More and more, I'm into specifics when it comes to spirituality. I've spent a lifetime floating in the philosophical, theological, and metaphysical heavens. Now, show me the meat! (or, tofu)
I still enjoy airy-fairy speculation. Heck, what would this blog be without it? Both the posts and comments would be exceedingly brief, that's for sure.
But whenever I get a new spiritual, religious, or philosophical book these days, I thumb through it right off the bat, looking for details. Especially if it deals at all with meditation.
What does the author say we (or even just he/she) should do in an attempt to understand what It Is All About?
Don't give me elevated abstractions. I want down to earth instructions. Absent that, a writing is just a bunch of speculative blah, blah, blah.
Entertaining. But not scientifically or practically persuasive.
So since I don't want to be a pot calling the kettle black, here's what I generally do when I sit down for my morning meditation – fortified with a strong cup of coffee, which caffeinatedly elevates my mood even if the mediation session doesn't.
I have a saying that I repeat, and contemplate, before meditating.
Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to become
I say this to myself as an encapsulation of my current spiritual outlook. It also serves to get me in a groove that, hopefully, I'll stay in for as much of the meditation period as possible.
Nowhere to go… Here I am, stock still on my cushion. No place else I need to be for the next 30 minutes or so. This is It.
Nothing to do… No mental place I need to arrive at either. I don't need to think, feel, imagine, perceive, or do anything else inside my head.
No one to become… Even more, no transformation of my basic being needs to happen from on high, or down below. Like Popeye, I am what I am (or, I yam what I yam).
This centers me in three dimensions of space, time, and being – exactly where I am. I realize that every movement from this center, on what spiritual traditions call a "path," is going to take me farther away from really real reality, not closer.
That's my theory, at least.
However, it's founded on a whole lot of book learning and life experience. I just choose to ignore all of that learning-experience in favor of the no, no, no at the center of my Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to become.
I then use a simple sort of mantra meditation to stay close to the center during my meditation.
Lately I've been favoring Wu because it means nothing/negation in Chinese. And I hear "wu chi" a lot in my Tai Chi classes (this is the motionless ready stance that begins and ends each form; from wu chi the tai chi begins).
Something…wu…out of nothing…the empty center. Endlessly fascinating. A sound in my head, uttered by me, where before and after there is silence.
So, yes, I do something. Not nothing. But as little as possible, which is a heck of a lot less than I'm going to do the rest of the day, after I stop meditating.
I enjoy beginning the day with this period of mostly passive yin that contrasts with my mostly active yang the rest of my waking hours.
It's the core of my spirituality, really. Yet it's nothing that I can describe beyond how I've already described it. For there's nothing much to it.
Even less than I think, for sure.
Googling "nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to become" before I wrote this post, I came across a book whose title is two-thirds of my meditation saying.
Well, no one has a copyright on nothing. Though lots of people have said quite a bit about it. Like...
There is really nothing you must be.
And there is nothing you must do.
There is really nothing you must have.
And there is nothing you must know.
There is really nothing you must become.
However, it helps to understand that fire burns,
and when it rains, the earth gets wet.
Japanese Zen scroll
As for me, when I meditate my saying is as minimal as I can make it. Wu, wu, wu.