Guided Or Unguided Meditation, 2
Article on Guided or Unguided Meditation
Remaining Alert and Aware
Guided meditation can be likened to watching television. The distraction is likely to be far more positive that television programming but it is still a program and one loses contact with self. When I use the term “self” here I speak of a self that is far deeper than the ego. I speak of pure awareness. The term “self” can be confusing for it is readily used to refer to both the individual and the deeper self.
To continue with unguided meditation sit still and do nothing. In zen practice this is called zazen, just sitting. The mind will engage and you will start thinking. One of your first series of thoughts will likely be about how ridiculous it is to be sitting still doing nothing. As you let go of these doubts and commit once again to meditating the thoughts will change. Try to acknowledge the thoughts. Allow yourself to be aware of the thoughts.
This is an important step as it differentiates you from your thoughts. There is the thinker and the thought. Focus on the thinker. Stripped of thought this thinker is your deeper self– pure awareness. As you might have suspected it is this stripping oneself of thoughts that is the most formidable obstacle. This is the goal and yet it can only be achieved by not trying to achieve it. Phew!
Spend a few focused thoughts choosing to think about not doing anything. Entertain the absurdity of letting go of motive. See clearly that trying to let go of motive is a motive itself. Just spend some time looking at all this. As you may have guessed we have not yet got to the unguided part of the unguided meditation. We must persevere– without persevering of course.
Beyond Thoughts are Feelings
As you sit still looking deeply at the problem and the absurdity of it all– a feeling of clarity will emerge. What occurs is a synthesis of the two opposites. Motive and un-motive come together as one. They are both the same problem– thought. This will get you in touch with feelings. Motive and will have a feeling associated with them– a tension.
Guided meditation can certainly relax you but without you fully knowing about it. In the case of unguided meditation you are absolutely aware and alert AND relaxed all at the same time. We are inching our way towards bliss here. There is tremendous joy in this awareness. There is a great wonder and simplicity present in this. It feels incredible and that is why they call it bliss.
Blissful Wonders and Joy
Just a glimpse of this is all you need. Stick with it until you get this first real tangible glimpse of bliss. The thoughts are relentless until you look closely at them and differentiate yourself from them. The boredom can be unbearable until you look at it squarely in the face and realize it is fear– not boredom. Your ego is arguing its value and pointing out how much you need it. Don’t listen to it.
If you are patient it will become more about feelings and sensations than thoughts. When this happens you are making real progress. Your time meditating is spent working out old emotional aches and pains that have no name– though they will often be accompanied by images of the past. This is good. Keep working. You will feel lighter and more alive every time you meditate and let go of more ghosts.
These are ghosts of thought and ghosts of identity and ego. Keep moving through them. This all happens naturally. You are in unguided meditation territory now. Nature is healing you. Your very own nature is expelling toxins and grief. Nature is restoring joy and wonder where it belongs. You are a vibrant and alive being that can see possibility in everything. Life equals joy. They are the same thing.