As Jeremy Taylor so eloquently described it: “Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit; our wandering thoughts in prayer are but the neglects of meditation.”
It has been said that as we pray, we are speaking to God. But when we meditate, that is when God speaks to us. Communing with the Source of everything cannot be achieved while immersed in the noise and restlessness of chaotic thoughts. The mind is capable of many levels of activity that span the full gamut, from utter bedlam and hyperactivity to serenity and peace.
Life in its hectic phase is like the river’s rough surface churned up by the wind. Those waves represent the flurry of thoughts, the recurrent worrying thoughts stirred up by the perceived windstorms of life. The incessant nature of these streams of thought, the constant chatter in our minds generally gets us nowhere, imprisoning us in an unending eddy of discontent. If we are not mindful of its trap, we can get caught in its current as it drags us into the abyss of the turmoil that created the thoughts in the first place.
The commotion of the mind is analogous to the turbulent surface of the river. The deeper portion of that same flowing body of water is less chaotic, with movement much less than that found on the surface. The deepest part, the bottom of the river, has a barely perceptible motion to it at all. If you have ever gone scuba diving or been at the bottom of the deep end of a swimming pool, you have likely experienced that calm.
After a fierce storm, once the turbulence has abated, if allowed to do so, the river’s murky water will settle. As the mud gravitates back down, the water’s innate clarity returns. When one is able to quiet the mind by whatever means, it is like looking into those calm waters where one can see with absolute clarity all the way to the bottom.
I have found that meditation takes me to that respite. It provides the channel that allows me to dive deeply into the mind where calmness, peace and serenity prevail. Meditation leads me to space where I can cultivate consciousness in its most pure form.
Life’s accrued experiences add multiple shrouds to our essence. Often these coverings blanket us with baggage that is burdensome, a heavy load that we may find impossible to continue carrying. In order to unload this excess cargo, these layers must be shed, much like peeling off the outer most portion of an onion. As we do so, our essence in its most distilled form is revealed. It has been likened to donning a Halloween mask every day for an entire lifetime. It is not until all of those facades have been removed, peeled away from the pure face that one’s true persona emerges.