Art of Meditation
Meditation is more than just sitting and waiting for enlightenment.
We must also go toward enlightenment, and know which way to go.
Zen masters may well promote “Just Sitting.”
But they have trained themselves to “just sit” without daydreaming, without worrying, and without practicing negative states of mind. Their “just sitting” is truly just sitting! And they do not stop with just sitting: they also just eat, and just walk...
How can we train to go in that direction?
The art of meditation starts with coming back to just sitting. The mind likes to think, and thoughts take us away from the moment. When you notice that happening, come back to your breath. At first it may take you a while to be aware that you are lost in thought. Every time you notice it, just gently bring yourself back to the moment.
Thoughts can be like a bus. If we get on a bus, it takes us somewhere else. When you notice that you are on the bus, get off.
Thoughts can also be like a cat sitting on your lap and purring. We have pet thoughts. When you notice you are petting a thought, stop, let go, and come back to your breath.
This is how it goes: you lose it, and become aware that you lost it, and come back gently and without fussing. If that is happening to you, this does not mean that you are not doing it right. Quite the contrary.
You are not doing it right only if you are not aware of when you start daydreaming, and keep going. Daydreaming is not meditation! But being aware of it, and coming back to your breath is.
Come back to your breath over and over again. With practice, you stay in the here and now longer, and on the “bus” shorter. It becomes more agreeable and more peaceful.
Is there such a thing as “perfect” meditation, without ever losing your concentration?
I do not know. I rather doubt it. That word “perfect” sounds suspicious to me.
Leonard Cohen’s words come to mind: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” That’s also how the thought that says “it’s time to stop meditating” gets in: through a crack in your concentration. Otherwise, you might just keep on meditating with “perfect” concentration until you die!
If you are interested in taking refuge formally, please discuss your wish with Joseph Emet