28 years ago, I sat with a young novice Buddhist monk to learn meditation.
He instructed me to bring my attention to the tip of my nose and feel the breath coming in and going out.
This was impossible. It was as though a spotlight had been placed upon the cacophony of noise in the mind.
My resolve was strong, and yet the ability to not follow a single thought was redundant.
Fast-forward eight years when I was initiated into transcendental meditation. A special sound (mantra) was given to me and the instruction was to repeat the mantra silently and simply listen. Simply listen became very difficult when the volume of the mind escalated. For 15 minutes, I sat and grappled with repeatedly coming back to the mantra. I left the practice, having heard the mantra maybe a couple of times and yet something had shifted.
I was hooked.
I spent the next 10 years sitting for hours every day grappling with this practice. It was Ping-Pong of the awareness. Hearing the mantra, hearing a thought, going with the thought, another thought, going with this, another thought, mantra, thought and so on.
It was only recently that I discovered meditation is not a practice—it is a state that enters the being in certain conditions. The volume of the mind is suddenly muted.
There is a natural formless, thoughtless awareness that arises and identity is in the graveyard.
The intense seeking no longer exists in this desire less state.
These days barely a Harvard Journal Review goes by without the scientific results of mindfulness and meditation being validated. The amygdala—the reactive part of the brain—shrinks after a mere four weeks of meditation. We become less reactive to triggers. A space opens up between thoughts. The seeds of meditation are being sewn and yet my wish is for all beings to go beyond the practices.
Tasting meditation deeply in your soul changes everything. In modern parlance, it is a “game-changer.”
And this is the paradox. From birth, there was a seeking within me. It was only when this seeking ceased that the formless presence was invited in.
Meditation is not a result of your efforts—meditation is a happening. When our efforts drop, meditation is still there…the benediction of it, the blessedness of it, the glory of it. It is there like a presence…luminous, surrounding you and surrounding everything.
It fills the whole earth and the whole sky.
This happening that Osho speaks of is the cessation of limitations. The dissolution of the ego and a soothing, all knowing presence resides. Tuning into the formless flow of the Universe creates effortless manifestation. In the same way that meditation is a happening, life becomes a happening.
Effort and doing become impotent and yet results are boundless.
There is a knowing deep within us all—a knowing that we are drops within the deep ocean of being.
If you can hear this whisper of knowing, of deep intelligence within, follow. Follow and let the whisper take you home. If you want a life without stress, increased confidence, productivity, less circling thoughts and more clarity, then practice meditation. If you want to experience the presence of the Universe, invite meditation as a happening.
Your whole life will be unrecognizable.
I feel deep gratitude for the young monk and all the teachers who have shown me the path. The boy who sat with the monk all those years ago no longer exists. Only existence itself remains. And a deep reverence for the ultimate teacher within. The teacher within us all.
Follow the whisper and meet your own teacher within and fill the whole sky and earth.
Author: Daniel Donachie
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Courtesy of Author