Five Things that Block the Pure State of Meditation (2)
What is Preventing You from Connecting with God?
By Chad Foreman
Read the first part of the article
3. Being Overly Controlling
This is such an important blockage to dissolve because it is at the heart of an egoic mode of being as opposed to an authentic way of being. An ego is always trying to control and manipulate situations for its perceived benefit. But pure meditation arises due to genuine authenticity. A fierce determination to be yourself, warts and all.
A naturally pure meditation is not about controlling your breath or your body’s energy or even trying to control your thoughts, it’s releasing your hands off the wheel and taking a mental step backwards and allowing things to be as they are.
“Real meditation is not about mastering a technique; it’s about letting go of control.”
Trying to control your meditation is a sure fire way to ruin your chances of revealing your naturally pure awareness. This can be very frustrating because we are so used to exerting our will power to get what we want but natural meditation is a complete reversal of this process. Put in another way:
“…the pure state of meditation is a state of being not a state of doing.”
One of the best ways to gauge your ability to not be in control is to use the classic observation of the breath as a gateway to a naturally pure meditation. Because of our conditioned ways of doing things, we always try and control what we observe and it becomes evident when we watch our breath. It’s difficult to let go of breathing intentionally and just watch the breath do whatever it is doing. Buddha’s advice is: “If it’s a short breath, observe a short breath; if it’s a long breath, observe a long breath etc.”
Because we can both control our breath and let go of control and just observe the breath it’s an awesome tool for entering into the natural state. Allow your breath to breathe itself, on automatic just like it is for most of the day and night, but calmly notice this automatic process without controlling it in any way. Try it. It’s radically peaceful.
Extend this non-interfering type of witnessing to the entire moment of meditation. Including thoughts. Don’t try to suppress or control thoughts, allow them to arise and they also dissolve into nothingness all by themselves. This is the naturally liberating freedom of just being.
Instruction: Let yourself be as you are; don’t change anything, don’t fabricate anything allow and open yourself into being the silent witness.
Trying to control your meditation ruins your chances of revealing your naturally pure awareness.
When sitting down to practice real meditation, it’s important not to pretend to be anything other than what you already are. Don’t add anything extra. Don’t clothe your naked awareness with accessories. Especially don’t think that “Now I am meditating”, that’s just more pretending. Pure meditation is just a name given to the natural state of being, don’t adopt it as a new identity that will cover the real state and don’t think it’s something special either.
“When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.” – Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche.
Don’t replace the authentic state of meditation with the knowledge of meditation. The natural state is not a philosophy, it’s a state of being.
Also, don’t fool yourself that being high is meditation. No matter how blissful, insightful or even therapeutic taking different medicinal drugs can be, it’s a poor substitute for the natural state of being, which is timelessly present and not reliant on any substances.
Pretending can take many forms, including acting spiritual, pretending to love everyone, wearing spiritual clothes and even adopting a new spiritual name. There’s nothing particularly wrong with those things, but do not get so caught up in them that you cannot just sit and be your true authentic self as you are.
Certainly it is not about claiming to be perfect, but about the ability to just sit with yourself as you are. A good dose of humour is essential in the pursuit of meditation to not take yourself too seriously. If you haven’t seen JP Spears YouTube clips, take a look where he makes fun of being ultra-spiritual.
Instruction: When sitting in meditation, completely relax all your face muscles, let go of all pretences and masks and be as simple and authentic as you can be.
A good dose of humour is essential in the pursuit of meditation.
5. No Trust in Your Real Self
This is the crux of it. If you don’t trust that your essential nature is pure, wise and all fulfilling, it’s difficult to truly let go and just be yourself. As one Zen master advises:
“Just be yourself, not the one you imagine yourself to be, but your true self before any descriptions.”
This lack of trust that you are already complete and fulfilled drives the compulsive chasing of satisfaction in the conditions of life, which can never fully satisfy you completely because life is ephemeral and constantly changing. This lack of trust in the satisfaction of just being is a major hindrance and blockage of being able to rest in a state of pure meditation. It’s in this trusting of your own nature that real freedom can be found and a natural simplicity of being can easily emerge, as Adyashanti says:
“All that is necessary to awaken to yourself as the radiant emptiness of spirit is to stop seeking something more or better or different, and to turn your attention inward to the awake silence that you are.”
Of course, this should not stay on the level of blind faith or trusting someone else, once you have directly experienced this naturally abiding peace for yourself it becomes real confidence. Zen master Bankei said:
“…Conclusively realise that what’s unborn and marvellously illuminating is truly the Buddha Mind.”
It is necessary at the beginning to be inspired and trust the words of others until you have realised it for yourself.
“Only those who have the great capacity of genuine trust can enter this realm. Those who have no trust are unable to accept it, however much they hear it.” – Zen Master Dogen.
Hopefully this article has inspired this type of trust or at least enough curiosity to find it and have a go at experiencing for yourself a naturally pure meditation. Dive headfirst into the empty abyss of just being to reveal what was always there, waiting to be revealed. A luminous natural clarity unstained by ideas or judgements, free from all stress, artifice, the original authentic wakefulness that easily manifests when all effort and control are dropped and there’s nothing left but this moment, just as it is.
Instruction: Trust that your nature is all good and simply rest back, without trying to do anything, and peace, joy and clarity will naturally emerge.
January 24, 2019