A Facebook friend posted this article entitled 18 Spiritual Teachings That Will Alter Your Mind and Improve Your Life. The sixth item on the list reads:
All meditation is good meditation.
And another thing: it is perfectly fine to meditate for 30 seconds. If I meditate for half a minute, then take a little break (because, damn, that was tough!), then start again—that is A-OK. Some days it may be 30 minutes, others 30 seconds. The key, I’ve found, is to pause regularly throughout the day. In this way, I integrate meditation into my life and not just as a part of my formal practice on the cushion.
I sometimes I wonder if meditation is doing me any good. I cannot quantify any benefits I have received from meditation. I really just have a hunch that it is doing me good. At the very least when I meditate it is time I am spending alone and not in communion with electronics or hearing ideas from other people. I do have to contend with my wandering mind which is similar to hearing ideas from other people but while meditating I can pay special attention to that and rise above it (so to speak). So it is a little different.
Meditation does make me feel more peaceful and sort of resets my mood. It also does sometimes give rise to inspiration and creativity although that is not its purpose. It really does not have a purpose because having a purpose implies some future reward or goal which is in contradiction to the idea of rooting myself in the present moment.
The centering prayer technique suggests that meditation is a window when God or the Holy Spirit can come into me. In other words meditating clears out the rubbish that may be blocking my communion with the divine. I suppose the divine, if it exists, exists in a timeless realm so whether I meditate for 30 seconds or 30 minutes doesn’t matter on that level.
Meditation is a break from doing and a conscious act of being. I like the idea that there is no bad meditation. Sometimes if I am not vigilant my ego will tell me that I am meditating wrong. Meditation is a state in which I can observe my ego and say, “I know what you’re up to.” When I hear my ego telling me that I am doing it wrong and at the same time am aware that my ego is telling me this then I know I am doing it right.
Like all this spiritual stuff when I begin to try to quantify the benefit or measure it in someway it is probably my ego that is doing the thinking. My ego labels, it judges, it defines. These are all useful functions in their own place but should not be used exclusively at the expense of every now and then experiencing the whole of reality and the present moment in all its vast complexity. This is what I do when I meditate.
A Facebook friend posted this article entitled 18 Spiritual Teachings That Will Alter Your Mind and Improve Your Life. The fifth item on the list reads:
Faith is letting go.
Faith is not holding on to a dogma, a promise, a future in heaven. Faith is letting go and letting in the ever-unfolding experience of life as it flows presently.
I am not entirely sure about this one. The author seems to be talking about a faith in the present moment in opposition to a faith in the future. I was always taught to think of faith as a placeholder where there is no evidence to support a belief. Faith was always faith in something I cannot see (like God) or faith in some future outcome (like heaven). But the author of this article seems to be advocating for a faith that is centered in the present. It is a faith that what is happening right now is just as it should be and that I am completely whole and sufficient in the present moment. She seems to be arguing that in order to have faith in the present I must first let go of faith in a future outcome.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding her point. But if I am accurately stating her point I guess the question I would ask is are these two types of faith incompatible? Is it possible to have faith in the moment and faith in the future outcome at the same time? I suppose in one respect the two types of faith are incompatible in that when I fixate on the future I am not rooted in the present. On the other hand I think I can still hold both faiths at the same time. In other words, not being rooted in the present does not preclude me from having faith in the present moment. It just means that I am not presently in the flow of the present moment. Faith in the present moment and experiencing the present moment are two separate things. Unless she is arguing that in order to fully experience the present moment I must first have faith in the present moment.
Perhaps I am over thinking this. Perhaps having faith in the present moment is simpler than what I am trying to articulate. It feels like that should be the case anyway. That said, I will continue with my train of thought.
I suppose faith in a future outcome can get in the way of having faith in the present moment and letting go if they conflict in someway. Perhaps the author advocates for the faith that letting go of dogmas will allow the present to unfold in a beneficial way. But she seems to also be saying that faith is the act of letting go itself which seems a little different than my conceptualization of faith. Then again, perhaps she means in order to let go I must first have faith that letting go is a good thing.
Again, I am probably over thinking this one. Certainly cultivating the faith that the present moment is unfolding just as it should be is a grounded state of mind and a powerful spiritual practice. Perhaps I should just leave it at that.