I have a personal practice that includes meditation but I don’t go in for the empty mind. What I do is create a setting in my mind, and use it as my anchor.
My favorite “place” right now is a keyhole archway, under which rushes a chattering mountain stream. The stone I sit on is extremely cool and ever so slightly damp, and as I sit there, feeling the stone under my thighs, I lose my thoughts in the sound of my imagined stream.
One of the interesting things about an exercise like this is that it begins to feel so real to your inner eye and to your felt-sense that it often startles me to open my eyes and see my physical surroundings.
Last night I was sitting on my keyhole and quietly observing the sunset. It was the first time I realized that my mountain fastness faces west.
It was a bronzy orange sky of lowering clouds, and right at the horizon was a band of gold — the ocean.
At this point, I realized that I could see the whole water cycle from my perch. The glacier behind me fed the stream which flowed inexorably to the ocean. The ocean produced the clouds which even now were travelling inland to deposit their bounty.
It struck me that life consisted of a similar cycle, and that, like the water cycle, no stage had any inherent rank relative to the others. They were simply designations we used to support out understanding of the cycle.
I realized that that crucial understanding — that stages are not RANKS — was what I had felt was missing from Friday’s post. had felt very vulnerable posting it because I thought my words were very much open to misinterpretation, but I didn’t know how to correct it.
I had not made clear the one item that was important to know — there’s nothing to feel superior about. All the metaphors we use for our journeys are simply to share and develop our understanding. Not to canonize ourselves over our peers.