Over the last few months I've had a few people enquire as to how (and if) I meditate. I really like this question because I feel that how one meditates says a lot about what beliefs they hold about how they understand themselves, and about what philosophies or practices resonate with them.
As someone who has been meditating on and off for over a decade, I've been exposed to a handful of different styles of meditating. Some with an object, some with a mantra (a sound or idea you repeat to yourself), some to do with allowing all-that-is to exist - the list goes on.
I don't mean to sound vague and unrelatable. I really would like to share with you how I meditate, but the fact of the matter is there is no how to it. It's not really something I do. It's rather something I let happen. I'll take my time to talk about this because it is really difficult to talk about.
A few years ago I went to Peru and drank Ayahuasca. The experience itself was profound, and downright terrifying, to say the least, but that's not relevant to the topic. What's relevant was the day after, when my girlfriend Rose and I felt so in need of rest that we ended up in a hammock.
There was such a strong desire for peace within me, and there wasn't much to fill the space. There were no phones, no computers, no people. We had each other and the sounds of the jungle. Perhaps at another time we would have spent the time chatting about something. But we didn't this time. It was just quiet.
After spending some time in that quietness, that space of simply existing, we came up with a word for it. We called it existy-vibes.
Existy-vibes was just our way of describing that even in the absence of stuff, there is a feeling for being alive. And it's nice. It's like a quiet hum of a feeling of wellbeing that comes simply from existing. This came as a kind of pleasant surprise to both of us. It was perhaps a kind of remembering to something that has always been here yet can escape awareness quite easily.
Another way of describing would be to use daily life as an example. There are activities that we do that are enjoyable, and activities that we do that are not. One might be playing a game with a friend, which would be enjoyable. And another time might be feel exhausted with doing some necessary work task.
And even when we are physically doing nothing, we might still be busy in the mind. Perhaps while in line at the grocery store. We're thinking about stuff. And then the activity is the same but in the mind. We think about things we like and feel happy, we think depressing things and we get depressed.
What do you think would happen in the absence of activity? Both physically and in the mind? How would you feel if you were doing no activity?
Even though I wasn't really conscious of it until this moment, I did actually believe that in the absence of any activity there would just be a kind of void of nothing, of pure neutrality - even boredom. But existy-vibes was kind of a little realisation that it's not nothing. It's actually full of life. It was full of a deep sense of wellness.
So my meditation is just that. It's just some intentional time to allow myself to return to those existy-vibes.
My meditation is the easiest meditation possible because it requires literally nothing on my part. In fact one could say that that is the requirement. To be okay with doing nothing. It only requires I stop working, busying myself for a moment or two. To stop burning out my mind. If you stop shovelling coal into a fire it will eventually fizzle out. It has no more fuel. That's what my meditation is like. I'm not looking for an extinguisher to put out the fire, I'm just not really adding any more fuel to it.
This is a hard thing for the western mind to grasp because we've been taught to be doing things all the time. It gets to the point with many that we feel unable to understand how anything can come about without us making it happen. It's as if we need a formula to adhere to. Every goal has a how, and every how has a step by step process that one can follow. But there are no steps in the way I meditate.
Understanding this goes hand-in-hand with understanding that our western lives are basically a constant state of shovelling fuel in the fire. We're always doing things. All day, we're busy. Even when we're not doing things we're thinking things. We're pretty much always filling the space with something. It's just part of our culture. How often do we give our minds the opportunity to do absolutely nothing?
That peaceful, wholesome, happy existy-vibes is always inside. My thoughts throw a veil over it, and sometimes make me believe it isn't, and I keep the charade going with all of my activities. But at some point I remember again. And when I do, I take some time to relish in that feeling.
This is what meditation has evolved into for me. It's so natural, so easy, and so nice. As easy as floating down a river. Just letting the natural current of what I might call my higher mind bring my awareness back to this wonderful feeling by gently undoing everything I'm holding on to.