The Way of Meditation
A few months ago, I had the privilege of looking after a kitten. Never before had I taken care of a young cat, so it was very much to my amazement that I discovered just how observant cats are.
The Essence of Life
Unlike humans, cats do not have any form of mental chatter within their minds. This allows for an intense presence to flow out of the animal and into what they do.
This presence comes from the Source and is intrinsic to Life.
The Source may also be referred to as life itself, the Universe, God, the soul, being, stillness…whatever you wish to call it. But know that the Source is eternal and timeless and allows for all the visible to exist. A label cannot truly define it.
Whether you are religious or not, I kindly ask you now to read these words with complete awareness and feel — not think about — the energy within you and, ultimately, the Being you are.
The Art of Non-Judgement
Have you seen how a cat stares out of a window for long periods, watching the movement of living beings and objects without the slightest irritation or impatience?
Most humans would struggle with this simple activity. But why is this? It’s merely to do with judgement.
“This is boring,” says the mind. “I’ve got more important things to do. I haven’t the time for this.”You may argue that a cat does not have to go to work, pay bills, or say…arrange a family reunion. However, if you are able to see beyond the stress in your life experience, you will be able to feel an energy that is beyond what the mind can comprehend.
This is the energy in which a cat dwells — and fundamentally fuses with.
I am talking not of an abstract idea that we can think of, but of that infinite Being which you are — one that is easily concealed by layers of mind-related stress, a conditioned past, and a fictitious future.
I ask you now to see beyond your conditioning and allow your true self — the essence of who you really are — to shine forth.
You are divine and infinite. Know that the same essence that is within us is present within everything — cats, in particular. In humans, however, this essence is clouded by thought and thus out of alignment with Life itself. Do you see now how our inner states are reflective of our outer world, and vice versa?
Cats watch with their souls, not their minds.
These fascinating beings are truly in alignment with Life. The very nature of Life exists in all beings, but is obscured in some more than others.
What is death to the infinite, timeless, and formless Being that you are? Absolutely nothing.
A “no-thing” cannot be destroyed. Only things — external forms — die.
Our outer form may age and eventually our bodies will fail, but ultimately, we can view death similarly to how we view the ego.
Once the ego is destroyed, Life flourishes. Ego implies identification with everything you are not. And so when the ego diminishes, what we think of as loss is actually only the destruction of a socially-molded false self.
Similarly, when the body dies, behind that “lifelessness” still exists an eternal aliveness that gracefully returns to the Source — the Universe.
You are now most likely thinking: “How do you know this?” Quite simply, I do not.
I choose not to get entrapped in thought and instead be grateful and appreciative of every moment I have.
Nevertheless, I do know for certain that our perceptions have great influence. If our minds (forms) suffer before we realize our true self (formless) then who is to say that all is lost when our bodies (forms) die?
In this sense, death does not really exist and is only an event in time.
Dissolving Pain With Presence
Realize how your mind creates resistance to life and how it avoids the natural flow of life by projecting into the future or dwelling in the past.
Notice how the mind repeatedly invents scenarios that have not come into existence and how it constructs stories that did not actually happen.
This is not to say that we should never use our minds productively, or learn from our past, or use our imagination in exciting and creative ways. We should do all these things, but know that compulsive thinking is destructive.
It is an addiction that the majority of humans suffer from. It denies us from accessing the moment. Know that what has happened and whatmay happen are not important compared to what can be found in the moment, in the Now.
In fact, when we free ourselves of past and future and live only in the present, we actually create a better future — one that arrives as a present. That being said, whatever it is you are holding on to, let it go, and whatever it is you wish to do, do it now rather than waiting and saying: “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Remember that tomorrow will arrive as the present moment. In Alan Watts’ words: “The Future is just a concept, it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be, because time is always now.”
Lao Tzu stated: “By letting go it all gets done.”
This is true. Cling to nothing.
Letting go implies that you choose to release negativity, and so you become completely present and therefore able to do what is required in the moment.
Buddha said: “The root of suffering is attachment.”
If we are identified by our minds we will suffer greatly. To bring about detachment, we must first know that our minds do not define who we are. We are far deeper than that.
A useful analogy to bear in mind (yes, you can still use your mind for practical purposes) is to think of the mind as waves and of our Being as the vast, still ocean beneath the waves.
The deep ocean allows the waves to rise and collapse, never feeling threatened by the ripples it creates.
So why are you feeling threatened by thoughts, feelings, and emotions? Have you, the ocean, not yet realized your wholeness? Why are you bothered by these waves of feelings, thoughts, and emotions that emerge and collapse?
This moment offers joy, grace, and peace. So why not merge with it by diving into the depths of your Being — which does not live in time (pastor future) — instead of trying to control the size of the waves and the frequency with which they arrive?
Feel This Moment Fully
Essentially, the Now is life unfolding moment by moment — a continuum of events — and as such, the concept cannot be interpreted or labelled by the mind. It has to be felt by the soul.
If you try to label this moment then you may miss this moment. And if you try to understand this moment, you will become lost in thought through compulsive thinking.
The Now will only greet those who welcome it. And my, what gifts it has to offer. Do not run from this moment, even if overwhelming feelings and emotions exist — such as fear and sorrow. If you do not resist the fear or sorrow and allow it to simply be, then these feelings and emotions will become transmuted into grace and peace.
When you live in acceptance your vision becomes clearer, and what you once perceived as a nemesis will be revealed to be something that threatens only your ego, not your being.
Underneath the feelings and emotions, there is a gift. A gift that will not only dissolve pain, but enhance your vision. So when unfavorable circumstances arise, you will actually be able to choose to not suffer.
Merge with Life itself. Live in the moment.
Be still. Observe. Be at peace and at one with the moment and the Universe itself. Be as content as a cat.