By David Simon M.D.
Our conditioned mind is woven out memories and desires, most of which restrict our experience of life. When our mind, imprisoned in the past, drives our choices, we live in relentless search of security, control, and approval, which we hope will flow from our accomplishments, achievements and acquisitions. We all know the thrill of winning a competition, receiving a promotion, or seeing the person of our desire reciprocate our feelings. On the other hand, when we lose a challenge, role or relationship, we experience the emptiness and sadness of our unfulfilled desires.
Unlike our conditioned ego-mind, which finds transitory joy in our positions and possessions, our spiritual self is established in a peace that passes understanding. The aspect of our being that is beyond our individual body and mind wants us to remember our essential nature – infinite and unbounded, without beginning or end.
Whether we call this domain of life God, spirit, nature, creative intelligence, or consciousness is of minor consequence. What is important is accessing this realm of awareness through direct experience. And one of the most powerful ways to reconnect to our unconditioned self is the timeless practice of meditation (What is Meditation).
The spiritual value of meditation is expanding our internal reference point from identification with our position, possessions, and past to the aspect of our being that is simply aware. When Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, his disciples asked him to define himself. Was he a god, a prophet, a saint? The Buddha considered the question then humbly declared that the most honest way to answer the question was simply to say, “I am awake.”
Whatever form of meditation you may choose, developing a regular daily practice will take you beyond the mind into the freedom and creativity that resides in the gap between conditioned thought patterns. Life’s inevitable stresses will no longer obscure your underlying sense of connection to the whole. From this platform of compassionate detachment, we allow solutions to unfold which expand our experience of happiness, health, love and purpose.
Through the regular practice of meditation, we experience a spontaneous shift in awareness and and expanding experiences of clarity without mental activity. The direct experience of “I am awake” begins to infuse our daily life in the hours outside our meditation. Even as we play our roles in the world, we are aware of our underlying consciousness.