MEDITATION AS AN ACT OF BEING RATHER THAN DOING
The title of this article is extremely useful definition of meditation, and one that is very appropriate for information and action overloaded, busy lifestyles. One of the basic challenges that we face today is that there is always so much that we seem to need to ‘do’. Not only that, even when there is nothing left to do, because we have been programmed to “do things” all the time, we just invent stuff to keep ourselves busy. The process of simply sitting down and enjoying the present moment has become an alien and uncomfortable experience for us!
It is also a great definition in the sense that it helps us to see that meditation can include a very broad range of activities, as it is the state of mind that makes an activity meditation, not the particular activity itself. For example if you are sitting in formal meditation on your meditation seat, but your mind is wondering about all that you have to do after you get up, that is not really meditation. However, if you fold clothes and you do so with an awareness of what you are doing and with an appreciation of who you are as a human being, then that is a form of meditation. We refer to ourselves as are human beings not human doings, and whenever we generate an appreciation of that being-ness within us, and the being-ness of the Earth and other living things around us, then we are naturally moving into a meditative state of mind.
Another way of putting this is that a state of being-ness focuses on the quality of our subjective experience, whereas doing-ness focuses on the quantitative, objectively measurable nature of what we are doing. What meditation gives in terms of our daily life is a sense of depth in the quality of our experiences. Meditation offers a gateway to appreciation, connectedness and depth that we have lost touch with because of an over emphasis on quantitative achievement in our life.
The classic book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M Pirsig is, in large part, an exploration of how modern culture has gradually lost its sense of appreciation of the qualitative experience of life through its obsession with quantity, efficiency, getting things done and generally ticking boxes of all descriptions. To become a meditator is to decide that ticking boxes is no longer good enough for you, and you want to reclaim the quality of life that is rightfully yours. This can be found simply by deciding to appreciate what you have right now, and cultivate your being-ness. Your being-ness is the natural human spirit within you that, when you are in touch with it makes us capable of feeling happy, fulfilled and complete in the here and now, even amidst the ongoing messiness and imperfection of our life.
By Toby Ouvry, www.tobyouvry.com, Contributor of //LIVE SIMPLY//