It could be said the state of mind sought through meditation isn’t a natural one. When this point is raised, I think of the mind of a child or an animal. The animal, that only behaves in accordance to its instincts, does this unthinkingly. The alternative of a human, with all its potential, is no different when very young. The child acts unthinkingly as it has yet to learn the ability to think. As far as the baby is concerned, it has no past, no future and purely acts on instincts alone. When we ask what exactly thinking is we gain a sense of how the human mind, only begins to generate conscious thought, after, it’s learned of the self.
From this point forward the ability to generate thoughts, that include images, feelings and internal dialog, develops as we age. As we age we begin to form a history of experiences. These experiences and what we learn from them become our reference points to the world. We begin to see the world in accordance to these filters. I am of course talking about beliefs. If, for example, your past has demonstrated to you, that the world is an exciting place to explore and experience, then this will become your reality. Alternatively, if you’ve grown up feeling insecure and threatened by the world, your future reality becomes somewhat tainted.
It is advantages to recognise this in ourselves. If we want to live a full and beautiful life, in defiance of the filters, we must set about changing. The methods we might use to facilitate this change can vary and not all of them wholesome. The best means, to diminish our fear of the world and its ways, are to educate ourselves into how to view things differently. Remember it’s the filters that make the difference. Like many we can choose to alter the filters through consuming something – that changes our consciousness – or we can teach ourselves how to alter our thinking on the inside. It is after all our thoughts (beliefs) that determine our experiences.
So this brings me back to the feeling of unnaturalness in meditation. It is true to say that the mind simply abhors a vacuum. When seeking to still the mind through meditation, at first, thoughts constantly crowd in. It can feel as if they are indeed trying to fill a vacuum. Even so, the stillness of mind achieved by the experienced meditator, isn’t really a vacuum, but only the absence of stimulation. Initially, when we shut out external stimulation, the mind craves the internal activity this generates. We have all become so horribly addicted to constant thought.
As a result the mind can feel slightly uncomfortable without this stimulation and seeks to busy itself as a result. We must allow this process to wear itself out. In other words, thoughts must be allowed to freely occur. All that remains is for us to simply practice raising our awareness to their nature. Only then, can we divert our attention meditatively. In time, we begin to overcome the slight element of fear, experienced from the emptiness meditation can provide. Was a child ever fearful of the emptiness of their mind? Of course not, this unthinking, emptiness, was the precursor to their wonder and curiosity.
Learn how to rest your mind and become curious once again.