Scriptures of old, be they the Testaments, the Vedas, etc., tell us that meditation was really another form of prayer that allowed us to have union with The Source and our True Self/Higher Self (i.e., that part of us that is part and parcel of The Source of all).
So why would we want to link up . . . to have union . . . with The Source?
Have you ever experienced the joy of being around your beloved? Or experienced the deep love a parent has for a child? Or how about that feeling of comfort you get when you're in the company of your best friend; when it seems like the two of you are complete and no one else is needed.
Well, when one has that glimpse of union with The Source, the feelings described above are just a fraction of the intense feelings you experience when you are in union with God. Meditation helps distinguish between what is real (and more to the point, what is important) and what is not. Because, while all those feelings you have when with your beloved, your child, your friend(s), etc., are wonderful, they change (because we stop seeing them for who they really are) and eventually that other person (or you) is gone, the body expires.
I am not advocating that you live like a hermit to avoid experiencing those feelings. I am urging you to see them for what they are, i.e., reminders to you of a love that never ceases . . . the union with The Source.
What you are experiencing with others is like a reflection of the love between us and The Source. When you fall in love with someone, you are falling in love with The Source in that person. When you experience a deep friendship with a person, you are experiencing the deep friendship between you and The Source. The same thing applies to the love between you and your child; it's a reflection of the love between you and The Source.
So, what does all of this have to do with meditating in the Present and in the Presence?
Meditating in the Present is mediating on and with The Source. This brings about an eternal benefit: union with The Source.
Meditating on the Presence brings our focus to what's happening right now. The walking meditation I did while at the Buddhist retreat was tremendous. It really brought me into the moment and allowed me to experience everything it took to walk forward. I experienced my breathing, the very rhythm of my breath, while placing one foot in front of the other. I became aware of how my foot touched the ground and the follow-through required. I experienced awareness of all the muscles in my legs, buttocks and hips, as well as those in my upper body, that are required just for me to walk, one step at a time. My mind was not distracted with all the mental clutter that usually runs through my head. I was completely focused on the moment and all it took just to place one foot in front of the other.
After our walking meditation, we did the same thing while having lunch. It was a tremendous experience being completely present to eating my lunch. Tasting it, chewing each mouthful over 200 times (as instructed) before swallowing it. Feeling it move through and nourish my body. I was so present. I had never experienced being in the now like that before. Later, I was able to practice this, to be fully present when in discussions with others, when walking in nature, when experiencing a celebration and in many other instances.
Being in the now is being aware of your body and your surroundings. This needs to be practiced. And it's important to remember that when meditating on the now, we are meditating on something temporary. So while it's important to stay Present, what's more essential is to be in the Presence. You are in the Presence when you are seeing everything around you as extensions of The Source.
And so you are able to enjoy your experience of the Present in the Presence.
Next week, I'll share why it's crucial to practice meditation on a daily basis.
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