First there is a moment of inspiration, you just know this is what you want to do. That happens outside of intellect like a call from within. But because it’s not intellectual, it can easily be missed, overlooked or ignored. So what often happens is that it takes a while actually to recognise consciously that the decision has been made. It takes time for the mind to catch up. It’s like the persistent youngster running after calling out, Wait for mee…
Funnily enough the purpose of meditation is to be able to do just that, to hear and listen to that inner voice, to recognise that it’s much wiser than the intellect, which, in spite of that, the intellect still tends to dominate our thinking. Sometimes you just have to hear the mind, register its say in the matter, and then do what you know in some deeper place is right for you anyway - give it its due, but give it its place. It seems counter-intuitive but it’s not.
What turns over in the mind runs something like: Can I justify and organise that much time off, or away from home? Will I be able to do it or handle it? What will it all be about? Am I just hiding from myself? If you stay with that first inspiration such things as finding time and organising somehow just seem to fall into place. If the mind interferes it gets more problematic. But this can be taken as part of the learning process. It kind of begins at the moment of inspiration whether we know it or not.
The only qualification you need
The only thing that is really needed for meditation is the desire to go into the inner world and investigate there, to know yourself better where it matters, regardless of previous experience. (Of course experience does help to affirm the benefits of doing exactly that, but it is not essential). Adjustments can be made so that practice fits and becomes meaningful at every level according to 'ability' and experience.
There are techniques, of course. But whatever technique, they all really only have one purpose: to make it possible to make an entry into the inner world and feel at home there; to find the connection between that and who I have taken myself to be for all this time; to realise and release the inaccuracies of self identity. Therefore in the end what it’s about is the relationship between me and myself.
The purpose is to identify and develop a certain skill in meditation that is not just effective but actually becomes a revelation when after perhaps some trials, perhaps some errors, we get it right and the light of inner vision comes into focus. Anything worthwhile includes the effort of doing it.
As for hiding from myself, well we know that’s not really true. On the contrary all the conditions make it right to come closer to yourself. As well as the guidance in the practice sessions everything is there to support you in your endeavour: a diet that is appropriate for a quiet mind; a calm and peaceful environment; a guarantee of being undisturbed to focus exclusively on the inner life; having the benefit of continuity of focus so that your practice can take you deeper and further than is ever possible in normal life.
Reveal the misplaced identity
There are inaccuracies within us, every one of us: impressions that have too, too strong an influence; misplaced faith; mistakes of identity. To know oneself is eventually to meet these things face to face on equal terms. Sometimes that is not so easy, but is ultimately so rewarding. This actually, as they say, is the real final frontier - to be an inner adventurer.
Things speed up considerably if the inclination is, Well let’s just see who we are here. It means knowing that there may be intense experiences to negotiate eventually, and being prepared to handle that on the way to self discovery. Because anything you recognise accurately in yourself, that you learn to observe and come to accept, begins to lose its hold, and loses its power over you. That makes us strong, in a different kind of way perhaps than the strength we have looked for in other places, but in a way where we are at peace with ourselves.
The light is within, the sun of consciousness is there, only obscured by clouds. All real lasting change for the better comes down to a change in the weather!
Whatever you decide, whenever you decide, wherever you decide, if you have been true to yourself it should match that first moment of inspiration when the inner voice spoke and we heard and listened. If we follow that, surely it will be so, whichever way it goes.
For more on handling the release of samskaras, the stored impressions that surface in meditation, please see the previous post in the blog:
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