When we close our eyes and turn our gaze inward, what we’re really doing is meeting ourselves. We’re creating a container in which to bring back together our disintegrated parts. We bring the body, our attention, and our feeling-self together in the same place at the same time. A feeling of rest and calm comes instantly, simply for no longer being so pulled apart.
Through this process of reintegrating ourselves, we also begin to reintegrate our personal self with the totality that we belong to, and through that comes an even deeper feeling of quiet and stillness. This happens most naturally when we allow ourselves to drop into the heart, because the heart’s nature is to connect.
The heart is like an antenna that connects us to all things. When we’re in a protracted or protective state, that antenna barely makes it past our own skin. It’s as if it recoils and we simply can’t connect, not even with our own selves. We feel cut off and isolated. But when we’re open at the heart, that antenna extends and connects more and more vastly. We can be alone any time, even all the time, and never feel cut off. Keeping the heart space open and healthy is essential to our happiness, and meditation is a practice that helps us do that.
Many mistake the aim of meditation as a training or quieting of the mind, but concentration and meditation are not the same thing. Concentration has a point of focus. Meditation is an expansive awareness with no point of focus. Concentration is about control and with concentration we’re still in the mind. Meditation is about getting out of the mind and into a greater state of vastness and surrender. Concentration techniques are valuable techniques that can help us move towards surrender, but concentration alone will not transform us.
We want to go further and find our way into the beautifully still, deeper aspect of the heart, where a great settling and spreading begins to occur. Where love becomes infinite. Where the dualities between self and other disappear, the veils between the seen and unseen are lifted, and our suffering fades alongside fading thoughts of not-enoughness, superiority, and separation in general.
This is why, when you go to sit, how you approach yourself is everything. If you approach yourself from a transactional mind that wants to check something off the self-care or spirituality list, yet is unwilling to let go, even for a moment, of material world concerns and beliefs, you will not get beyond the shallow surface and you won’t feel engaged in your meditations. But if you approach yourself with love, with a willingness to meet yourself just as you are, to give your body and it’s nervous system the time it needs to quiet down, with the intention to feel your way into the heart space, to literally meditate from your heart center so that you might saturate in the love and vastness that it knows, then you will be transformed. If you continually tune into that space, you will glow from the inside out with an inextinguishable light and you’ll feel love at the heart level for every aspect of creation. That’s a spiritual life, and that’s why we meditate.