Getting quiet enough

Wildflowers, Fryman Canyon, Los Angeles

Wildflowers, Fryman Canyon, Los Angeles

LIstening for the still small voice

My ego presents my consciousness with a dizzying sequence of thoughts. Sometimes it resembles a petulant child, tugging at my hand, demanding all of my attention to this crisis or that perceived insult. It makes endless commentaries on what I should do, how I should think, how have I failed. What does all this say about me? How can all of this be fixed, right now?

We don't try to quiet the mind. Unlike other techniques, the householder's Vedic meditation routine consists of sitting quietly and innocently repeating the mantra for twenty minutes, twice a day. That's it. My teacher was very easy, very accommodating, but on one point he was adamant; "This is not negotiable," he said, and I listened. "Get to the chair, twice a day. Sit down. Let the mantra come effortlessly. Whatever happens, happens for good."

This directive is simple, but the ego is persistent. A meditator is in danger of succumbing to a torrent of judgements, rationalizations and erroneous conclusions. Some of us may stray from the path. But if we observe objectively, meditation increases our sense of peace. It places us in a position of neutrality and removes us from the onslaught of chaos delivered by the ego. We return to the path.

I feel fortunate that I don't need to figure it all out. I just need to follow simple instructions, and slowly over time, observe my life getting better.

Getting started for some of us is tough. The ego has a lot to say about why we should not learn. 

"It's a racket. It's all about money."

"Do don't want to become brainwashed, do you?"

"I'm a tough customer. I'm nobody's fool."

Having introduced doubt, the ego has again tricked us into inaction. Some of us may actually never get started, and the ego's death-grip upon our consciousness remains intact.

We owe it to ourselves to break this cycle, and give ourselves the gift of meditation.