spanish-music1I don’t think I have the power of mind to seek after the self or anything else in meditation. I am a very poor practitioner; I have my hands full just relaxing. At my best, I can only sit there completely relaxed and notice acutely.

During an all-day meditation yesterday, I paid very close attention to the ever-changing traffic sounds, the barking of a dog out back, the occasional car alarm, scraps of music wafting up from the street, and—of course—the ever-moving tension patterns in my body. I noticed thoughts, was surprised by hallucinatory images that seemed dream-like, and was astonished by complete delusions that came playing through my mind. Probably these were no more nonsensical than the thoughts I consider logical and rational—the ones I cling to by imparting to them some measure of credence. Sometimes, though, it seemed I was seeing other people’s thoughts, so unrelated were they to me or to any concerns I was consciously aware of having.

At one point, rather far along into the day, I was astonished to catch myself composing a Spanish melody. I demanded of myself, “Why am I making up that song? I shouldn’t be doing that!” In the same way, I often abruptly chastise myself, “I’m thinking! I shouldn’t be!” when I recognize I’ve fallen prey to a thought while meditating. Only it wasn’t something I could put a stop to. The agreeable Spanish melody was coming in, in fact, from the street out front.

It was such a rude flash of awakening to realize the music was completely outside of what I was, that just at that moment it seemed everything else—every thought, every sensation, everything I called “me” and that played across my consciousness—was equally outside of what I really was. And then, almost at the same time, the opposite seemed more true. The Spanish music from the street was so obviously completely inside of what I was, just like every thought, every sensation—everything, in fact, all around, inside and outside of my skin. It was all me—the world included.

We get quiet for a moment in meditation. We sink down to a relaxedness, a calmness, abruptly free from all the crazy dreams we confuse with reality. And in that instant, by mistake maybe, or because we aren’t thinking to stop it from happening—we experience, in a flash, things as they really are.

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