Meditation is a Subtraction Problem
I have never been that good at math but I realized fairly early on studying meditation that getting to the core of things was a matter of subtraction. Every time I would try to figure things out with the intellect only added another layer of pseudo-realization. Every time I thought “I got it”, I lost it.
Every time I found a new teaching, a new meditation, a new teacher, I would think, “This is it!”. But it wasn’t it.
Every time I would have a deeper experience in meditation the mind would grab hold of it and tell me all about it. How expansive it was, how subtle, how freeing. But it wasn’t any of that.
Eventually, I saw the pattern. I would strive and strive. Then finally give up and boom, come upon something uncontrived. Only to have my mind tell me something about it that wasn’t at all like the experience.
In the end, I have to come realize I never experience anything. The moment I think I do, it is already gone. I found that the only way to be free is to be free from wanting that something (which is nothing) to stay. That has led me to not want that something (which is nothing) to come in the first place. It is funny, that the steps between where we are and where wish to go are self-imposed. It is by removing these self-imposed “obstacles” that we are able to skip steps to freedom.
In my own experience, I have seen, that striving bears no fruit, so I simply skip that part. I direct my mind to look at my mind. Yet, I look like there is nothing to find. The looking or maybe I should say the intention to look is enough. The seeking is enough.
Same with the heart practice. I look at the heart and the heart stirs on its own. One time I was trying to force my way into compassion. I was trying to do a particular heart opening practice and a fly kept interrupting me and I began swatting at they fly as I wishing for all beings to be happy! Crazy mind. The mind was so set on doing a specific practice to achieve something that it forgot the purpose of the whole thing.
The balancing act here is to realized that we DO NEED EFFORT. We need seeking, we need to absorb the teaching, we need meditation techniques, we need to get to the cushion. But we also need the wisdom to know when we don’t need that anymore. It is like leaving a stop light in a car. At first, it takes a lot of gas to get up to speed. Once the car is at speed we need very little gas to keep it going. The vehicle is running off of momentum at that point. Our meditations are like that. The effort to get to the cushion, and to do the technique gets us to the point where can release the striving, we can rest and just be.
We have to trust that we already are what we are seeking. This is something I refer to constantly because I think it is the one thing we miss. We miss the part where we let go of the striving, let go of the technique, let go what we think we know. The more we let go (let be) the more vivid the meditation becomes. Let the mind settle in its natural state, all you need to do is not fiddle with it as it along the way.
Nothing to add; allowing what you are not to float away and what you already are is revealed.