Lately I find myself falling back into the practice of meditating at the end of the evening and in the morning just as I get up. Of course the evening meditation sessions begin and end the At-Home yoga session but I am surprised that the morning centering began without effort. I guess it helps that my matte and small altar space aren't too far from the bed.
A few months ago I posted about a book regarding Zen. It was a simplification of the concept and worth the read for those of us seeking a way to find it. Perhaps the influence of reading that book is at work, but this post isn't about that book, it is about the simplicity of centering just by breathing in and out and allowing thoughts that come up no power in that time and the space to evolve by not holding onto them.
Thoughts wait for our alone time to surface, especially those thoughts that cannot be addressed while we are struggling to move from points A to B to C during our day. Perhaps this is why most of us fill our time with things and people to do? It helps us avoid dealing with those that may be too hard or too painful to address otherwise. In the silent space of meditation they sense the freedom and rise to be seen and heard. Trust me, during my meditations all types of thoughts and visuals flash across my head. Most times it is a struggle not to hold onto them and examine them for their purpose and meaning. Sometimes it is a struggle not to fast forward them to others that are less troublesome. And no matter how much I try to draw a blank in the beginning of each session there are always visuals and thoughts that require the patience and practice to clear them away. Despite years of a semi consistent practice I am always learning how to acknowledge them without holding onto to any and to allow each one the freedom to move on to the next without me pushing them forward. For me it is all in the breathing. Usually on an inhale I allow my thoughts the space of the breath and then I release them in the space of the exhale. I try not to think on what I am letting go of, instead if the same thought surfaces again and again, and sometimes again, I repeat the inhale/exhale process until a new one takes its place or my mind moves onto the goal of "nothingness".
Sometimes in that silence and "nothingness" there is truly a "somethingness" that is immediately and firmly accessible. Sometimes it is just a grasp of light in the middle of a breath that dances away with each exhale. Regardless, allowing things I cannot control or own, such as memories, to flow always brings me home. When the thoughts and images are gone and I am in the middle of the space something magical happens. While in it there is a sense of peace and I find myself, usually afterwards, filled with gratitude and love that goes beyond our concept of attached love. It is then that the thoughts that hindered me during the day have no power. When I stop listening to the demands and desires of the outside world, including my own ego's expectations for me regarding those influences, and pause to hear the silence that is buried within I find peace and a sense of balance that with practice can be recalled in times of stress.