Cecil Messer – USA
When embarking on the spiritual search, we may be drawn towards a symbol of that which is beyond our reach. The silhouette of a distant mountain top, shrouded in mystery, framed in the dawn of a rising sun, beckons with hidden promise. It holds in trust a secret and sacred jewel of meaning. Our inquiry into meditation approaches this mountain, the way to which is obscured by the mist of unknowing. There are ways of cutting through obstacles and breaking out of our chrysalis of self-absorption and entering the clear light. The caterpillar is instinctively compelled to find a quiet place to begin its process of pupal envelopment. But it is only after it dissolves itself and sheds the cocoon that the glorious butterfly emerges. We too must dissolve our ego clinging and shed our self-cherishing to liberate the luminous nature of our mind.
The mirror of meditation will be applied to peer into perennial questions: “Who am I?” “What is the nature of my relationship as the meditator to meditation?” “What is the role of listening and studying, followed by reflection and within the realm of thought and time; yet:
“Is not meditation beyond thought and time?”
“Is a ‘system of meditation’ a trick of the conditioned mind, another conundrum?”
“Is there a way of preparing the field of my mind and heart that will enable the right receptivity for meditation?”
Meditation practice facilitates the process of empowering a totally different kind of intelligence, free of conditioning, to naturally arise. The seed of this new intelligence is conceived and nurtured in the womb of meditation.
To approach these questions, perennial wisdom teachings affirm there is a way. A personal and intimate relationship with meditation is its key feature. A proper reception for the teachings is an open mind — the essential condition for hearing and communing with truth. Study and reflection provide understanding at the level of intellect and meditation practice deepens it into the continuum of heart and mind. The grace of meditation then marks our mode of appearance in the world. Meditation is a rare state of consciousness primarily concerned with the process of naked awareness rather than the contents of thoughts and memories. It has been given many names such as: “samadhi,” “trance,” “rapture,” and “enlightenment.” Meditation — delicate and ephemeral — is like a hummingbird hovering nearby, tantalizing and immune to grasping. Approaching tentatively with loving confidence brings joyful engagement.
Like developing a masterpiece of music or painting, meditation practice relies on unfolding inner qualities of love and compassion to achieve clarity. Masterpieces are distinguished by their transcendent qualities beyond the applications of mundane skills. Pertinent qualities will be nurtured throughout our journey. As an art, meditation cannot be taught; nevertheless, its practice can be learned. From the power of Beethoven’s passionate love and practice of music, his inner listening flowered into the creation of a sonata. Similarly, our meditation practice can yield the sacred fruit of luminosity. The art of meditation practice is our most important vocation. Just as the breath is fundamental to the sustenance of our body, meditation is vital to the nourishment of our spirit. Meditation practice is the sword that pierces the veil
of self delusion and loosens our attachment to ego driven concepts. It clears the clouds of poisonous emotions and blesses us with the direct perception of reality.
Meditation is a transcendental yet natural experience of being fully awake in pristine awareness wherein the world is recognized as it is in its primordial purity. It is beyond the limitations of conditioned conceptual mind. Perhaps we have come close to the experience of meditation in one of those rare moments when our mind abided calmly. Attention was totally present as the self-slept in the background. Meditation may have taken the form of an insight beyond thought or an ecstatic feeling of joyousness beyond pleasure — like unexpectedly coming upon the vista of a rainbow. It momentarily graces us with its presence before dissolving back into the empty sky. Its beauty lingers as a fleeting afterglow of gratitude.
Transcending the complicity of ego cherishing and concept clinging, the truth born of meditation is inherently genuine. If we come upon a truth, we may marvel at its beauty and profundity; but unless it becomes our ground of being, it is merely cosmetic. Our journey culminates with immersion into the authenticity of our own insights — the true baptism of fire that transforms our mind and heart.
This article was also published in The Theosophist VOL. 145 NO. 1 OCTOBER 2023.
The Theosophist is the official organ of the International President, founded by H. P. Blavatsky on 1 Oct. 1879.
To read the OCTOBER 2023 issue click HERE