to the place where there is nothing,
and take care that nothing comes in.
Penetrate to the depths of yourself,
to the place where thought no longer exists,
and take care that no thought arises there!
There, where nothing exists,
There, where nothing is seen,
the Vision of Being!
There, where nothing appears any longer,
the sudden appearing of the Self!
Meditation is this
Meditation is a transcendent art that opens us up to the depth of being, harmonizing body, mind, and spirit. The first and indispensable step is to fall in love with this art. Meditation is a true love story, perhaps the greatest love story for freedom. Since it fosters a form of inner relationship, meditation calls for profound, integral, and coherent involvement on our part, where the mind is so intensely interested that it becomes the object of its own interest.
The meditator and the object of meditation are rooted in an intimacy so secret that within it everything dissolves. Within this space, we abandon all searching, let go of dreams, surrender our hopes. What remains is incomparable freedom, freedom from subjugation to ignorance and from the cause of continuous suffering: the mental tyranny that forces us into a fictitious reality stemming from involuntary thoughts and the emotional reactions that always accompany them.
To meditate is to free yourself from the suffering associated with this constantly changing existence. Unless you find a changeless substratum, a perfect equilibrium, in some way and in some place, you won’t be able to escape pain. Meditation creates the knowledge that there is a changeless substratum and offers the way to enter into contact with it.
When you begin to realize that you are dreaming,
what happens? You wake up!
We are overwhelmed by the suffering that comes from the constantly changing situations, relationships, and objects around us, and most of all from our constantly changing mental states. The continuous accumulation of thoughts and unrealized desires creates agitation, instability, and disorder, which are experienced as suffering. In meditation we learn how to calm our agitation. Beyond all this mental movement is a state that is infinitely stable, saturated with peace. This state is our real nature. It is none other than the state we call meditation. For thousands of years, masters of every tradition have been teaching us how to calm the mind and come into contact with our real nature, our Self, the state of peace.
Five thousand years ago Arjuna asked Krishna, “The mind is just like air. If you try and catch air in your hand, nothing happens.
The fist just closes on empty space. How to control something that I can’t even catch hold of?”
And Krishna responded,
“By abhyasa, which means spiritual practice, and vairagya, which means detachment.”
Learning how not to feed attachment to mental objects, we learn vairagya, detachment, and as a consequence we are able to control the mind in the most natural way.
As for abhyasa, spiritual practice, we know that the nature of the mind is movement, in that it always chases after experiences from the past.
The continuous mental chattering is a constant flow of ideas, thoughts, and desires from the past that trap our attention in the past.
Krishna gave his disciple Arjuna a fundamental teaching when he said: “Wherever the mind goes, bring it back and establish it in Me.” This is abhyasa, spiritual practice.
Krishna represents the immutable base, pure silence, the Self. Every time the mind wanders, we bring it back to the Self. The mind springs from the Self.
This is all we need to know and do. Sooner or later the mind will learn how to dwell in the Self, remain in peace, without getting into trouble again, without aimlessly wandering and indulging in attachment to the past.
The fact is that there is so much unhappiness in the world because everyone is always subjected to this continuous movement focused on revisiting the past, dwelling in the experiences we have already had. To meditate is to transcend time. To empty the mind from time is the pure silence of meditation.
The pure silence arises when thoughts, along with all their images, all their words, all their perceptions, cease. This is where true meditation begins. If we practice diligently and manage to remain in that state of absolute calm in which we no longer follow any thoughts or ideas of the past, we will become aware of something that we have never noticed before: a vast immensity that has no form and has no name. In that infinite inner space there is no more need for effort, no need to try to control the mind or seek silence and peace. It is already there. That source of joy, of bliss, has always been there, but because we are busy with other things we have never been able to appreciate it. That source is the source of the same energy that allows the mind to think and the intellect to discriminate. It is from that source – which is the unknown, the Self – that everything arises. All waves arise from the ocean of the unknown.
The main impediment is that we fall victim to the forces of attraction and aversion. Desire consumes a lot of energy. We are attracted to what our mind considers “nice,” and whatever is desirable varies from person to person, from being to being. A diamond has no value in the hands of someone who is incapable of recognizing its value. For such a person it is a just a simple stone. But when the mind views it as a precious diamond, this lump of simple carbon suddenly becomes something of inestimable value.
Meditation is the neutral awareness that does not interfere and that reveals itself when there is total freedom from interpretation, from mental narrative, from desire. Meditation cannot happen without this freedom, which is the knowledge of what we really are. And as long as there is a “choice,” there is desire, this freedom – this knowledge –cannot manifest. Having choices implies a conflict that blocks the understanding of what is.
Meditation is to remain in a state without choices, without interpretations, without desire, and this is the only way that meditation happens. If we hear about a “diamond” such as silence and set out to attain it, it will be necessary to take action and make tremendous efforts to calm the mind. Having decided that “silence” is desirable, we chose to fight for the thing called “silence,” to strive to achieve that desirable state. But by setting a goal, making a choice, and seeking to attain it, we will remain trapped in the mind. The efforts will be mental and as a consequence the results will be mental as well.
If we want true silence, the natural state, true meditation, we need to leave the mind alone. We leave everything just as it appears, without making choices, without embellishing. We leave everything as it is. As long as we make choices and struggle for something, the experience of our real nature will remain hidden. Peace is already here. Freedom is already here. True silence reveals itself when we abandon every idea of being able to attain something and needing to struggle to attain it. In that state of surrender all striving comes to an end.
When we drop every attempt of searching, of attainment, of reward, what remains is what was already there even before we started searching for it. In that single instant of awareness of what is, all inner chatter ceases. And it ceases because all efforts to make it stop have ceased. In that moment of absence of effort we realize the source from which the mind originates. Before, we were absorbed in making efforts to control the mind, and that is precisely what made things complicated. Actually, it’s simple: there is a state of surrender, without effort, without thought, and without choice. We need to enter into contact with it and just be quiet there.
When we lose ourselves in the silence and the absence of choice, we become aware of our Self. In that experience of fundamental reality, the meditator disappears, there is no one left to experience anything, and all of existence is seen for what it is: an infinite expanse of blissful awareness.
In the end it’s very simple.
The truth is simple and it is always present.
All we have to do is turn the mind inward
and stay in that silence.
The silence has to become the priority in our life, and everything else we do should never limit our aspiration to the Real. It all becomes so simple when we fall in love meditation.
“Meditation brings wisdom;
lack of meditation leaves ignorance.
Know well what leads you forward
and what holds you back,
and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
“The earth meditates, as it were:
and thus do the sky, the heaven,
water, the mountains…” Chandogya Upanishad