According to A Course in Miracles, we believe we suffer from countless problems but in truth, our only problem is that we believe we are separated from God -– and that problem has already been solved. Everyone in this world seems to have their own special problems. Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted. To heal our belief in separation, meditation is one of the practices that we can apply daily in our lives.
Many people seek peace of mind through meditation and its benefits are exponential. Personally, I practice a form of Zen Buddhist meditation, called zazen which can be defined as “no separation” by my Buddhist Teacher. Zen meditation comes in many different forms such as counting your breath from 1-10, following your breath, koans, walking meditation described as putting your ‘mind in your feet,’ in addition to shikantaza defined as “just sitting” but they all lead to the same place which is to become one with the Universe that is alive in all of us.
Zen is described as the “shortest, yet steepest path.” It is the shortest because it is right here, right now and the steepest because each moment you are literally at the peak holding on to nothing. When sitting zazen, we want to cultivate Samadhi, another word my Buddhist Teacher uses for “non-distracted awareness.” Samadhi at its deeper levels can be described as an absolute state of being, highly concentrated focus on the present moment or a loving intimacy with what is. A Course in Miracles defines Heaven as “an awareness of our perfect Oneness” which is another word for Samadhi.
In meditation we are learning to sit silently and simply allow the thoughts to arise without following them, attaching to them and believing in their truth. Zen Buddhism uses the term “Silent illumination” or learning to be silent to the thoughts while in stillness. Zen Master Dogen points out, “No thought is worth a second thought.” In addition, A Course in Miracles also states, “You are far too tolerant of mind wandering.” Mind wandering is another way to describe projecting and getting lost in thought after thought after thought or leaving the awakened Mind. ACIM does not say do not have negative thoughts — it just says to have no negative thoughts that you would keep. These negative thoughts are a reflection of our desire for “specialness” or wanting to be separate and reinforcing our belief in separation.
These thoughts are not real and they are not the problem, but rather our belief and desire for specialness — that is what we are attached to. We can acknowledge that we have made these thoughts real in our minds and noticing the consequences of them – we lose our peace of mind. It takes realizing that we no longer want this specialness and what it brings because it just causes suffering to us and all those around us. This is when we recognize have a choice – another way… We can choose to release these thoughts and no longer attend to them by following, fighting or resisting them and as we continue to practice this, we notice that they eventually dissolve into the nothingness from which they came.
“When people say to me, “I don’t have time to meditate.” I reply, “Do you have time to suffer?”
Gabby Bernstein, Best Selling Author, Life Coach and Motivational Speaker