When we meditate we often find ourselves working hard and doing our very best to follow the simple instruction of sitting and consciously choosing to be content with everything the way it is.
It is crucial to realize that if we are working hard to meditate, what we are really doing is trying to meditate. We are trying to be content with what is. We are trying not to make a problem out of anything.
If we are trying to meditate, we are not actually meditating – we’re trying. If you are trying to open a door, you are not opening it. If you are trying to pick something up from the floor, you are not doing it. Trying is what happens when we can’t do something, but meditation is always something we can do. There is never any reason to try, because we can always just do it.
The instruction for meditation is to be consciously content with what is. You can always choose to be content with what is. Even if you don’t feel content, you can choose to be content with that. Meditation is not about how you feel – it’s about how you are.
Most of us spend a lot of our time in meditation trying to meditate. The secret to discovering true meditation is realizing that the only reason you find it difficult is because you don’t want to do it.
Most of us, most of the time, don’t want to be content with the way things are. We want things to be the way we want them to be. In other words, we want an experience that makes us feel good.
Anytime we don’t feel content, we get busy trying to make things better. In the context of meditation that usually means one of two things. We either try to generate an experience that makes us feel good, or we get busy so that we feel like we’re doing something useful and making progress.
In meditation no experience is preferable to any other. It is not better to feel peace than agitation. In meditation we need to be content whether we feel peace or agitation, or anything else. We are unconditionally content no matter what we are experiencing.
Also, there is no way to make progress in meditation. You are either content with the way things are, or you’re not. That is the only distinction that matters. Being almost content is still being discontent.
When we meditate, we don’t try to be content, we just are. We start from the first moment to the last being perfectly content with anything that happens and anything that we feel or think. There is no progress, we start content and we end content.
Of course there is something that happens in this contentment that none of us can understand or explain. As we sit in the unconditional contentment of meditation we are slowly transformed – our consciousness shifts. We notice that we are perceiving differently, we are experiencing reality from a new vantage point.
The more time we spend resting in conscious contentment, the more our awareness shifts. We only occasionally experience this shift in our practice. Often we are just sitting being content with what is and nothing particularly seems to be happening as a result.
The shift usually shows up outside of our practice. It shows up in all the ways that we find ourselves seeing and being different. We aren’t doing anything to change, we just discover that we are different.
If we allow ourselves to spend time resting in conscious contentment, we will change. And when that transformation begins to happen the best thing we can do to support it, is just let it happen.