April 24, 2007
The YouTube video of Father Bede Griffiths speaking of his surrender in the process of almost dying created a profound state of meditation for me. There’s really nothing I can say but watch it!
Note: Father Bede Griffiths, Swami Dayananda, was a Benedictine monk who became a sannyasi in India. You can read his inspiring biography here.
April 20, 2007
I used to feel that relaxation was a somewhat insignificant by-product of meditation. Although I desperately needed to learn to relax when I started meditation, I needed to see myself as a seeker of enlightenment rather than the stressed out person that I was. For years I thought of meditation in very “lofty” terms. It wasn’t until I was recording our Pure Relaxation CD that it began to dawn on me that to be able to be totally relaxed is the ultimate sign of spiritual maturity.
Being able to relax is a reflection of everything that we seek spiritually. Think about what you are seeking on your spiritual path. How would relaxation fit into that picture? When I reflect on what I’ve longing for over the years, they are all the same as the ability to be totally relaxed. I’ve wanted to feel a sense of trust. How can you relax without trust? I’ve wanted to feel peace. If you are at peace, you are relaxed. I wanted spontaneity and freedom — can these occur without relaxation?
Relaxation happens when there is an absence of tension and holding. It happens in surrender. It happens when we let go. The sense that we have to defend ourselves or be guarded in any way is gone. When we are really relaxed, we are open and intimate with everything. There is no more self and other, there is only one.
Can you remember a time when you were totally relaxed? Would you see that as a spiritual experience?
April 11, 2007
My guided meditations arise out of my own meditation practice and exploration. When I sit to record a CD or podcast, I close my eyes and enter a meditative state and see what comes. Currently I’m working on a CD of meditations using the breath. In the process of doing this, some entirely new meditations have come up. As I explore my own inner landscape, new ways of meditating are called forth. I try to assign names to the meditations that capture something of the essence of them.
Inevitably, if I Google a meditation name I’ve come up with, I discover meditations online from various traditions that use similar names and work in similar ways. Often the meditations are based on ancient traditions. It is fascinating to see how in the freshness of my own consciousness the same meditations are born again which arose in minds in the past and became part of long-standing traditions.
This has made me appreciate the saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”. We may learn meditation from a tradition or we may discover it within ourselves. The fundamentals of human consciousness and experience don’t really change. Things such as clothing, language, technology, and lifestyle may change, but the inner reality doesn’t change. Human consciousness, which is where we live our lives, doesn’t change. Past and future meet there as the present moment, and the present moment is all there is.