Why Do We Meditate?Monday, October 3, 2011
I have thought a lot lately about the object of meditation and why we are meditating, or what we would be meditating on if we were actually meditating like we think we ought to.
Typically, I would say that the object of meditation is growing the flow of creative energy, and that wouldn’t be wrong. But I think that there is another answer that is, in a way, deeper. That answer is that the object of meditation is the breath of life.
The breath of life is three-dimensional. First, it is the breath that keeps our body alive. It is also the breath which is the essence of our mind and our individual existence, our ego and our personality and all of that. Finally, it is the vitality of Life itself–it is the life of the universe.
In the past several months, I’ve changed the way I work in meditation, and I’ve changed the way I think about it. I used to refer directly to my energetic mechanism and skip everything else between my attention and that. But I’ve changed that now. I’ve come to understand that when they talk about the goddess in Eastern religious traditions, they are really referring to the breath of life. This means that the body is the divinity; it is the deity manifest in the material world. Mind is also the deity manifest in the intermediate realm between material and pure spirit. Beyond that breath is the deity itself. All three dimensions are present within the breath.
So now when I practice, I refer to my body on a regular basis, and I stay very much in contact with my body, recognizing the body as the deity in the material world. It’s important to take care of your body–to eat properly, sleep properly, and to move it every day. It’s also important to take care of your mind and to nourish it with sensory experiences that are pleasing, to have the experience of beauty and the unique ways that you appreciate it. Those experiences help release tensions in us by putting us in touch with what is rich, juicy and delicious about life. In this state, you will have access to the true religious experience, a sense of profound gratitude for your life.