I was sitting, meditating again today, when I asked myself a question. Where is that music coming from? I don’t know if it’s some sort of characteristic unique to me or not. But sometimes I can literally play music I have heard in my head, word for word, like it’s coming from some jukebox in my mind. In this case it was Nothing More’s, “If I Were.”
“If I were God, just for a day, I would be guilty, of letting the whole world, slip away, I wouldn’t change, no I wouldn’t change a thing…”
So I asked myself, where is this music coming from? If I am to observe my thoughts in meditation, where are the thoughts producing this music? Or replaying the memory of hearing it, or whatever is going on.
Then I realized something… Where are my thoughts? Here I am, in meditation, tuning in to the sound of the fan outside my room, and the computer fan a few feet from me, being aware of these noises, and the noises downstairs, and here are the inner “sounds” of this music, but where are my thoughts about these sounds? My mind is blank, or appears to be.
But no, that isn’t true. The thoughts about these things are there. Thoughts like fan when hearing the noise, or distracting when someone makes noise downstairs. There must be thoughts about the song playing. I missed something here…
This is what I share with you, right now. You are told, during meditation, to focus on something. A mantra you chant in your mind or with your mouth. Sounds. Tastes. Smells. Your breath coming in and going out of your body. Numbers you count up and down, up and down. You are told to become aware of your thoughts. But this is where you may make my mistake.
You focus on whatever it is you have chosen to focus on, and you do so to the exclusion of your thoughts! I don’t know if this is the mind’s way of wriggling out of you becoming aware of your thoughts, or your ego’s way of ensuring control or what. But there you are, like I was, a little over a year into my meditation practice, and the whole time I was doing it wrong!
Now let me be clear… There is no real right or wrong here in meditation. Wrong is the only word I can think of that fits this situation. But it’s like yoga, the poses must be done a certain way, and if you don’t do them that way, you are doing them the wrong way.
But in yoga there is no right or wrong either. You just do what you can do, to the extent of your abilities in that present moment. You focus on your body, on your breath, and you do the poses to the best of your ability. You may not be able to do a pose exactly as detailed, so you are, in that sense, doing it wrong. But it’s not the kind of wrong that is bad, if that makes any sense.
Same for meditation. It is part of the developing, growing, learning process. You may not yet be able to perform the epitome of meditative practice, still as a stone for hours at a time, barely breathing, completely aware and present. In that sense you are meditating wrong. But that is OK. It is wrong in comparison to the epitome of meditation, but right in comparison to your abilities at this present moment.
So all this time I was not meditating correctly, in comparison to the epitome of meditative practice. But I am also not, as far as I know, a dedicated Buddhist monk, swami, or an enlightened person. The main thing to take away from this is that now I am more aware. I have acquired or achieved or gain or been given or simply become more aware. Whatever the best phrase or word may be.
Now I know, and I record it here for others, that I not only need to focus on the meditative object, but I also need to become aware of my thoughts about the object, and it seems to me that is the whole purpose of a meditative object.
But no book I have read, to my knowledge and memory, mentioned this. The best I have found regarding meditation so far is Alan Watts, believe it or not, and that only got me to the point of meditating on sounds, and being able to meditate no matter what sounds were occurring. Before I would get distracted.
It’s funny, looking back, but before I couldn’t meditate because of all the damn noise downstairs! Now that noise does not bother me, because it has become a part of my meditation.
So two things here to help you, that to my knowledge nobody has written about, and I have read a lot of meditation books. Maybe I missed it or maybe its too obvious for these teachers to mention:
1. Make the things that distract you in your environment your focus of meditation.
2. Become aware, look for, observe, seek, your thoughts about your focus of meditation. Lacking any thoughts about your object of meditation, become aware of your thoughts about not having thoughts concerning your focus of meditation.
So if you live in a big city like New York and you tell yourself you can’t meditate because of all the noise, meditate on the noise and observe your thoughts concerning the noise. If you think you can’t meditate because you are too busy, sit down anyway and mediate on the emotional, physical and mental stuff you are feeling at these levels about being busy or having no time to meditate, and observe your thoughts concerning these various sensations.
If you live in Alaska in some bunker under the ice and there is no sound, whatsoever to listen to, or if you are out in the country somewhere, meditate on the lack of sound. What are your thoughts concerning that? Observe them.
If you keep getting distracted by children, your dorm neighbors, or family members, meditate on the various things associated with being distracted. The emotional, mental and physical sensations. Observe your thoughts concerning being distracted.
If you, like me when I started to meditate, see spectacular scenery or seem to go on a journey in your mind, meditate on that, and observe your thoughts concerning the mental imagery. Meditate on your daydreams and observe you thoughts about that in the same way. If you’re a channeler meditate on that, and your thoughts concerning what is coming through or channeling in general.
Do you understand now? Wherever you are, whatever you do, without exception, there is something in your environment, your surroundings, that you can meditate on. Even if you were in a vacuum you could meditate on that. Incorporate your surroundings, or lack thereof, into your meditation. Make them your meditative focus.
Next, observe your thoughts about your meditative focus. DO NOT FORGET THIS SECOND PART! But if you do, make the suspicion that there was something important to remember your focus of meditation and observe your thoughts about that.
The rest of what I have read, and seems to be in all meditation teachings, still applies. Observe your thoughts only. Watch them, listen to them, smell them, taste them, feel them – whatever your experience with your thoughts happens to be. Simply be aware of them.
Don’t try to be aware of them and don’t make being aware of them some goal or a part of some list of steps. Just be aware. Let awareness of them simply happen, when you remember to be aware, or when you just become aware of them.
Just let them, and your awareness of them, come and go. No attachment and no aversion. Do not cling to these thoughts, or your awareness of these thoughts, and do not be adverse to your thoughts, or your awareness of these thoughts.
If you are having sexual thoughts simply be aware of them, same as with sexual sensations. Do not try to force them out as bad or evil. That is an institutionalized religion belief that has infected the collected psyche of mankind. There is nothing evil or bad about sex, sexual desires, or sexual thoughts.
Besides, it is your belief in its badness or evilness that gives it power over you. If you resist a thing you are saying, to the essence of your being, that it has power over you, and so you give it power over you. The only power anything has is the power you give it. So simply observe all unwanted sensations and thoughts.
Ask yourself this question… Why are Christians the ones who seem to suffer the most from what they call demonic attacks?
The other side of the coin is not to give in. Don’t attach to them by acting on them either. Admit, Allow and Accept. Admit that you are having these sexual sensations and thoughts, Allow them to be there without changing them, and Accept them. Embrace them then “open your arms.”
This state of openness is at once a releasing, letting go, and a state of being open, non-resistant. This is the best way to be, in the essence of your being, towards anything, but especially towards anything that bothers or troubles you on any level. Whatever it is is allowed to work itself out. When it has done so, without any effort to change it on your part (leave it be), its energy goes back to the Source from which it came.
Save these words and refer back to them as needed. May they serve you in your meditation and spiritual practice.