Meditation and Non-Duality
It is fashionable by so-called Realized Ones to say that there is nothing to do, and no effort you can make to gain the state of Enlightenment/Cosmic Consciousness/Realization, etc. (whatever you want to call “IT”), because that already is the reality. It is just a matter of experience and realizing the Truth. And this comes about unbidden and unprecedented by any cause and effect. But yet there is a multi-thousand year old tradition that says that meditation is a valuable tool and has preceded their Enlightenment by virtually every Realized One. So, if there is nothing to do and no effort necessary, what’s the deal with this?
The Witness factor
Reality can only take place NOW, so any event that doesn’t take place in the now can be excluded in any discussion about reality. As an example, most people spend about 99% of their mental time fantasizing about the future or rehashing the past, so all of these thoughts have nothing to do with reality. Similarly, because of how we are wired neurologically, all sense data we receive is always late in arriving, and thus can’t be relied on to give us a true picture of the now/reality. For instance, as you read these words, the image of the words that are on the page take time to reach your eye, and then the image is sent along your vision nerve path and transmitted to various parts of your brain where their significance is received, analyzed as to relevance, and stored. This takes time, and just as when we see stars in the sky and are told that their light has taken many years to reach us, all visual images have also taken time, and what we see is actually what has past, and not what is. This is also the same for what we hear, taste, smell, and touch. Similarly, our emotions and thoughts are merely reactive messages from the past.
There is only one constant thing that has always been operating in the present for our entire life, and it is still available to us now. When we were babies, we would and could look out at the world without the comparisons, judgments and commentary that we now do. The “tool” we used is our inner Witness. And the potential to use it is ever available. But this option has been buried under uncountable physical, emotional, and mental habitual reactivity patterns. This Witness is what can observe our physical, emotional, and mental activity at any time.
Here’s a little exercise that demonstrates first hand what we are discussing….. Which nostril is inhaling more air right now? There is no answer per se, and it isn’t a matter of right or left. What we want to recognize is the “thing” that can see the distinction. This is your inner Witness. It can also see what you are feeling emotionally in this now. What are you feeling? Now be in contact with your inner Witness and for a moment watch what thoughts are flowing by. See?! There is nothing closer to you than THIS. But how often are you in touch with IT? Well, here’s where meditation comes into IT.
Meditation and Witnessing
There is nothing better than meditation for placing you in the Witness position, and this is where you must be to experience your life as it takes place in a real way. When there, the world is known as a non-dual experience, and when not in the “living life as it takes place now Witness posture”, life and reality always appear as dualistic. Here’s how IT works….
Part of the process of Meditation involves concentration. This is done by intently and intensely placing all of one’s attention on one focal point. There may then be some distractions, but the meditator simply goes back to refocusing their attention on the object of meditation (which could be the breath, the environment, a word or phrase said repeatedly, a visual item… whatever). And at some point the concentration is so complete that distractions cease, all effort stops, and meditation simply and effortlessly comes to the practitioner. Here the underlying reality of unity that is the nature of all and everything is presented in the present, as the greatest of all presents, to the meditator. And life as it is becomes an experience and not just a concept. The illusionary separation of “me and the rest of the universe” fades away much like what happens when we go to the theater and a movie ends and ‘real life’ begins again. And knowledge of the truth that our inner Witness is in fact the Witness of all creation is known experientially. To some, this may involve being thrust outside of the limits of the mind and senses and the visual, tactile, sonic, intellectual, and so on, fields open to the reality of our eternal atomic and pre-atomic nature, as well as to our transcendent of the physical body, Earth, solar system, galactic, universal and trans-universal connectivity. And realization that there is and always has been an infinite consciousness peering through our, and everyone and everything’s, figurative eyes witnessing all of creation eternally as singular, non-dual, and characterized as Love, Truth, Consciousness and Bliss.
But is this, or any other experience that can be described in words necessarily a part of the non-dual event? No! As that famous idiom of Biblical sounding mere words puts it “To each his own.” is the actual case.
Meditation as a Way
There cannot be any antecedent for what has always been, is, and will always be. So in fact neither meditation, prayer, service, good deeds, nor any other actions can be labeled as a point A that will lead you to point B, which in this case we can label Enlightenment inclusive of a non-dual experiential nature. But there is much anecdotal evidence (yes, this is fantasy in a sense, as well as anything and any concept is) that the vast majority of Realized One’s have been meditators at some point in their life, and it can be surmised that in a way this did prepare them in a way much like what a farmer does when they plant a crop. It removed the weeds and other impurities, and prepared the soil to give the seeds the best chance possible for the miracle of life and growth to occur. But, as it is with farming, the eventual birth and growth of sweet fruit can only take place by Grace.
So, should we Meditate or not relative to non-duality?