19 January 2012

Sound and Meditation

Meditation has been used in spiritual practice and personal growth for thousands and thousands of years. Even in the West, scientific studies showing meditation reduces stress (and blood pressure) is old news...


Mediation is also one of those easier-said-than-done kind of things. But it is also one of those you-get-out-of-it-what-you-put-into-it kind of things. It doesn't take so much effort. What you put into it is an investment of time. It can help you if you don't do it, even if what you do - to casual observation - appears to be next to nothing at all.

Entire books have been written about meditation. There is much more to meditation than one blog post can cover. Although, if anyone can come close, it is my friend Joy. In her blog and newsletter, she often talks about meditation and how it relates to intuition.

Today she reminds us of the analogy of thoughts and sound in meditation.
Thinking, "inner dialog" some call it, is a normal, natural, spontaneous part of the mind. It is just as normal and natural as sound coming from a gong when you strike it.

The tricky part is the end of the sound, the letting go of the thought.

Just as sound comes naturally from striking a gong, the sound from that strike fades away. Thoughts come as we meditate. The trick is letting them fade away. Sound comes, sound goes. Thoughts come, thoughts go. The really tricky part is not striking the gong again. The really tricky part to meditation, the part that takes the investment of time and practice, is letting thoughts go, and staying in the silence in-between. Let the naturally arising thoughts go...and not rush on to the next thought.

All I know is my own experience. Meditation is one of those things where you can read about it until the cows come home, but there is no substitute for just plain DOing it.

Imagine each though being the ring of a bell (the reason for bell and dorje in Tibetan Buddhism??? I would love to know the answer to that if any of you are knowledgeable about Tibetan Buddhist meditation). For me, if each thought was the clang of a cymbal, I would sound like one of those toy wind-up monkeys clanging away most of the time. On a good day, it is more like a wind-up monkey with a bad spring. It clangs away...then I catch myself thinking, and let it go. It might be quiet for just a second before the clanging starts again. And then catch it-stop it as second.  And so the cycle goes. A second is better than nothing, and maybe someday the wind up monkey toy will sit quiet for more than a heartbeat. But even that clanging will fade. Even that clanging can be followed by a moment of meditative silence.

So what does meditation have to do with the blog topic, Tarot? Listening to your intuition is a kind of meditation. The right side of the brain is a quiet temple of meditation compared to the clanging, thinking logic of the left side. The cards are just a tool...a doorway into that quiet place. Some problems need us to stand firmly in the doorway, using both reasoned thought and silent insight. Sometimes we need to step into silence...even for a heartbeat...to see our way forward, to know what to do with the next round of clanging monkey-toy sounds.

Wishing you both pleasant bell-rings and silent moments

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