Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Path Without End

When beginning meditation, one common mistake is to have a definite goal in mind, and to pursue it doggedly.  We might decide to meditate to combat stress, to experience blissful states, or even to become enlightened, but these aims only set up "gateless gates" that impede progress.  By suggesting that we know where meditation will lead, we create fixed concepts about it, which obscure the actual experience.  The best approach is one of a relaxed "not knowing" and total open-mindedness.  So we can believe in the benefits of meditation, but should avoid having fixed ideas about how these will arise and what they will feel like.  In this sense, meditation is a path without end.  We have expectations that attract us to it in the first place, but once practice begins these must be put aside, and meditation entered into as an experience complete in itself.

Commentators have sometimes referred to meditation as a journey into vastness, or, as Zen Master Dogen described it, "just sitting".  This means a total absorption in the practice of meditation itself, without intention or expectation, and without impatience or disappointment.

Source from Learn to Meditate by David Fontana