"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" —Albert Einstein
I. The Simpler, the Better
"Truth is ever to be found in simplicity," said Newton, "and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things." If that be the case, then, true meditation must be the simplest thing of all . . . right?
Perhaps it's very simple to meditate, but it's very hard to be simple. Perhaps.
For the above reason, within the span of, say, roughly five minutes' worth of sands left in your hourglass, I'll explain the simplest and therefore most effective meditation of all. In fact, this meditative practice is so simple that—heck—even our grandmothers can understand it.
I once heard someone say when we die, our lives instantly flash before our very eyes. The more I pondered this incredible claim, the more the following insight dawned on me:
In this very moment, my life is already flashing before my third eye. After all, there’s a word for that—LIFE!
The word "meditation," then, simply means you're the watcher of whatever flashes before your mental screen. Indeed, close your eyes to see peace in the dark.
In short, as you're set to see: true enlightenment merely upgrades so-called self-awareness to that of realizing the Self is awareness.
II. Genius Turner's Guided Meditation
Because example is better than precept, I’ll now share my personal meditative practice — better known as “Reside in the Attendant.”
Dear reader, since the following practice will cost you nothing, my only request is you pay attention for a minute or two.
Step 1: Find a Quiet Place.
Now, once comfortably seated, close your eyes. With your bodily eyes shut and your mental eye opened, choose a one-word mantra to recite.
Step 2: Choose Whatever Word You Like, e.g, Love or Faith or Peace.
Now, once you’ve selected your one-word mantra, I’ll need you to repeat it 10 times in a row, both with your inner-voice and inner-sight.
In other words, picture the word each time coupled with sub-vocalizing it. For example, say “love, love, love . . .” ten times without interruption, while also picturing the actual word “love” flash across your consciousness.
In the course of your repetition, the “Monkey Mind” is sure to swing your attention to various thoughts — of past regrets and future wishes. That’s okay. Hakuna Matata!
Just gently guide your attention back to the exercise.
Final Step: Keep Repeating the One-Word Mantra. Do it Until You Successfully Reach the Count of 10.
Ahhh, but are you sure you were actually successful in carrying out the exercise?
After all, how would you know?
Wasn’t your mind and attention fixated on repeating the one-word mantra?
The mind, after all, according to psychologists is incapable of entertaining more than one thought at a time. And so, well, if your mind was preoccupied, how would you know about your involvement in the exercise?
Who or What was watching the one-word mantra flash across your mental screen?
Who or What heard the one-word mantra repeated in your third ear?
Who or What served as the Silent Witness?
Please, if you don’t mind, explain to me how on earth you could’ve been playing on the court and watching the match both at the same time?
"One is the Watcher; the other is Watched." (Pic: Wikipedia.)
If you actually carried out the exercise, ahem, dare I say: you’re suggesting while your mind busied itself smacking thoughts back and forth, you simply served as the Watcher?
Here lies the answer to life’s true riddling Sphinx.
You are the Silent Witness before which all such happenings on the world’s stage occur.
You, at the deepest level, never depart from serving as The Attendant, to which the faculty of attention is attributed. After all, attention simply means “to attend,” and all such attending assumes an attendant.
Reminisce over every experience of your life and — tada! — you, The Attendant, never cease to be present. (Pre + sent to experience.)
It is the attention faculty, then, which serves as the key to unlocking The Attendant. Hence the saying: where the attention goes, the energy flows. Even quantum physics, at present, finds itself bewildered by the observer effect.
Think back to your elementary days when the teacher did “roll call.” The teacher paced the aisles and called out names.
In my experience, upon hearing your name, each student would reply, “Present!”
The teacher, then, would mark down your attendance. Only after having checked for attendance could the day’s lesson have gotten underway. After all, there could be no day’s lesson apart from the attendant pupils.
Now, so far as Experience is that hard teacher which gives tests before study guides, clearly The Attendant must always be present, i.e. sent before experience. For this reason, Descartes had the answer to life’s riddle backward:
It’s not so much because “I think, therefore I am” as it is — I am, therefore I think!
III. The Takeaway
When all the cool lotus positions and even cooler yoga studios have been sliced away, guess what remains?
It becomes apparent you’re not what you notice but rather you’re the noticer of what you notice . . . it becomes apparent you’re not aware but rather you’re awareness itself. Hence such expressions as “watch your mouth” or “watch your thoughts.”
You are that which “Is” long before you are whatever you labeled yourself to be. Perhaps always thinking may be a bigger tragedy than never thinking at all.
The chief reason for which “true” meditation is ultimately the same for beginners and experts boils down to this:
You’ll never taste permanent peace of mind until you stop viewing your mind as identical to yourself, as opposed to viewing yourself as your mind’s guardian.
The only difference between the beginner and expert meditator, then, is both are always in a state of meditation (pure awareness, The Attendant), yet only one knows it.
The sole aim of meditation is to realize that you are in fact the Watcher of the stream of thought, not the actual stream itself; if realized, then you are said to be in a state of “mindfulness.”
Armed with the above insight, whenever you feel anxiety springing up, cut its root by residing in The Attendant.
Pause that menu of thoughts that flit across the mind’s eye and take refuge in the residence of your own being. Besides, all fear and worry stem from falsely identifying The Attendant with either the past or future, with either the body or mind.
True mindfulness, then, is merely the inner-belief that whatever is happening now is more important than what has, should’ve, or could’ve happened, or — what will, should, or could happen.
Mindfulness makes a day feel like a year, whereas mindlessness makes a year feel like a day. Hence enlightened persons have long said — each day is a lifetime.
Reside in the Attendant! Here lies your unshakable shelter from life’s storms.
Whenever stressed, perhaps before running to the medicine cabinet, first try a hand at exchanging the letter "c" in medication for a “t.” Meditation is the ultimate stress-reliever, after all.
Whenever you feel that slithering foe called “anxiety” trying to creep back into your consciousness — to again entrap The Attendant — whisper to yourself: “Hey, stay here and now.”
Make this your daily — hour on the hour — mantra: “Hey, stay here and now.”
True enlightenment boils down to knowing that tomorrow is always a “there.” And once you arrive “there,” we call it a here and now.
If at the outset you find it difficult to ground yourself in The Attendant, Hakuna-Matata! Simply follow your breath — in and out . . . in and out. The breathing process, after all, is grounded in the here and now.
Perhaps The Bhagavad Gita best sums up why true meditation is the same for beginners and experts:
A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.