Meditation is not Stop Action
If you take only one understanding from this blog, let this be it. There’s nothing in the definition of meditation about sitting still or closing your eyes. Meditation is a state of being, a shift in the relationship between you and the flow of your experiences. Meditation is not Stop Action.
Yes indeed, one key to deep meditation is to be at times absolutely motionless and look deep, deep inside yourself. But sitting still is not the defining characteristic of meditation, it is more a technique. You can be have most beautiful experiences of meditation when walking, running, working, talking, dancing, giving or receiving a massage or making love. This last possibility, developed into a whole system of meditation, is tantra. Any time you are present as you do something – in other words any time you are relaxed, alert to your experiences, and not judging your experiences as desirable or undesirable – you are in meditation. For some reason as I write this I’m reminded of beautiful experiences I had long ago while soldering electrical connections in telephone junction boxes!
Of course, the subjective experience of meditation in these situations feels very different in each case. But if you are present, it is all meditation.
So meditation is not at all identified with the traditional mindfulness exercise of sitting silently, or noticing the soles of your feet while you are walking. While I couldn’t imagine experiencing meditation without spending time sitting silently, I also could not imagine sitting silently as the only meditation activity. It’s a bit like learning French. You can’t do it without memorising vocabulary lists, but if you only memorise vocabulary, you won’t learn French.
Sometimes, sitting still invites meditation. Oftentimes it is the other way round. You do some other meditation activity (massage, tantra, dance …). And something so wonderful and yet so subtle rises inside you, that can only be honoured and fully experienced by sitting, motionless, utterly still, with not the tiniest movement, inner or outer, to distract you. So sometimes the sitting still creates the meditation, sometimes the meditation invites or demands the sitting still.
In face there are many personal development activities involving dance, massage, stretching, emotional release and so on which would be wonderful meditation activities, if only they included a long enough period of silence at the end, plus an overall intention to meditate.