by Don DeMercurio

What is meditation?
Russ Hudson, one of the founders of the Enneagram Institute once said that the most important moment of meditation is that very first moment when the bell rings -and we turn our attention inward. If we feel into that moment of pure opening before our mind begins to shape itself into an idea of what meditation should or shouldn’t be we can catch a glimpse of who we really are. Over time we can learn to abide more and more in the luminous, empty silence and stillness that is our true nature.

In my own experience the simplest and most useful instruction for how to open to meditation is to let go of control and let everything be exactly as it is. When we are struggling in meditation we are attempting to exert some form of control; we are at odds with ourself. Our ego is always trying to fill a sense of deficiency or inadequacy with some kind of story line.

True meditation neither pulls for a particular feeling state or rejects a particular feeling state. It isn’t so much something that we do, as it is an awakening into our natural state of Being. It is goal-less, uncontrived and open.

What is the practice?
There are many forms of meditation practice and all of them can be useful in cultivating certain capacities or states of consciousness. In the practice that I teach we learn to just sit quietly and allow our attention to move from our personal will to what it is that is always awake. This very subtle shift in attention opens us to a deeper reality which we come to recognize over time as our true nature and ultimately as our true Self.

We sit in meditation because it is only in the present moment that an enlightened or awakened state of consciousness can be experienced. It is in this present moment that our habitual patterns of activity and reactivity are able to relax. And as we learn to relax we develop the capacity to be in the world but not of it.

What is the purpose of meditating in community?
When meditating in community there is a field of consciousness generated by the group of practitioners which in turn supports the individuals. The teacher holds and transmits the wisdom teachings as they are arising in the present moment, opening the mind, heart and body to the recognition of its true nature.