Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

What is meditation? In my mind, *loving* whatever you give your attention to


The following is taken from Vaishali’s second book, Wisdom Rising.

It was the great spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti who once said, “If you think that meditation is sitting in a corner of your room for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then getting up and paying no attention to the rest of your day, you are NOT meditating. You are fooling yourself!”

What does he mean by this? Meditation is the process of watching the mind, paying attention to where it wanders, and then bringing it back to a place or point of focus. The point of focus can be watching the breath; it can be holding a mantra or a specifically-designed intention or thought.

When we devote a small amount of time in our day to paying attention to where the mind wanders, and then spend the rest of our waking moments letting the mind run chaotically around, we are not “getting” what meditation is all about. We are, as Krishnamurti so dramatically pointed out, merely fooling ourselves.

It was the great scientist/mystic Emanuel Swedenborg who first originated the phrase, “You are what you love, and you love whatever you give your attention to.”

What this means is that our awareness is a form of love. Love is not limited to what we like, or feel we have an affinity for. Love is inseparable from our awareness. When we give something our attention, we are also giving it our love. Love, being the most profound force in the Universe, will bring more of whatever it is we are giving our attention to, into the whole of our life.

vaishali-bookcover.jpgThe purpose of meditation is to awaken to what we are giving our love to — to become conscious of what we love, by virtue of giving it our attention. How this Spiritual Law — “You are what you love, and you love whatever you give your attention to” — translates into our everyday life is this: when you give your attention to worry, self-criticism, or bad faith in life and love, then you actually love being stressed out, “less than” — and a victim.

Shocking isn’t it! We perceive these things as something we do not love, something we would like to avoid, and something we do not want in our lives. However, if you are giving it your attention, you are inviting more of it into your life.

Meditation is a practice designed to support us in the process of catching our mind when it wanders off, and seeing where it goes. By doing this, while we are caught up in the flow and unconscious habituation of everyday life, we gradually become more and more aware of what we are doing with our love. Meditation is supposed to be a way of life; it is not supposed to be an action that lives in a vacuum.

Meditation is a template, used to hone the skill of making your mind your best friend, and not your worst enemy. Meditation activates an inner alarm system that draws our attention back to the bigger questions of life:

Is what I am presently giving my attention to what I really what I want to be doing with my love? Is what I am thinking about really the best use of my love, right here, right now?

Did I come here to the Earth to build a monument to worry and unhappiness with my love? Or do I choose to empower something else with my love, something infinitely more life sustaining?

All of us have been Blessed with the gift of Free Will. Each of us decides what we choose to do with our attention, and what attitude we choose as a response to life.

Vaishali’s first book, You Are What You Love, is also the name of Vaishali’s weekly radio show on Clear Channel, which you can hear in webcast at this link.

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2 Comments on “What is meditation? In my mind, *loving* whatever you give your attention to”

  1. As a somewhat intermediate level meditator, I find that the awareness of my mind that Vaishali speaks of gives me a little space between thought and action, a little gap of time to ask "Do I want to go down that path?" or "Is this who I really am or want to be?" As I watch the thoughts of anger, resentment, judgment, when I am conscious enough of them, I can stop them or at least notice them and choose not to act on or feed them with more energy. My personal "testing grounds" are grocery lines, Highway 101, and busses. That's where I am most prone to "loosing it". Hopefully, the more I practice, the more awareness will come, and my mind will be less given to these thoughts. But for now, I try to stay aware and keep that little gap/space open.

  2. [...] work-day photography journeys are really a form of meditation (although since I’m strolling around a city with über crack and poverty issues, my mind watches [...]

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