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Meditation as the “Natural State”

February 28, 2007

I was listening to a CD of Adyashanti and he talked about meditation as our “natural state”. He defined it as a state in which we are not involved in manipulating our experience in any way. I love that description. My sense is that suffering and lack of ease with living comes from resistance to what is happening, whether it is resistance to events or to our own internal process. That resistance leads to constant attempts to try to change what’s happening — trying to change the way are or the way we feel or even what is taking place. In meditation, we run away from some experiences and try to create or hold onto other experiences. It is such a relief when we can let that all go and be in the “natural state”!

From another angle, though, absolutely everything is our natural state. Whatever happens is happening naturally, spontaneously, even the resistance to what is happening. We really can’t be out of our natural state. That’s the trouble with trying to talk about what meditation is! There may be a word or phrase that for a moment captures something and causes an inner “aha”, but it slips away when we start to pursue it with our minds.

When I lead a guided meditation, I don’t really have an idea in mind about what meditation is or what people should or shouldn’t experience. I do encourage freedom and much of what I say has to do with letting go of resistance to the natural flow of experience. But the experience that someone has when listening to my meditations has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. If someone becomes very relaxed with my meditations or goes very deep, it is because that was ready to happen for them.

For me it’s all a mystery. How did it come about that I lead guided meditations and now have CDs and podcasts and people listen and meditate with me? It’s all about the Life that holds us all in its embrace and brings us together in the most interesting of ways! When I lead a guided meditation, it is as much for me as for those who listen. Even though I “teach” meditation, I’ve come to know that I don’t teach anyone anything. We’re all in a process of learning together.

Again and again as I write this blog, I realize how impossible it is to talk about meditation and say what it is. It’s at once a state of being and a process. It’s a word that means many different things to different people. For me, it has many meanings and meanings that change over time. Defining it as the “natural state” feels good today and certainly started off an interesting stream of thoughts for me. What does the “natural state” mean to you?

Comments

2 Responses to “Meditation as the “Natural State””

  1. Mary on February 28th, 2007 2:46 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful quote, tarasarah.

    I’m all for quoting great masters and anyone whose words inspire me — glad you went ahead!

    It does seem that hearing the same wisdom from many voices helps it to penetrate deeper. When we hear and use the same words and concepts over and over, they can become stale and lose their impact. I’d never heard this quote so it really went deep.

  2. tarasarah on February 28th, 2007 2:22 pm

    thankyou for this post!! is it fair to go ahead and quote a great meditation master? i ran across this teaching from Milarepa and put it in a blog yesterday. it seems to release us from feeling as if we need to avoid what naturally comes up ~

    Milarepa’s Song of Six Essential Points

    Mental projections way outnumber the dust motes you see in the sunlight;

    A great yogi knows what appears for what it is.

    At bottom, the nature of things isn’t a product of causes, nor of conditions

    A great yogi cuts to the core of the issue.

    Even a hundred men with spears couldn’t stop the thought-bubbles of consciousness;

    A great yogi knows not to get hung up on them.

    You can’t lock up the flow of mind in an iron box;

    A great yogi knows mind to be intrinsically empty.

    Wisdom gods and goddesses don’t say no to sensory pleasures;

    A great yogi knows this full well.

    The Buddha’s own hands couldn’t block the appearance of objects to the consciousness;

    A great yogi knows there is no object behind the appearance.

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