Let’s examine the quote from last week’s What is Meditation – Part 1 about how “All I can say truly is ‘I am’, all else is inference,” and how a deeper experience of this truth can lead you to a place of peace.
First, take a deep breath and check in with how your body is feeling. Now, call to mind some situation in your life that is generating fear, anger, sadness or shame. You may be afraid that something you hold dear will disappear from your life, or may fear that something unpleasant will never go away. You may be angry about the way someone has treated you, or angry with yourself for allowing yourself to be treated that way. Possibly you are experiencing sadness at a loss, or shame for how you have conducted yourself. Invariably, you will have some judgments around any of these experiences…judgments about yourself, judgments about others (I use the term “judgment” in its broadest sense: a subjective label). For the time being, just look at the various judgments you may have about yourself… I am angry. I am sad. I am petty for having done that… and so on.
Now, recognize that inherent in none of these judgments is any absolute truth. Why? For the simple reason that these judgments come and go. You have not always felt angry. You have not perpetually judged yourself as petty. These are thought forms that move through the mind. Perhaps the thoughts occur with such great regularity and intensity that they create the illusion of permanence, but upon closer examination, they reveal themselves to have no substance.
Just as the flickering lights on a movie screen create the appearance of an objects existence, the object disappears from the screen when a shadow is cast in front of it or changes when a different reel is placed on the projector. Imagine that the emotion you are experiencing is the image on the screen, but that you are the light that creates the image. Experience yourself as the timeless and formless awareness that experiences the play of forms dancing on the movie screen.
The images on a movie screen have no inherent reality and are simply reflections of light. Likewise the thoughts that move through consciousness are not YOU, but rather projections, which are oftentimes highly distorted. The images will continue to be projected onto the screen. You do not need to fight them, change them or understand them.
What is more primary than these thoughts about ourselves? What is the substrata within which these thoughts arise and pass away? In this moment, there is no problem. You are the light of awareness that illuminates these thoughts. Let everything fall away other than the experience of ‘I am’. Be the light of awareness and abide in the colorless and formless experience of being prior to thought.
“All I can say truly is “I am”, all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit…Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion. That is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realize that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.” — Nisargadatta
I hope the above exploration offers a glimpse into another way of looking at meditation. I invite you to open a dialog with me about this topic during our next meeting with one another.
Yours in radiant health and curiosity,
Joe Curcio, L. Ac.