Now

Meditation is not easy. The inner dialogue rarely stops. On rare occasions there is just awareness for a moment or two. The interlocutor is always there in the background observing, asking, making mental notes. I can understand why the Vipassana meditation retreats insist that retreatants should bring no books or writing materials. Reasoning, questioning, speculating, reflecting has no place here.

While all this is very frustrating during meditation, outside that time I am not downhearted. I do not feel detached from God. The meaning of transcendence is that He is beyond all our perceptions and experience. If He were attainable by means of physical and mental procedures He would not be transcendent. I think of meditation as trying to be in the existential now. God does not exist in what Popper calls Worlds 2 and 3. He is not part of the psychological world of our consciousness, a concept, an image, a dream or a fantasy. Nor is he a human construct, a statue, a ritual, a piece of bread, a story, or a myth. God is none of these. In the existential now one leaves aside the elaborate structures of human devising and imagination and stands poised in the mystery of being, the ebb and flow of the breath reflecting the systole and dystole of life itself. There are no words here, only silence; no light, only darkness. The existential now is the negation of self. Self is alone, naked and defenceless. It has nothing to cling to, nowhere to shelter, no one to turn to. It deflates, shrinking to nothing. This is why the self finds it so hard to bear, why the interlocutor keeps intruding with comments and observations. Anything to break the silence and lighten the darkness. Anything to keep it from extinction. But the self has to die, disappear into this dark now.

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