The path of meditation is a movement or change in direction. The movement of meditation is in accord with our natural orientation toward happiness or contentment. In fact, the path of meditation is a relative path, a path which retraces the steps taken toward a static and expired conceptual mind, in order to discover the precision and clarity of the present moment. In Buddhist literature there is an awful lot of talk about emptiness. Here I have translated the term shunyata, traditionally rendered as emptiness, into freedom. In other words, our true nature is free or empty of defining characteristics that serve to limit or govern the creative expression of being. That is the true nature or fundamental state of man- Free! The substance of this energy could be said to be intelligence, or the potential to meet or directly participate in the flow of life. Intelligence is precise. When this potential is actualized the flow of life becomes unified, which is to say that we realize we are not some thing that exists apart from life, but are in fact a manifestation of life. This is the birth of pure creativity. At this point, intelligence begins to wholly participate in the process of life, free of the limitations imposed by self-conscious thought, which enables creative or spontaneous expression.
This freedom or spacious state of mind, which allows for the creative expression of intelligence, is obviously something we have forgotten. In most cases we are too caught up in the self-conscious gossip that has its origins between our ears. We fall into the past or drift off into the future, and then use these dead landscapes as excuses for avoiding the only point where life can be directly met, the present moment. We construct a self-image using expired material from our past. Then we stumble over ourselves as we try to figure out how everyone will react to the contrived image we are projecting, which is in truth nothing more than our own suspicions about the games we are playing. We do not buy the crap we are selling so we are paranoid, and project this paranoia upon our environment. This of course leads to pain and suffering.
Dissatisfaction is the unavoidable outcome of repressing the creative expression of your very being. Projecting this dissatisfaction upon others leads to a tense and claustrophobic environment; one plagued with anxiety, resentment, and confusion. After a while this dissatisfaction becomes overwhelming, and we are forced to reevaluate our world-view. We begin to reconsider a great many of the assumptions we have held onto for many years. Eventually we question the institution of blame or projection. In other words we begin to question whether others are responsible for the dissatisfaction present within our own lives. Once we have realized that the causes and conditions that give birth to our suffering have an internal origin, and therefore require an internal solution we find ourselves walking down the path of spirituality.
Spirituality is essentially the search for meaning or content on an internal level. Spirituality is a dimension of the search for truth, which is characterized by its fundamental rejection of the idea that external phenomena can be blamed or sought out as a solution to the pain and suffering that prompted this search. It calls into question a number of life-long beliefs; both about the world we live in and ourselves. The inquisition of spirituality is so whole, so complete that eventually it brings in for questioning the figure that is in charge of the questioning.
Spirituality can be a scary road to hoe. There is a sense of danger involved. Once our search brings us face to face with the searcher, things get a bit sticky. Spirituality is like a story that kills its central character. The practice of meditation, with its remarkable capacity for discovering space or silence challenges the solidity and autonomy, which for so long have mindlessly been attributed to the ego. Now we find ourselves at a cross road, and this cross road or predicament is the situation I wish emphasize in this essay.
From an intellectual point of view, this predicament seems nearly impossible to work out in practice. We seem to find ourselves in a situation that can only be resolved by falling on our own sword. Obviously such a situation invites hesitation, anxiety, and doubt. What will happen to me if I continue along this path? Will I become a blank slate? Bland? Loose all sense of individuality? These are the sorts of doubt that will inevitably be hurled at anyone who finds themselves in such a bind, an identity crisis. Accompanying these doubts is an intense sort of fear. Everything is on the line!
This incredibly intense existential predicament is brought about, as insight into our true nature is made imminent. The ego comes face to face with freedom or emptiness. Freedom is like kryptonite for the ego! The ego is created and sustained through a dependency upon dualistic relationships with other things in its environment. The ego establishes a sense of identity by creating a conceptual distinction between thought and the environment, which may include other thoughts or people within the vicinity. Once the sense of separation is established ego begins to make contact with these objects. This contact provides the ego with information, which it then interprets via the repository of past experiences in the memory bank. Having interpreted the information received the ego then issues an habitual response in order to manage the affair it has established with its counterpart. Now the relationship has a pattern, which the ego defines or conceptualizes, and it this definition that supplies the ego with a sense of identity or a role to play. For example, inn labeling other as girlfriend, the ego defines itself as boyfriend. The ego is absolutely dependent upon this dynamic in order to sustain it very existence.
As we progress along the path of meditation we are introduced to freedom. Meditation is a movement toward freedom. This introduction suggests that the sense of ego-centric identity characterized by a dependency upon other is a hindrance to the free expression of our true nature. So, the reason why we do not all attain enlightenment today is simple; we do not want it! We are afraid of it. Since we are currently caught up in an ego-centric state of mind we reject the experience of freedom because, from the our current point of view freedom and death are synonymous. This is where the path starts. This is where the path ends. Freedom or fear; what is our choice to be? Like angels and demons fighting on the tip of pin, we dance around this subtle point for the duration of our lives or we manifest the courage to go beyond the narrow-minded dictates of dualistic thought to discover an open or free state of mind which spontaneously expresses itself in the present moment.