In order to really be, you have to
be free from the thinking, free from
the anxieties, free from the fear,
free from the longing.
Thich Nhat Hanh
To me, this is meditation–the voyage in–the meditative state. Every morning I sit in meditation, which is not to say every morning I make the trip. Even when I do, I only know I have when I return.
I’m not being deliberately obscure. Words fail me in describing the voyage in, the meditative state. Yet, like any other experience if I don’t show up–sit–I will miss meditation altogether, whether or not the ship sails.
Why meditate if there is no one way every day? Why begin as if I have never begun before? Why beginner’s mind?
These questions are similar to what I ask myself as a writer, daily. Write with an open heart—with beginner’s mind—come upon a word as newly discovered, free from what has gone before.
Every day, the goal is to begin with no thing and no where. Emptiness. And yet, it is not a goal for that is finite. Beginning is infinite.
So, I just start and see what happens, usually more in a muddle than not, and some mornings, that is enough to set sail.
I have come to recognize that moment of being in my body. I write it as stillness but that obscures as the sense of my body is still—I know it is there—I don’t feel it.
I have not gone anywhere yet I have been on a voyage to the land of no thought. I only know it because I have returned.
It takes a moment for my body to leave the stasis of freedom. In my mind, there are gaps between thoughts—nothingness, emptiness—maybe this is being.
There is no attachment or aversion, no longing or fear. And there is no time, no constructs of any kind. It seems I have just set sail when I am returned with the ding of a bell.
Really, it seems less than a blink of an eye, and I would know. My meditation practice is open-eyed–mindful–I have not transcended my body or left the eye of my ego. I have sailed and returned.
On any morning, I am not steering the ship. I only board the vessel, no matter how tossed the seas of thought. I take my seat. If I don’t, there is only thought without a gap in sight.
Freedom is not a journey–it is a place within–never too far away.