Part 1: The Art of Conscious Satisfaction
I teach a form of meditation I call The Art of Conscious Contentment, and this practice provides a powerful path to spiritual awakening.
In this essay, you will see how practicing meditation in this way can lead you to an open, receptive, and expansive state of consciousness through three miraculous insights.
The instructions for The Art of Conscious Contentment can be worded in many different ways, but they all ultimately ask you to do the same thing, just relax and let things be as they are.
Let me share with you some of the different ways to approach this practice.
- Sit still, relax and let everything be as it is.
- Sit back, relax, and be content with the way things are.
- Sit still, relax and don’t make any trouble.
- Sit still, relax, and realize that this is what it is.
- Sit still, relax and do nothing.
In my two decades of teaching this practice, I’ve come up with dozens of different ways to deliver the same basic instructions, but I think these five will give you an idea.
It just sits
Meditation means sitting and doing nothing, or as the Zen tradition says, just sitting. It sounds simple, but as you may have guessed, it’s more difficult in practice than it sounds in theory.
Why? What could make it difficult to sit and do nothing?
It’s easy at first when you try it, you just sit there. Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go. And you do nothing. What could be easier.
It gets harder as you go on because your mind is activated. You start feeling things you don’t like, boredom, pain, frustration. Your mind starts telling you it’s a waste of time, or explains how you’re doing it wrong, or just starts thinking about other things.
In the midst of all this mental activity, you begin to conclude that something is wrong. You start improving your practice. Maybe you commit to doing nothing or redouble your efforts to ignore the thoughts and feelings.
You stopped meditating and got busy.
The only thing to do at this point is not to make trouble out of all the mental chatter. Let your mind do whatever it wants. Be content even with a busy mind.
If you can do it. If every time you find yourself somewhere in your mind, you simply relax and be content with it, you will begin a path to spiritual freedom and awakening.
Part 2: The First Miracle of Meditation: Your Mind Doesn’t Determine How You Do
Even if you don’t have a brain, you can choose to be content.
The first part of your experience is the hardest part, and unfortunately, many people give up long before they really get started.
If you get through the hard part, you’ll inevitably discover a life-changing insight that you can choose to be content with, even if you don’t mind.
We are trained to determine how we are by looking into our minds. If someone asks you how you are, you look inside.
If you find feelings you don’t like or thoughts that annoy you, you conclude that your work is not going well.
The first miraculous insight about meditation is the discovery that your mind does not determine how you do. Whatever your brain is doing, you can be satisfied. This is a profoundly empowering discovery.
You are free from the need to cooperate with your mind before you can be good. Whatever your mind is doing, it’s okay.
It means you can be good at any time no matter what happens. It doesn’t mean you like what your mind is doing or the circumstances you’re in.
It simply means that you accept things as they are and yet maintain a sense of inner calm and peace.
If you follow the path of meditation so far, your life will never be the same. You have discovered the secret to living a more conscious, peaceful and authentic life.
But if you stop there, you won’t get all the benefits that meditation has to offer, as wonderful as it is.
Part 3: The Second Miracle of Meditation: You Realize You’re OK Even When Your Mind Thinks You’re Not
You always agreed even when you thought you didn’t.
Once you discover that you can be content even without a mind, meditation becomes very easy. Now you just have to sit back and let everything happen as it is. And what you see is that nothing really changes.
Your mind keeps thinking the same thoughts. The same feelings come and go. You experience the same frustrations, fears, pains, joys and realizations. The only difference is that now you are happy with everything that happened.
Sitting in meditation is now easy. All you do is sit. You might even be tempted to think you’ve mastered it and quit. But if you continue, a greater discovery awaits you. You will slowly begin to realize that even though you always thought you were good.
When you sit perfectly still in meditation, as everything is, you will notice that your mind is trying to convince you that something is wrong. You just don’t believe it now. Even if your brain thinks you’re not, you realize you’re okay.
Now, when you sit in meditation, you feel deeply at peace because you know that you are okay, regardless of your mind. Nothing can shake you. And it begins to dawn on you, if what you’ve discovered is true, if you really are good, even if your mind thinks you’re not, how could you not be good?
It starts to become clear that you are always good, even if your mind thinks you are not. You begin to see that you are not defined by your mind.
I remember it very well when I experienced it for the first time. It was a deeply liberating moment. I suddenly began to question many assumptions about myself.
I felt light and free. The fullness and beauty of life became clear. I’m good because life is good and nothing my mind does can or will ever change that.
Part 4: The Third Miracle of Meditation: Your Consciousness Transcends Your Mind
Beyond what the mind knows, there is a universe of possibilities to explore.
At this point in your experience, you experience a rare sense of spiritual freedom. You have made one of the most profound discoveries described in the mystical traditions of the world.
You haven’t discovered how to be content when you don’t have a mind. You’ve discovered a side of you that’s always content, even when you don’t actually know it.
But don’t stop yet. Meditation practice has another absolutely wonderful idea for you.
Sitting in meditation now is pure joy. Whatever your mind is doing, just sit and relax. You just sit back and easily realize that you are always good.
You find your mind doing what it always does, worrying, worrying, analyzing. You see the same feelings come up again and again, fear, joy, happiness, anger, frustration. The mind keeps moving and you just watch it, with perfect satisfaction.
Then something very interesting happens, his mind loses interest. You stop paying attention to any one. But where does your attention go when it is not focused on any part of your mind?
Now you are at the threshold of the third and most magnificent insight that meditation has to offer. Your consciousness will go out of your mind.
Consciousness beyond the mind can’t really be described because words don’t always accurately convey what you’re experiencing there. What I will say is that you become aware of a vast reality that you can live in but know nothing about.
Your meditation becomes timeless. You sit with no sense of time and you don’t know how much time is there. You experience what can best be described as subtle energetic movements. Waterfalls of insight and realization wash over you. As if the secrets of the cosmos are revealing themselves.
A journey of awakening has opened for you. As you continue to allow yourself to be accepted, you will discover more of who you really are and how reality actually works. Now, when you sit, you just sit, and sometimes you are taken on another mysterious journey outside of your mind. You return with insights, realizations, and a deep sense of having been somewhere heavenly.
Thank you for reading this essay. It was my intention to share with you the three stages of meditation leading to a great spiritual adventure. I hope this inspired your experience.