There are lots of kinds of meditation.
This one came to me some years ago in the ’90’s when I took a course in pain management.
Why would a seminar in pain management talk about meditation?
But how does it work?
Meditating helps us let go of the internal drivers. You know, the ones like “gotta go,” “gotta do,” “gotta be.” “Gotta do this.” “Gotta take care of that.”
Those multi-tasking internal drivers rob us of our real abundance, our present peace, by keeping us focused on future events. Yoga practice aptly calls this “monkey mind,” the name for the mental chatter that is our constant companion most times.
Until we create a space for it to stop. And that’s what meditation does.
I never met Stephen. I wish I had. He passed away in 2016. Poet, author, counselor, he spent his life working with people helping them recover from grief.
Some griefs are big. Like losing a child. Or a relationship.
But some are small. Like daily disappointments, when things don’t turn out the way we think they should.
And, our tendency when we experience loss is to hold on. Muscles tighten. Blood pressure skyrockets. And we feel poor and bereft.
There’s an old story about a kid and a candy jar. The jar was really big, but the opening was small. The kid was given permission to take as much candy as he wanted. But, when he grabbed a fist full of as much candy as he could, he couldn’t bring it out of the opening. The only way for him to have the promise of sweetness was to let go, and pull out one piece at a time.
And so it’s like all of us. The unintended consequence of holding on robs us of much of the sweetness and abundance of life.
Sometimes, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, the best way to experience abundance is by letting go.
A Meditation on Letting Go
(To be read slowly to a friend or silently to oneself)
Let your attention come to the breath.
Not the thought of the breath, but the direct sensation of the breath, as it comes and goes by itself.
Let the awareness come right to the edge of sensation as the breath enters and leaves the nostrils.
Let the awareness be soft and open, making contact with each breath without the least interference.
Experience the natural tides of the breath as it comes and goes.
Don’t attempt to control or change it. Just observe it.
Open to receive each changing sensation that accompanies the breath, moment to moment.
Let the breath breathe itself. Without comment.
Without any attempt to control it in any way. Allow the breath to be as it is.
If it is slow, let it be slow. If it is deep, let it be deep. If it is shallow, let it be shallow. Allow awareness and sensation to meet, moment to moment, with each inhalation, with each exhalation.
Let the breath be completely natural and free. In no way held by the mind. Just the breath breathing itself. Sensation arising, instant to instant, in the vast spaciousness of awareness.
If you notice the mind attempting to shape the breath, to control it in even the least way, just watch that tendency and let the breath float free. No holding. No control.
Completely let go of control of the breath. Let the body breathe by itself. Don’t interfere with the subtle flow.
Just awareness. Vast as the sky. Spacious.
The sensations of the breath, arising and passing away within this openness. Nothing to hold to. Nothing to do. Just the breath as it is.
Each breath unique. Sensations changing, moment to moment.
From the body, other sensations arise and pass away within boundless awareness.
The hands folded in the lap.
Buttocks touching the pillow.
Each moment of sensation floating free.
Each moment of experience just as it is. No need to label. No need to interrupt anything.
Not naming experience, just contacting it directly.
Experienced in the vastness of awareness.
Sensations of the breath. Sensations of the body. Floating free. Not holding to the breath. Not creating the body.
Just moments of experience, appearing and disappearing within the vastness . . .
Notice how thoughts arise.
Commenting, remembering, thinking.
Each thought a bubble passing through the vast spaciousness of mind.
Existing for an instant. Dissolving back into the flow.
No need for control. Just the vast open flow of change. Just process unfolding, moment to moment.
Thoughts think themselves.
Nothing to condemn.
Nothing to add.
Let go of control in even the least way.
Just let things be as they are, approaching and receding within the vastness of being.
Let go of the body. Let sensation float in vast space.
Let go of the mind. Thoughts. Feeling.
Arising and melting away. Nothing to hold to.
Nothing to do but be.
Open into the vast edgelessness of awareness.
Thoughts that you “own,” or are “responsible” for, the mind seen as just more thought bubbles, floating through.
Thoughts of “me” and “mine,” arising and passing away.
Instant to Instant.
Let them come.
Let them go.
No one to be.
Nothing to do.
Nowhere to go.
Just this much.
Let go of the body. Let go of the mind.
Experience unfolding all by itself. Without the least
need of help or control.
No judging. No interfering. Just being. Just flow
Be silent and know.
Once and for all, completely relinquish control.
Let go of fear and doubt. Let each thing float in its own nature.
Dissolve into the vast spaciousness of awareness.
Floating in vast space.
An instant of thought. Of hearing. Of remembering. Of fearing.
Like waves, rising for an instant and dissolving back into the ocean of being.
Into the vastness of your true nature.
No one to be.
Nothing to do.
Let each instant unfold as it will.
No resistance anywhere. Let the wind blow right through you.
No one to be – just this much.
This instant is enough.
Nowhere to go – just now.
Nothing to do – just be.
Holding nowhere, we are everywhere at once.