The Single Most Important Meditation
Earlier this year I had the privilege of teaching meditation for male parolees through a foundation named Amity in Los Angeles. They've had amazing success in reducing the recidivism rate through a specific set of programs, including Meditation For Daily Stress (created by @Michel Pascal), which I've been trained in.
Here is a message on Identity that I shared with them during one of our sessions:
100% of our obstacles are invisible; this is the obstacle of perception. Our outer world simply reflects what's going on inside. The challenges that we face stem from being at war with our true essence.
What is our true essence? Every spiritual practice points to this essence of our being, the truth of who we are, as a force of Love. You only need a few minutes of quiet discipline every to start to feel in your body that this is true. The war exists when some aspect of our personality is going against the current of love.
Our true essence then has nothing to do with the identity that came with our name, our gender, our culture. These are all social constructs- made up!
However, generally speaking, we haven't been trained to identify our selves as this unlimited force of Love- let alone trained to view another as such. We are taught instead to identify and associate ourselves with very limited identities - like our profession, our educational status, our bank account numbers, our skin color, what bathroom we choose to use.
The identities give our world this false sense of order. It creates an understanding of the rules- written and unspoken. And it creates meaning around our bodies, the material world and allows us to assign meaning to our very existence. All of which creates a very, very narrow lens or sense of Self.
When I'm looking through the lens of my smaller identity, something funny happens. Not only am I blocking myself from being able to fully see myself (my power, my magnificence), but I'm also blocking myself from fully being able to see you (your divinity and your wholeness).
When someone is only using this lens, then it's possible that when they walk past you all they see is your ankle bracelet, or the color of your.
It’s a giant disservice to ourselves and each other when we don't allow ourselves to see beyond these limited identities- none of which are based in anything real.
So. How do we train ourselves to widen our lens? How do we see past the material and connect with our true self and the true selves of others?
That's where meditation comes in.
Meditation means: "I train my mind every day".
If I can expand on that definition to serve us better in times that are begging for us to remember who we are so that unity has a real fighting chance, then I would add:
I train my mind every day to see the divinity in me.
I train my mind every day to see the divinity in you.
Yogi Bhajan explains, "If you cant see God in all, you can't see God at all". This alone is a whole spiritual practice- a meditation.
When you meet someone new, or even when in the presence of someone you know, practice a conversation where you first, in your mind, acknowledge that this person in front of you is more than a body.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says "Only by undistracted love can men see me, and know me, and enter into me."
Meditation removes the distractions.
Abdu'l Baha from the Bahá'í teachings says that love, real love, our real self. " This love is attained through the knowledge of God, so that men see the Divine Love reflected in the heart. Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 181.
That's a meditation.
We first create unity within ourselves; we heal the division that exists within us. We stop the war within ourselves. And when we stop the war within ourselves, it's impossible to wage war with others. We will have no choice but to create unity with everyone.