I read recently that meditation was about “Educating the Heart.” A cardiologist might disagree but we know that the fruits of a long-term practice cultivate compassion. Anyone who thinks of meditation as a single mental exercise is wrong. Such an assumption is akin to thinking of all cooking as the same, ignoring the vast variation in cuisine, recipes and ingredients found throughout the world. Certainly there is a great deal of overlap among the different kinds of meditation. A Trappist monk chanting the “Kyrie Eleison”, has much in common with a Tibetan nun chanting “ Om mani padme hum”. But beyond these there is a wide variety of meditation practices.
However we do know that the most basic and universal of all practices, found in one form or another in spiritual and secular traditions around the world is what we might call concentration or one-pointedness meditation. Focusing on emptying the mind requires us to let go of those hundreds of other thoughts that flit through our mind as distractions. When we empty the mind we are not focused on anything, yet totally present.
Thoughts will inevitably start to arise but we strive to not let them chain into longer thoughts. Hopefully they just fade away.
It’s not easy to emptying the mind but the process is rewarding. As the Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard put it, “Purity of heart is to want one thing only.”
And now let us meditate in the fashion that we are accustomed to.
You might like to dedicate your meditation to those that are affected by Covid-19 virus either through illness, bereavement or unemployment or some special intention of your own.
(Meditate for up to 20 minutes.)
As we go about our daily activities I hope that by being in the present, by remaining mindful we will find joy in the midst of this trial. Peter