Each time we meditate it is like we are taking a pebble and gently tossing it into a pond. The pebble is our mantra. The pond is our mind.
After the pebble has been tossed, it falls gently through the surface levels of the pond. Light at the surface enables us to see the pebble as it falls.
Light at the surface of the pond is like the light of our senses at the surface of our mind. This light enables us to see, that is, to perceive, to imagine, to think, to be aware of emotion. With this light we sense both the world around us and the movements within us in response to this world.
This surface level of the mind is where our ego-consciousness resides. As the mantra falls gently through this surface area, our ego-consciousness is engaged, perhaps even disturbed – much like the water at the surface of the pond is disturbed in response to the pebble.
At this point in time, because of this disturbance, we give our attention to the mantra. Our one and only task during meditation is to grow in faithful attention to the mantra, to gently focus and re-focus the energy of attention on the mantra – the pebble as it falls. This exercise in attention to the mantra re-trains our attention away from ego-consciousness, away from ego-centricity and into the consciousness of Christ. The heart of this Christ consciousness is deep within our mind, in the pond’s depths.
As the pebble moves through the water of the pond it sinks into deeper water. It also sinks into water becoming darker. The light at the surface cannot penetrate into the ponds depths.
So it is with the mind. As the mantra sinks into the depths of our mind it draws our attention away from the light of surface sense and into the depths of a mind becoming dark. We leave the light of our surface senses behind. We leave ego-consciousness behind. Our minds, like a pond at these deeper levels, can then be experienced as still, dark, and silent.
If we continue to be aware of our surface senses settling and stilling, then attention is still, in some way, at the surface of the mind. This is normal. Perhaps, at this moment, it may be hard to let go of a curiosity that may be noticing that ‘something is happening.’ At times like this the ongoing invitation is always to give our attention to the mantra.
Perhaps ego-consciousness at the surface of the mind will resist, using whatever surface sense it can, no matter how well intentioned the use of our senses may be. We are not conditioned to live with awareness at our mysterious depths. To identify with the surface of our minds is perceived as somehow safer, as less threatening. However, with Christian meditation, our sense of awareness is being transformed. Less and less do we identify our humanity with ego-consciousness. More and more we come to identify our humanity with Christ at our depths. Awareness moves deeper.
There is nothing to fear. Attention growing in the mind’s depths will reveal to our minds, through experience, a God within who is Love uncreated. This God wishes to free our minds and hearts so that we may express, more and more, the unique being in love that we already are. Grace – the gift of God’s life already active in us – uses our fidelity to the mantra to help transform our minds and lives into instruments of love. To be growing in Love, its experience and expression, is the purpose of our lives.
Continue to gently sound the mantra. Gentleness is important. This gentleness will give the grace already active with the mantra space enough to draw your attention into the still and silent depths. If we find ourselves forcing our attention onto the mantra too much, this energy of force may be more from the ego. Gentleness helps the mantra to fall because gentleness is a hallmark of God. It is a gift of the Spirit drawing the mantra and our attention deeper.
During meditation divine Love is always working in us wherever our attention may be, and however we may be experiencing the mantra. We can unconsciously experience it at our depths, or it can be gently, quietly and faithfully working away at the conscious surface, or somewhere in-between. Nothing is wasted. Remain faithful to your practice. The fruits of the Spirit are growing in ways that are hidden. In time the fruits will be seen and experienced.
As the mantra continues to sink into the depths of our mind, like the pebble in the pond, drawing our attention into the still and silent depths, we will come to experience not a saying or sounding of the mantra ourselves, but instead we will come to listen to it. The mantra will become the silent voice, not only of our being, but of Christ within us. The mantra will not be heard in the surface sense. It will be experienced as a kind of echo of silence, more an inner movement of the life of God within us. The surface light of our senses will no longer surround it.