“I have listened to the great Silence; and in the deep places of Life, have stood naked and receptive to Thy songs and they have entered my soul. “
~ Ernest Holmes ~
“…meditation is an emphasis on turning within, touching the depths of your inner self: the point where God is manifesting as you.”
~ Eric Butterworth ~
I have this notion that meditation is a spontaneous response to an inner knowing that tells us it is time to pause and simply be alone with oneself; just like we know when it is time to drink water, or when it is time to sleep. This practice of being alone with oneself looks different at different times.
As a child, I bore witness to my mother’s way. Now, you must know that my mother never used the word “meditation.” However, as a busy mother of nine, she took a daily break from her chores to strategize and energize before beginning her next project. Sometimes I tried to get her attention while she sat quietly, softly humming, and with her eyes closed. She would say, “Hush child, can’t you see I’m studying?” I now know she was engaged in ‘contemplative meditation.’
Years later, I found myself replicating my mother’s behavior. The difference is, it was upon arriving home after working all day. I would kick off my shoes, and sit quietly for a while, with no agenda, as I released all that had transpired during the day and prepared for the fullness of the next moment. My two children knew this was my “quiet time.” Little did I know at the time that I had slipped into what is called ‘the silence.’
I recall times when taking a walk (‘a movement meditation’) helped to stabilize anxiety, stress, and other emotional occurrences. Or, how taking deep breaths served as a ‘centering meditation,’ before speaking or acting.
There are unlimited forms of meditation, making it a challenge to define it as just one way. For example, early on my spiritual path, I followed the way of ‘guided meditations.’ Later, I encountered a teacher who told his students to let go of all concepts and words and would leave us suspended in The Great Nowhere. I had great resistance when entering this ‘Big Mind meditation.’ However, there soon followed extraordinary clarity regarding what was mine to do.
Even though there is a natural propensity to meditate, it is nonetheless the trained mind that is most effective. For example, there are techniques that teach how to remain focused. The one who has learned to harness the energy of thought is not distracted by fleeting thoughts and incessant mind chatter. The trained mind distinguishes between hearing and listening.
No matter what the initial purpose, the practice of meditation awakens our awareness of our inherent unity with the Source of All Life and dissolves all illusions of separation. The calmness, the insight, the healing of mind and body, the renewed energy, the intuitive impulses, the relaxation, and the peace of mind that follows are just some of the by-products of this practice.
Meditation, whether it takes place in the special space you have reserved, or with a group; is always experienced alone, within the recesses of your very own being.
There have been times when it occurred to me, there are people all over the planet meditating at the same moment I am. In such times, I envision all of humanity as a beacon of light; vibrating, pulsating, and shining together as One.
“Each morning as I enter into the silence of my daily meditation, I know I am one with the One.”
Mary Jane LaBonte