metaphor of the "great, round mirror wisdom" with the ocean. Although this mixing of metaphors - the mirror and the ocean - might be considered odd, it makes perfect sense in the context of a qi cosmology.

Before entering China's scientific and philosophical canon, the word "qi" originally referred to the quality of movements and moods associated with waters, vapors, and clouds. The languid gurgling of fog-shrouded mountain springs marked a certain quality of qi. So did the roaring of cataract-producing waterfalls, the rumbling boulder crashes of a summer thunderstorm, the silent swirl of a snow flurry, the howling of a hurricane gale, and the splashing heartbeat rhythms of breaking waves.

As the center of the circulatory system joining heaven and earth, the ocean receives all waters, eventually giving birth to clouds that carry purified vapor to every part of the globe, where eventually it condenses and falls, shaping the land and nurturing all living things. As the ocean was understood as cleansing and purifying the muddy river waters flowing into it, the samadhi, or attentive virtuosity, of the true meditator was understood as being continuously open to all things and capable of restoring their original nature.

Clearly, if we are busy expending all of our energy in search of this or that culminating experience, we will not be in a position to accord with our situation and respond as needed. It is the nature of seeking certain things that it requires excluding from awareness a great many others.

The single method consistently offered for the practice of transformative meditation is: not seeking anything and welcoming whatever comes your way. As master Huangbo (Huang Po) put it, this is the only sure way of "conserving the mind's energy"- the only way of insuring that the energy needed for appreciative and contributory brilliance is continuously available.

When we insist on trying to control our present or on imagining better things from the past or in the future, we effectively drain the present situation of value and place ourselves in poverty. When we give up all seeking, we stop draining our situation. Nor are we drained by it. Because the flow of energy into and through us never ceases, we are always in a position of benefiting and being benefited by others.

The most commonly prescribed method for restoring the free circulation of qi was "stilling the mind" or realizing a "nonmoving mind." A mind that is worried and rushing here and there in search of a "solution" to the problem of doubt or the problem of inadequate energy is effectively closed to the present moment and in no position to receive anything.

To suggest a metaphor, it is like digging frantically for water in a mountain hollow on a gently rainy day. Water is welling up slowly from a deep underground spring, but we are scraping up and tossing dirt out so fast it never has a chance to collect as a clean, drinkable supply. Rainwater showers the area and is trickling down into the hollow, but we are so busy digging, we are completely unaware of it. Again, it cannot collect because we keep throwing it up out of the hollow in our desperate search for water.

From Chan Buddhism by Peter D Hershock