As thoughts tend to do, one popped into my mind today regarding meditation. I've been meditating for many years now and think nothing of taking time out to bring my mind home.
But it wasn't always this way. I remember asking one of my teachers some years ago how to meditate properly, like the masters. I was a young student and eager to learn fast. I wanted to know how I could fall into that seemingly hypnotic state where I had complete control over my mind. I wanted to empty my mind like the lamas did, and remain undisturbed by anything trying to avert my gaze.
What I didn't realise at the time was that my romanticisation of the practice was a key factor stopping my progress. I was a kung fu practitioner too, on a path of spirituality, and in my mind I had a vision of wanting the full armour of tools like the great masters did. I was grasping = my first big error.
Usually I would get ambiguous answers from teachers like “empty your mind”, “stop seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears”, which of course made no sense all those years ago.
However, one morning I was walking with one of the head monks to begin alms, and asked him ever so politely, “Please explain to me how I can meditate like you do”. He looked at me, right into my eyes, and said, “When a thought pops into your mind, there's a moment of complete spaciousness that occurs between it leaving and another thought arising….just hold that moment for a little while longer each time you meditate…”
My chin sank towards my chest…this wasn't going to be easy…