Writing about Not Writing about Meditation
I do indeed meditate and I consider it to be a potent and valuable practice. I began to incorporate meditation into my daily practice as I found myself burrowing deeper into the fertile ground that a larger, 8-limbed approach to the practice revealed. It's just not something about which I feel particularly well-informed or able to fully communicate. When it comes to asana, I know all sorts of interesting things about the body, the way it moves, how it's put together and how to work with the body in order to manipulate sensation and draw out those valuable little truths that lay in waiting. I've read books and articles galore on the techniques and effects of asana practice, but my approach to meditation has been decidedly organic. I just sit down, close my eyes, and breathe.
There are hundreds of different meditation techniques which focus the mind or develop different powers of concentration and energetic alignment, but this simple, natural approach has worked for me. My meditation practice has grown from 5 minutes before asana to 20-30 minutes of quiet contemplation after pranayama every day. Basically, I wait. I listen intently. I become an object of reception, allowing all the energies of the universe to flow through and do whatever it is that they do when I am able to refrain from interference and simply observe.
I don't know what else to say about meditation except that it works. It grounds me. It sharpens my perception and it brings me back to my true nature. And this is why I don't write about meditation; it's not to easy to put into words. It's a subtle, internal practice. I have had some powerful experiences and been awakened to profound truths during meditation, but to try to relay those experiences here could never do them justice.
Another reason I don't write much about this topic is that I hesitate to offer a benchmark of experience for meditation. It would sadden me to know that my words might interfere with the unadulterated experience of another whose needs do not match my own. One should not approach meditation or asana with any goal in mind, but rather do these practices because they need to be done, like brushing one's teeth. I don't brush my teeth because I want my smile to be a certain shade of white. I brush my teeth because if I don't brush them, I'll lose them. The same rings true for meditation and the intellect: if I do not devote time to meditation, my ability to perceive rightly is diminished.
So I meditate because it is necessary if I wish to develop the steadiness of mind to recognize truth when I see it. I suppose the cultivation of this ability could be considered a goal, but it's a goal that extends far beyond the practice itself and a skill that, even in its infancy, has dramatically changed the way I live my life. The sitting practice, which once felt like such a chore, now feels more like coming home, like plugging in for a recharge, like tapping in to the source. I look forward to it every day.
The one thing that I would like to stress to readers who may be considering a meditation practice is to be sensitive to your own needs. Do what you need to do in order to be comfortable enough to remain still and in a state of dharana, or one-pointed concentration, for the specified amount of time. Use a timer. Start small. Pratyahara, the ability to withdraw from the external and meditate without distraction, is a skill that will come with practice. The rewards of a regular meditation practice need not be searched for. They will surface with time.