When we get really into meditation, I mean a regular, steady practice, we'll start to develop an awareness of our inner witness and the creative force of our thoughts and belief system. Slowing down, we can experience how our thoughts brings feelings and concepts into life and give them solidity. It happens with pain and happiness, desire and fear, possession and loss, in fact with everything. If I reflect on my life, for example, it gives substance to the idea of a woman called Gerda, who has existed for so many years and has a lot of stories to tell. Through telling them, I drag this 'past' into the present moment and keep the illusion of a continuum going. We do it all the time and live the consequences.
When the incessant chatter of our mind calms down, we'll see the naked truth. Walking on a late summer afternoon through a village that has come to life, we see cars and pedestrians passing and a high, angular building from which the paint has peeled off, catches our attention. A golden setting sun highlights the cracks in the plaster. Freshly washed, colorful clothes are drying on the balconies. Children play and laugh, dropping long shadows on the pavement. It is perfect that old building over there, right on that spot, with its light and sounds, it is exactly as it should be. Just like you.
That heap of stones is just a form without meaning. The meaning is given by us. We attach stories to forms, each of us our own, in that way we distinguish them based on our conditioning and beliefs. It's how we differentiate beautiful from ugly and yours from mine, without ever being able to separate them. Some stories we attach to, others we'd rather detach from, and that can be quite a struggle. However, all those stories are not the real thing, they're nothing but sound and smoke.
Truth is prior to every story. It is neither a concept nor a thing. In its innermost essence, it is nameless and limitless. It's everything, including that what has no name and that of which the name has long since been forgotten. One calls it God, others Consciousness, Truth or Source; I call it Love. No love as the opposite of hate or fear, and not like the love for one Mr. , Mrs. or the children, but Love as all-encompassing, unlimited "everything", as the primary cause of all existence, in all its splendor and atrocity.
For that reason, I do not try to detach myself from feelings or emotions, however impermanent they are. After long years of dissociation and depression, life has become an intimate dance with that-what-is, and, although I stumble and grumble sometimes, for me that is the key to a fulfilled life, a deep intimacy with the truth of this moment, whether I like it or not. As mystic-poet Jeff Foster pictures it, 'There is no unholy ground.'
On Holy Ground - by Jeff Foster
They say to look upon God’s face
Would be unbearable
We would be blinded by light
Then I have died a thousand times over
I have burnt at the stake of existence
All images of myself have melted
And even that cannot be true
And I say ‘God’
But I have to laugh –
The word has lost all meaning
God is only a metaphor
For this fragile gift of a life
For this precious moment, unrepeatable
For this consciousness, unspeakable
For a familiar look on a stranger’s face
For those icy winter branches
For each footstep, falling
There is no unholy ground
Read more from Jeff on Life Without a Centre