When I woke up this morning I was very refreshed and my brain was quiet, so I decided to meditate. Shortly after that the room got a little busy, and then a terrific Michael Jackson song started playing. As I watched what was going on in the room and listened to the musicians and the lyrics, I realized it was a song that doesn't exist here in awakeland. Stuff like that will make you wonder about the nature of reality.
“Meditation practice brings our neuroses to the surface rather than hiding them at the bottom of our minds. It enables us to related to our lives as something workable.”
~ Chogyam Trungpa
“When you are able to stay perfectly clear by cutting off all thinking and yet not falling into a trance-like sleep, this is sitting.
When inside and outside become one, and no circumstances can hinder you, this is Zen.”
~ Zen Master Seung Sahn (image from the Kwan Um School of Zen Twitter account)
[This is a chapter from a currently-unpublished book I’m writing on meditation and mindfulness.]
As a spiritual being, one possible way to think of life here on Earth is as a “game” that serves as a training ground for the soul. It’s a game like other games, so it has many levels, and they get harder and harder as you progress. So in this case, the better you become at the game of spirituality — the Soul Game — the harder the levels become.
To help set some rules for the game, let’s say that it has fifty levels. The first time you play the game you’re born here on Earth in Level 1. Hopefully you score some points and move up, so maybe by the time it’s “game over” for your first lifetime, you’ve passed Level 9 and you’re playing on Level 10. Maybe you get a brief break in between lifetimes, but the next time you’re born you start right where you left off, at Level 10.
This brings me to a very important rule: Once you start playing the Soul Game, you’re strapped in for eternity. (That was clearly mentioned on page 52 of the End User License Agreement.) Once you’re in the game there are only two ways out:
Here’s a story on 91-year-old meditation master Ruth Denison.
“You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.”
~ Taisen Deshimaru, Questions to a Zen Master
“In the beginning, meditation is something that happens within your day. Eventually, the day becomes something that happens within your meditation.”
“Having a direct experience of seeing everything one looks at (including one’s own body) as moving subatomic particles alters the perception of ‘me’ and of the substantiality of what we regard as ‘normal’ reality.”
(I can’t remember where I saw this quote, but I think it had to do with some sort of system that you could walk into and see your body as moving subatomic particles.)
One thing about meditation, it brings back some memories that are buried in the depths of your brain/mind. For example, when I was 17 or 18 years old I remember my father and “the woman he got pregnant while he was married to me my mother” having a conversation where they referred to themselves as “survivors.” I further remember thinking, “If throwing your wife and children overboard to save yourself makes you a survivor, sure, you’re a survivor.”
Tricycle has a good article titled, Goodnight Metta: A bedtime meditation for children.