by Tobin Blake
Imagine yourself walking along a garden path toward a brilliant light that brings warmth and nourishment to everything it shines upon. The path is open and the way gentle, flanked by gardens brimming with life. This is a peaceful, safe place, beautiful to gaze upon.
If you turn around and look behind you, however — back the way you came from — the light is no longer perceived directly. Instead, it is positioned at your back, and suddenly the change in your own positioning casts the world into shadow. Now, the shadows are nothing more than a play of light and darkness, but in them reality — and the beauty of your natural surroundings — is cloaked; and as you gaze upon the shifting darkness, you are left to the whim of your imagination. In a world of shadows, you could see anything, pleasant or ghoulish, but either way, it would not be real. It would be merely a reflection of your own thoughts, fears, and beliefs. In essence, it would be a projection of your mind.
When it comes to the world we perceive outside of us, this analogy is not far from the truth. When you look out and upon the external world, you are turning and facing away from the great Source of life. Life did not manifest from the outside in, but from the inside out. By focusing on the external, then, you put yourself in a position in which what you perceive is so heavily influenced by your own state of mind that the reality of the world is blotted out.
Meditation is the conscious act of turning around and facing the other way — inward. For just a little while each day, you sit down, close your eyes to the outside world, and turn your attention toward the inside world, where your core self, which is a direct extension of Source, still exists. The core self is the original creative spark from which grew everything in your life as you know it. To use an analogy, it is the foundation upon which your home is built. Everyone has a core self, although they may call it by other names, such as soul or spirit. I prefer to use the expression core self only because it is more descriptive, and also it does not have the negative connotations of more traditional terms. This is the same reason why I prefer to use the word Source more often than God, although these words are also interchangeable.
Your core self exists in a pure state of being, beyond every self-concept you hold, all beliefs, your individual thoughts and mind, your physical body, and even the passage of time. Consider the consciousness of infants before they have had time to develop biases; labels; self-concepts; ambitions; thoughts about what is right and wrong, large and small, pretty and ugly, good and bad, short and tall; and so on. They may quickly develop a weak ego, but they are far freer than most adults. Infants live in a world of purified existence, in which they fulfill the role of being an infant without question. As a result, most infants are more in tune with their core self than are adults. I believe this is the reason why Jesus told his followers that they must become “like little children” in order to enter Heaven. It is also the reason why infants can be so enchanting, why their eyes sparkle with life, and why their laughter fills the heart with joy. It is also the reason why their crying and their tears can be so incredibly painful for adults. When an infant cries, it is like the sound of God crying. We can barely stand it.
Most of the things, ideas, personality traits, and thoughts we think of as making up our lives are not really life at all. They are just stuff that has been added on to the core self — that bare, essential energy of life that infants are so in tune with. Every-thing else is ego, also known as the false self, which then becomes identified with the body and the external world. You are more than this.
Think of a deciduous tree with its roots, trunk, and branches. These are like the core self. Year after year, these parts of the tree do not change much. The flowers and leaves, on the other hand, may bloom and grow, but come autumn, they change color and spin to the ground, only to be replaced by a new generation of leaves and flowers when spring arrives. One of the problems with our lives is that we have become transfixed with the changing properties of life on earth — the changing states of ego and the physical body. When you reach down into your depths, you are attempting to release all this extra stuff, if only temporarily, so that you can come into direct, conscious contact with your core. Essentially, you are attempting to liberate your attention from the pattern of changing leaves and trying to sense your oneness with the Tree of Life itself.
While it may not seem to be this way at first, shifting your focus toward the core self is the most natural direction of your mind. It takes a great deal of energy to maintain an external focus — so much, in fact, that doing so exhausts us to the point that we are forced into a state of unconsciousness every night. The moment you lie down in your bed at night and free your attention, you go speeding inward into the realm of “sleep,” which is really nothing more than an unconscious sojourn into inner space and core self. This union with core self is what makes sleep so important for both mental and physical health, even though it lacks the full power of conscious contact with core self. It is still healing and refreshing. Meditation takes you into these same inner territories, except it does so while you are fully awake and aware.
About Tobin Blake:
Tobin Blake is the author of “Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy”. He has taught meditation and spiritual awakening at Unity centers, private schools, and colleges. Visit him online at www.TobinBlake.com.
Excerpted from the book Everyday Meditation ©2012 by Tobin Blake. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com
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