Before we talk about how to do meditation, let’s remember what meditation is. Meditation is a kind of natural, relaxed, alert, silent awareness. A sense of simply being, with no where to go, nothing to do, no one to be, nothing to improve.
This relaxed openness effortlessly brings forth a sense of deep fulfillment which arises totally on its own—first in little moments here and there. And, if you don’t interfere, it goes through stages, eventually stabilizing, expanding and deepening, finally culminating in a profound experience of freedom.
What that description is pointing to, is the secret of how to do meditation: do nothing.
If you had told me that when I started out, it would have boggled my mind. In fact, that is exactly what that instruction does. It boggles the mind. How can you do nothing?
You’re always doing something, right? Sitting, walking, talking, listening, working, eating, sleeping, etc. Even if you are relaxing on the couch, you might be snacking, watching TV, reading, snoozing, and so on.
And what about in meditation? For most of us, meditation also means doing something, except it is an internal doing, like changing how we breathe or saying a mantra or manipulating our body’s energy, and so on.
So, “doing nothing” just doesn’t make any sense.
And that is what it’s supposed to do. Not make any sense. It is supposed to boggle the mind.
You see, our minds are all about making sense. It’s hard to wrap our minds around non-sense. We just put non-sense into the category “ignore”, and go about our day.
But stuff is always happening that makes no sense. Can you make sense of the weather? Or how about the universe? Or a newborn baby? Or sleep? Or how about love? Does love make sense? Can you logically explain unconditional love?
That’s where "doing nothing" points to. It doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. Just like sleep, or love, if you try to do it, it backfires. You have to let it happen. Don’t fight it, don’t try to control it.
So, maybe the question shouldn’t be “how to do meditation”, but instead, “how to let meditation do you?” Or, “how do you let meditation happen to you?”
The answer is: get out of the way. Like letting the weather happen, or letting the universe just be as it is—a kind of full acceptance.
Ok, now try it. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and do nothing. Don’t try to change your experience. Notice anytime you try to change it and drop that effort. Let go. Surrender—just like when you fall asleep. When you fall asleep, you give yourself permission to be done, to stop, to let go of everything, to finally accept yourself and accept life just as it is. And this is what you do in meditation.
Don’t worry if you actually fall asleep—that may happen, especially if you are sleep-deprived. When you wake up, just continue. Eventually, a process kicks in that could be called “falling awake.”
And if it is hard to do, don’t worry. Try again! Be patient with yourself. Just start with a few seconds or a few minutes a day.
Go ahead—give it a try. And let me know how it goes.