"I Should Meditate." "I Can't Meditate." "That's Hippie Crap" and other popular lines from the War on Presence.
Pictured above is the indigo hand of the Meditation Realm from Ashley Bellamy's glass bead game board design. This board is the basis of the bead game spread that I use for client readings. The symbol in the middle of the hand is the Taoist hexagram "FENG" or Abundance. Its bottom is made of the Fire Trigram "LI," which is two Yang lines with a Yin line in the middle. It represents illumination, inspiration, creativity and knowledge. Its top is made of the Thunder Trigram "CHEN" or "ZHEN," which is two Yin lines on top of a Yang line. It is associated with regeneration.
None of this information is remotely useful to someone trying to meditate.
The reason it is here, in this blog, is because it represents an inevitability in my Tarot sessions. We lay a card in the Meditation Realm, at which point I am told by the client that the client does not meditate or that they know that they SHOULD meditate, or that they CAN'T meditate. This can have many reasons. The main being that they don't find that meditation is useful, or that every time they sit down and try to meditate, their mind explodes in to a flurry of "if's" and "then's" and "should's" and thoughts like "how much do I have to sit here before I'm enlightened or my telekinetic powers develop?"
This is the main stumbling block to meditation - most people don't know what it is. They feel like it is some mystic eastern thing their yoga teacher must do to build up enough chi to teach yoga. They saw the Jedi Master Yoda doing it, so it must be something to do with using the force. Can't you see the future if you do it right? The truth is that you don't get anything from doing meditation.
Not a single thing.
That is the point.
I know. Awful, right? Why would you do something you don't get ANYTHING from? Haven't we spent our lives cultivating an attitude of gain? Shouldn't every thing we do be to get us to the next set of things to do? With this thinking, everything and everyone just becomes object or obstacle, we don't enjoy anything just for what it is. I'm not trying to get you to give up your worldly possessions, you would just have to borrow stuff from people or buy them again. I'm trying to illustrate the point that we have grown to think a certain way about action, and that thinking that way precludes an understanding of a good solid meditation practice.
When we think about action needing to be FOR something, then we think non-action must be AGAINST something or that NOT doing something is shooting ourselves in the foot. So when we try to sit doing nothing in meditation, we come up with the idea that meditating will give us an edge in accomplishing our goals or gaining something. This is where the idea that we must be working toward enlightenment jumps in for many of us. Certainly all of our problems would seem silly and easily solvable if we were enlightened! We would have some sort of natural powers that would make getting through the day child's play.
What we ARE doing in meditation is very simple, we are just being. As Alan Watts stated, we use many props to do this. We use the incense to give our sense of smell something to do. We use a mantra to give our mind and our mouth something to do, and we stare at the floor to give our eyes something to do. We play music to give our ears something to do. We busy a lot of our senses for the sake of keeping them from wandering off to other things. The reality is, it's okay even if they do, because in sitting long enough, they come back.
What happens when our senses come back to us? We realize we're here and now in that whole "hear and now" business the motivational fridge magnets and coffee mugs have been going on about. We're BEING! Which is great. We are just being for the sake of being!
So when the "Meditation" realm comes up, what I try my best to do is to get the client looking and the cards that have shown up and thinking about how they relate to something they just do for the sake of doing it, because in that they ARE finding meditation.