January 13, 2020 2 By Tenzin Gyatso
How did we get here and where are we going

Meditation is the practice that builds the foundation. What kind of foundation you may ask? And that is an excellent question. The foundation were talking about is a spiritual one. Now, these days spirituality is hit or miss, and my experience shows more misses than hits, not to mention the hits hurt. So I’m a skeptic. And I think you should be too. From my point of view, sure I’d like you to like what I’m saying, but if you do so without skepticism, why should I care what you think of what I’m saying?   

There are too many charlatans that have snuck into mainstream and cult society based on false merit, trickery and self deception. We get taken advantage of. The sad truth is we want to believe in something, and we want meaning, so when we find something that encourages us in this way, especially when there’s assurance of a desirable outcome, then we jump right into the rocket ship and take off.   

This is what charlatans encourage us to do, for if we trust their workmanship, they can feel better about their own self deception. Now there may be such thing as good charlatans, who encourage skepticism but still feel validation when others agree with them, and that would describe me. So I will do my best not to encourage you to board my starship, but merely to explain what spiritual vehicles are, and how to recognize the self existing tools, methods and means of your own life. We need a personal spaceship, and to build that we need a blueprint.   

Metaphorically speaking people have been doing this old thing for a very long time. There are plenty of spiritual figures that have left a message across time and space, that we today call religion. I would say that religion itself isn’t the message but it has codified certain aspects of what people have tried to convey over different times and places. Religion has sort of become a mass transit system. Just follow along the escalator and you will arrive at your destination. Unfortunately that is too easy, but that doesn’t mean religion wont get you somewhere. Different religions have in them very unique and very important messages. Each religion has it’s own secret blueprint. It’s just some religions have accidentally and intentionally obscured the idea of building personal vehicles of presence.     

Spiritually speaking, we don’t want to go anywhere that’s not here. Yet for all of that still need we have to have a vehicle that brings us more and more present. Ironically, whatever we vehicle we design is ultimately useless, but is useful along the way back home. If we we’re able to be perfectly present without habits, and in the world without conceptual thoughts, we wouldn’t need our vehicle. If we we’re completely content in the world and without suffering, we wouldn’t need a vehicle. If we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we have everything we need, we don’t need a vehicle. But if we want to be more present and cut through our delusion, its helpful to have a vehicle.   

Because most of us haven’t mastered being present in a completely undistractedly way, building a spiritual spacecraft that knows the destination where we are ultimately awake and no longer hurting ourselves or others becomes really very useful. Now as we start to make sense of the world and build this spiritual space odyssey, it’s important to figure out where we are. Knowing we want to get to enlightenment, and knowing we need a way to get there isn’t enough. We need to understand where precisely we are, and in the same sense who and what we are.         

Meditation is this foundation of this. IF we have ever meditated properly, we will probably have an understanding of both the usefulness and uselessness of it. Everyone likes to talk about the useful benefits of meditation. And there are countless benefits. However, just as we discussed in the above chapter, meditation is itself useless, as we are already exactly where we need to be. Of course we haven’t fully realized it yet, but interestingly we’re only a shade off, and even more interestingly we continue to behave in ways that keeps us just off the mark.   

With meditation we challenge this ignorance we accidentally and often intentionally hold so close. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. We can see this with the following thought experiment. Imagine doing nothing. Just sit there and do absolutely nothing. Sure you can breathe and have good posture, but other than that, do nothing.   

Is it easy? It’s about the most simple thing anyone could ask. Now imagine you have become good at it. Wherever you are, you have become perfect at not doing anything, is there any point to meditate anymore? There might be, but it wouldn’t be doing anything. It would from a conventional sense be useless. And that’s the power of it.

Until we can do nothing, meditation is important. It cuts right through the nervous energy we manifest in the world, it cuts through our fear, it shows us our shadows and gives us the intelligence and awareness to face our misunderstood mental afflictions.       

And it comes from doing nothing.    

Now as we talk about building a vehicle, we’re actually discussing the creation of a crutch, or a step towards the state of comfort without form. For most of us it is too difficult just to sit and be simple. And for others, well we can sit, but we’re still not simple. Basically we can’t just sit contentedly without distraction. So the master of the past have given the lucky few meditation techniques, and for the less fortunate others they have left the husk of religion.    

My experience tells me that the people who can derive benefit from meditation, without accompanying structure are few. Most of us are more ego driven, distracted and complicated. We need more than meditation for our minds to settle. We need something to believe in, we need people to believe in and we need a structure to the system we can trust.  This is how and why religion is so good. Furthermore this is why meditation is so good.    

Meditation is not a religious thing. Meditation is not something that can be owned, any more than space can be owned. Think about it, sure people can claim space, maybe even one day have a fleet of spaceships to patrol it, but if there’s only space there, what’s the point? Meditation is a way to help us see that everything is space. Just as scientists continue to learn that matter is made up of smaller and smaller parts, it’s practically essence-less. Meditation teaches us something similar, and just as scientists still have to work with the illusion of matter, we must work with our illusion of matter.

I digress though. The point is no religion or faith owns meditation. Sure, currently meditation is most commonly aligned and associated with Buddhism, but in the same way it speeds Buddhists in realizing form and emptiness, it can speed Christians in realizing Godliness.

Mediation without a doubt can be the fuel for any starship.