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Sitting on the Beach Does Not Cause a Tsunami

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I had a follow up dialogue on Facebook about my previous blog post about effort. Someone asked:

A helpful entry, Nirmala! I thought it insightfully traversed the "razors edge" of effort in regard to meditation. I would, sometime, like to know your thoughts on the importance (or not) of meditation in general. Thanks for sharing!

And I replied:

I would suggest that meditation can be helpful, but meditation itself does not cause the deeper shifts of awareness that just happen as a result of divine grace. My sense is that most spiritual practices function to focus our awareness on the here and now. That does not cause anything to happen, but it does mean that when something happens, you are there to notice it.

I recently used the metaphor that sitting on the beach does not cause a tsunami, but it does mean that when a tsunami comes, you are there to be swept away by it. And of course a tsunami might still get you even if you are not near the beach, but the odds are better at the beach.

So meditation and other spiritual practice is like spending time at the beach. It does not cause any big waves of awakening, but it does mean that you are swept up in them when they occur. This puts the practice in perspective. You do not measure a spiritual practice by it's results. You just measure it by whether or not you actually sit and meditate today. If nothing happens today, that is fine. You just come back to the beach again tomorrow.

You can enjoy the sun, sand and sound of the ocean while you are there, but the real purpose is just to be here when the deeper movements of being happen. And this is true of the tsunami like awakenings and also the smaller rogue waves that come and wash away your attachments and suffering a little at a time.

The Least Amount of Effort in Meditation

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Someone emailed me with some questions about the role of effort in meditation, and about their tendency to try to hard until they felt a sense of strain while meditating. Here is my response:

Your questions are very good ones. It seems to come down to the question of effort or no effort. And yet there is an in-between place where you make the very minimum amount of effort. That is what meditation is really for: to find the place where you are efforting the very least amount possible. The very least amount of effort is to just notice what is happening and then allow it to be the way it is.

This does require effort, but so little that the tendency is to still try too hard, for example by focusing the noticing in some way, like noticing the thoughts. Even more simple is just noticing whatever awareness touches whether it is a thought, a sensation, a blank or empty experience, or even an arising of presence or Being.

The point of this minimal effort is to simply to be present. The only measure of whether it was a "good" meditation or not is whether you sat there for the allotted time or not. Anything else that happens or any results of the meditation are not your concern. Even surrender is not something you do, it is just something that happens to you. By meditating, you are present if surrender happens to you. You are also present if conditioning gets triggered, or total dissolution of the ego and merging into the Absolute happens. You are also present if your butt starts to ache or you get restless. You are present if nothing happens. Your only job is to be present. Everything else is in the hands of Being or Presence.

However, there is a little twist to all of this in that if trying to hard arises, then you can just be present to the experience of trying to hard. You mention a feeling of strain that arises. What is that like? How do you know there is strain? What sensations are present that let you know there is strain present? Are they bad sensations? You do not need to fix or change the experience of straining. Just give it attention like anything else.

There are practical things you can do to allow yourself to be more present. One of them is to drop into the Heart as you mention, or you may also try dropping your awareness all the way down into your belly. Then just let the noticing happen from the Heart and/or belly. This accesses the natural capacity of your Being to just notice. It is easier to give this very least effort of noticing from the lower centers of the body without the sense of strain arising, or the counfusion that comes from trying to figure all of this out with the mind.

Lastly, you can simply know that it is working perfectly. The actual unfolding and awakening of your consciousness is again not something you do. It is just something that happens to you. Meditation and even self-inquiry are just a means to be home when Presence arises. They do not cause Presence to happen, they just mean that you are noticing when it does happen.

Nirmala's Book in Spanish: Nirmala libro en español

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New: Nirmala's book, Living from the Heart, is now available in Spanish in both paperback and ebook versions.

Nuevo: libro de Nirmala, Vivir desde el Corazón, ya está disponible en español aqui. Ambas versiones de bolsillo y libro electrónico están disponibles aquí, junto con una descarga gratuita de la segunda parte.

Nuevo libre espiritual por Nirmala
Durante siglos, las enseñanzas espirituales nos han señalado el camino al Corazón como una fuente de sabiduría, verdad, paz y amor. Le llamamos corazón porque estas realidades profundas son experimentadas con más fuerza en la región del corazón físico. Sin embargo, el corazón espiritual no está limitado a su situación física en tu cuerpo. El corazón es la totalidad de tu conexión con esas cualidades esenciales y grandes dimensiones de tu verdadera naturaleza como un Ser sin límites. Cualquier exploración de la verdad de tu Ser, debe incluir un descubrimiento de las capacidades y cualidades de este tierno, amoroso y sabio aspecto de tu verdadera naturaleza.

Vivir desde el Corazón consiste de tres partes que exploran vivir desde el corazón espiritual. La primera parte, Desde el Corazón, ofrece formas sencillas de deslizar la consciencia hacia el Corazón y así cambiar a una perspectiva más amplia y permisiva, y a una experiencia más completa del mundo y de su verdadera naturaleza como espacio consciente. Sigue explorando el descenso de la consciencia hacia el vientre y finalmente hacia el Corazón espiritual, el cual incluye la mente, el corazón y el vientre. Estos simples cambios de perspectiva pueden alterar su experiencia de la vida y sus retos de manera profunda. Resulta que no importa cuál sea su experiencia; lo importante es desde donde la percibe.

La segunda parte, Sabiduría del Corazón, explica como el Corazón es un sabio y preciso guía hacia la verdad. La verdades todo aquello que abra su Corazón y calme su mente. Esta simple definición elimina muchas ideas confusas y creencias y lleva a la fuente directa de sabiduría y guía disponible en su propio Corazón.

La tercera parte, Amar es dar, no recibir, señala la verdadera fuente de amor en su propia Corazón. La esencia del amor es la espaciosa y abierta atención a nuestra consciencia. La consciencia es la fuerza más gentil, buena e intima del mundo. Toca todo, pero no se impone ni exige. Sorprendentemente, la experiencia de esta consciencia, o amor, es más plena cuando la da a otros, no cuando lo recibe. Mientras más amor da, mas amor siente. Es dando amor libremente que nos llenamos de amor.

A través del libro, se señala más allá de la experiencia del Corazón y la sabiduría, paz y amor del mismo, para explorar la posibilidad de reconocer estas cualidades como lo que es usted. El Corazón con toda su alegría, satisfacción, paz, amor y sabiduría no es sólo algo que puede sentir con más plenitud; es lo que usted siempre ha sido, y siempre será. Al reconocer que su verdadera naturaleza es la plenitud del Ser, usted puede descansar tranquilo de toda búsqueda y esfuerzo, y simple mente ser como es.

Adquiera Vivir desde el Corazón por 11.95 en Amazon.com

Comprar una versión Kindle por $2.95 en Amazon.com

Adquiera la versión electrónica del libro, o Ebook, por tan sólo $2.95 en varios formatos incluyendo PDF, Epub, Mobi y Palm Doc

Obtenga una muestra del libro:

 

Download Nothing Personal Today!
nothing personalBefore you leave, be sure to get your free ebook copy of
Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self by Nirmala.

Nothing Personal leads you to the experience of your true nature and helps you explore its depth. Through exposition, questions and dialogues, it brings you to a place of realization of the Truth: you are the spacious Awareness in which everything appears.

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