Thursday, 24 November 2016

Stillness, silence, inwardness

Meditation is something natural and easy. It's the basic way of being that we all return to when we aren't trying to get somewhere else. People define it in many different ways, and they offer many techniques for meditation. Sometimes this is helpful - we all have to start somewhere. Sometimes, we're in danger of making simple things complicated. If I have to describe meditation, I would offer three suggestions: meditation is about stillness, silence and inwardness.

Stillness means just, be still. Don't hold yourself rigid, and don't persist unmovingly through discomfort and pain. But do stop fidgeting. Stop fiddling and tinkering. Stillness is both physical and psychological. Psychological stillness means not chasing after anything, not running away from anything.

Silence means, get away from noise. Turn off your phone, your radio or television. There is always some noise around us, but you don't have to listen in. Keep the scope of your attention open, and let the different sounds come and go. There is an inner silence as well, which is about the noises inside your mind. The mind has no "off" switch, but again the important thing is just not to focus on the mind. Let thoughts come and go, like the sound of passing cars.

Inwardness means being open to what you notice inside your body. Usually we turn our focus outwards, towards other people and things around us - towards the past or the future. But we have an inner life as well, our emotions and feelings in this present moment. Whatever is moving attracts your attention; when you sit somewhere still and quiet, the movement within your psyche attracts your attention. Let this happen; it doesn't require any effort.

This is all. Stillness, silence and inwardness. What does it show you?