Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Using Legs To Fly

There are so many books about "how to" meditate. Using words to go beyond the mind is much like using legs to fly. If you run fast enough you can fly - provided you spread your wings and allow your legs to dangle uselessly - until they are needed again when you land. That is how meditation works. Letting your mind go useless and idle - suddenly you notice you are free.

This is an inner process, and much like flying, the longer you meditate the better the flying, the weightlessness, the freedom, the vastness, the timelessness, the peace. When you return to the ground, you are changed. The many limits of flightless existence, don't depress you as they do others who know nothing of the sky. The nagging wife, husband or boss - the physical or emotional pain we live with - in other words all our suffering - is a minor nightmare in the context of the vastness of this, our inner freedom. The more we suffer in life the more inclined we are to look for this inner sanctuary.

Flying, like meditation requires the spreading of wings. As far as meditation is concerned this means opening our heart - completely. Some people's hearts are naturally more open in trust and love. Those are the ones who get easily hurt by harsh words and actions of others because their protection is thin. Others create a more protective tension around their hearts to avoid this pain and come across as tougher or meaner. Both of these "hearts", often paired in "sweethearts", suffer in their own ways.

In meditation the heart needs to be so wide open as to not provide any resistance at all. If someone came around to hurt us, there would be nothing there, as if their words were like a vicious fist striking thin air. "Thin air" may be too close to cold indifference - Sufis call it a heart "soft as wool" - as it is struck, it is met with warmth and softness - in other words, compassion and kindness. It is what Jesus meant with "love thy enemy" and "holding the other cheek" - not the martyrdom that we mistakenly turn it into. This compassion and kindness cannot be cultivated like a virtue. It is a side effect of being grounded in oneself because one knows how to fly.

Unlike just flying though, meditation is more like floating deep in the sea. In meditation, the light and the freedom of the vastness of the sky, is one with the power and the silence of the deepest depths of the ocean.

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