Work and Meditation: Meditation is often thought of as the opposite of work It isn’t. It is work. Many people who meditate seek to quiet their minds – to have no thoughts as if thoughts were blocking their experience of life. This idea is a result of not understanding thought; not understanding the nature of one’s mind. The part of our mind, which identifies itself as self, that seeks the ending of thought is but thought itself. The work of meditation is seeing this – realizing it.
The next series of posts will deal with the nature of meditation – or what I understand it to be. I have been practicing meditation or working with meditation since I was 18 years old.
Regarding work: Commenting on work, Joseph Conrad wrote, “No, I don’t like work. I had rather laze about and think of all the fine things that can be done. I don’t like work – no man does – but I like what is in the work,–the chance to find yourself. Your own reality–for yourself, not for others–what no other man can ever know.” (Heart of Darkness)
He might as well have being writing about the practice of mediation, for this is the nature of active meditation, an engaged meditation – of observation and inquiry without judgment. It takes time, brutal honesty and action, therefore, “work.” For example, when I recognized I was asking others to kill animals for food when I would not do so myself, I became vegetarian. To become vegetarian is action – movement. And in that change, I eliminated an inherent conflict – participating indirectly in the mistreatment and deaths of animals when I would not mistreat or kill them myself. Conflicts large or small act as weights on a consciousness that seeks to fly, to know, to know itself.
Loving your Mind: Observing, looking closely, without judgment brings with it an appreciation of one’s consciousness almost as if it were “the other.” Again, Conrad, speaking to the relationship of his narrator and the object of his work, a boat, wrote “…I had expended enough hard work on her to make me love her. No influential friend would have served me better.” You will love your mind.