Today's Teaching: Consciousness.

Lets take a moment to contemplate consciousness. Consciousness is the state of being aware. Thoughts, feelings, objects, ideas, people, really everything in the universe, exists as content within consciousness. In meditation we want to be very interested in the context within everything arises.

Another one of my favorite teachers, Amy Edelstein, talks about this through the metaphor of the night sky. It's a perfect metaphor for context, so let's explore:

Imagine that you are laying on the ground at night looking up at a very clear starlit sky. Your gaze will focus on one star or an array of stars across the sky, perhaps a constellation flirts with your memory.  As you lay, allow your attention to widen and expand so you take in the whole sky.  As you take in this vastness, begin to pay attention to the blackness of the night sky, not the stars. And as you pay attention to this backdrop, you start to become aware of an expanse with no boundaries or edges. The sky just goes on and on, infinitely. 

Consciousness is like that sky and the stars are like thoughts or objects. In meditation we want to get absorbed into the backdrop of consciousness itself, rather than the contents of the mind- whatever they may be.  In this way we can give ourselves just a short reprieve from the endless (am I right?) demand for conclusions that our mind needs to feel like it's doing it's job.  The mind is there to figure and sort and plan.  Not to inspire, guide, or control. By giving yourself an opportunity to expose yourself to the luminous silence of constant context, you will breathe more space around your thoughts and experience as you move through out your day.

One of my most powerful insights about meditation has been a reckoning of the simplicity of the posture.  Everything else we do in life is so richly layered with complexity that simply following these meditation instructions is very hard.  Think about something simple like going to the bathroom.  It seems simple, basic, not complex.  But if you consider for a moment how we don't just go anywhere, we have a protocol of cleanliness, we understand it's connected to our food and water consumption, etc., and you see that there is actually a lot going on in the subconscious levels.  The posture of meditation is much deeper.  The posture of meditation gives access to a part of ourselves that never has and never will need to figure anything out.  How's that for relief?!

Day 5 Guided Meditation: