The easiest way to get into the meditative state is to begin listening. Simply close your eyes and allow yourself to hear all the sounds that are going on around you, listen to the general hum and buzz of the world as you listen to music. Don’t try to identify the sounds you are hearing, don’t put names on them, simply allow them to play with your eardrums. Let them go. In other words, let your ears hear whatever they want to hear. Don’t judge the sounds: there are no proper sounds nor improper sounds, and it doesn’t matter if somebody coughs or sneezes or drops something — it’s all just sound.
As you pursue that experiment you will very naturally find that you can’t help naming sounds, identifying them, and go thinking, talking to yourself inside your head, automatically. But its important that you don’t try to repress those thoughts by forcing them out of your mind because that will have precisely the same effect as if you were trying to smooth rough water with a flatiron — you’re just going to disturb it all the more.
What you do is this: as you hear sounds coming into your head, thoughts, you simply listen to them as part of the general noise going on just as you would be listening to cars going by, or birds chattering outside the window. So look at your own thoughts as just noises. And soon you will find that the outside world and the inside world come together. They are a happening. Your thoughts are a happening just like the sounds going on outside, and everything is simply a happening and all you are doing is watching it.
It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.
The monk said, “It is not yet clear to me, do you practice or not?”
Joshu said, “I wear clothes and eat food.”
In these days, people only seek to stuff themselves with knowledge and deductions, placing great reliance on written explanations and calling all this the practice.
This body’s lifetime is like a bubble’s
may as well let things go
plans and events seldom agree
who can step back doesn’t worry
we blossom and fade like flowers
we gather and part like clouds
earthly thoughts I forgot long ago
withering away on a mountain peak
Alan Watts - The Dream of Life
The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.
The mind is like a garbage bin. I’m not saying it is not useful. You can live without a television, you can even live without a telephone, but you can’t live without a garbage bin. Most essential, isn’t it? Great, now that it’s so useful, you decided to sleep in it tonight! Now your life will be terrible. That’s all that’s happened. The mind is a fantastic instrument. Anything and everything it comes in contact with, it’s storing it up for your use. But now you’re sleeping in it. You’re living in it. So it’s big trouble.
If you could keep the garbage bin in such a way so as you can open it when you want to use it and shut it when you don’t want it, and keep it there, that would be great. Now the problem is, it’s always open, and not only is it open, you live in it. Don’t try to fix the garbage bin. The dirtiest and the filthiest of things on this planet are very important. Keep them in your mind. All the filthy things can remain in your mind. But if you don’t live there, where is the problem?
Meditation is a tool for you to walk out of your mind. You sit there: the mind will be happening there and you’re here. Every day, twenty minutes or so, twenty minutes again, and again, and so on. The mind will be there and you will be here. And do this every day and a distance will be established. And one day, your eyes will be open, and still the mind will be there and you will be here. And you won’t live in the garbage bin.
There is a simple way to become a buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.