Every now and then, or perhaps every day, we must fight the pollution of sophistication. It so often makes us forget the simple beauties and joys of life.
Perhaps you’ve allowed elaboration to spoil your meditation practice. To meditate is to dwell in the little gap between thoughts. Mantras, incense, mudras, holy writings, visualizations and energy work are all good things, but they are not meditation. Sometimes we must leave out all accessories and keep only single-pointed focus on our breath in utter silence and stillness. That’s the activity of rediscovering yourself as the very ground of consciousness.
Perhaps complexity has also contaminated your prayers. Yes, having a specific image of God is helpful, and yes, you can of course ask your higher power to intercede on your behalf. But the essence of prayer is gratitude. Thanks is the first and last word of prayer: thanks for creation, for existence, for all these blessings and all this grace we find ourselves in. Without gratitude, you’ve not prayed at all – you’ve just done affirmations or made wishes.
Getting back to basics is, in a manner of speaking, a way of discarding mind in favor of consciousness.
When working, too, things like standards and objectives and mission statements are all favorable to “success.” There’s nothing like a clear standard operating procedure to make for reproducible results. But all that’s formalistic and in the realm of ego-based planning and mapping. The essence of work is simply to take whatever task is before you, do it to your best and own satisfaction, and then move on. Whether you’re working for yourself, working for someone else, being creative, or being routine – simply doing your best in a series of tasks and then moving on is what work is.
At some point, we all started flavoring our rice – I especially enjoy hot sauce and a bit of onion. But the essence of eating is plain rice, isn’t it? Whatever you’re eating doesn’t need to come perfectly arranged with every Ayurvedic taste, or with a specific calorie count, or a minimum amount of protein or fiber. Eating plainly is a much a rediscovery of yourself as working plainly, praying plainly, or meditating plainly.
Whatever you do today, do one thing at a time. Do it without obsessing about the past or the future, and get back to basics with it. At the level of mind, you’ll find that everything is easier and you’re more peaceful. But, the truth of it is that you’ll step into the little gap between mind and matter.
That little gap is the same one between thoughts, and it’s also the path leading to the Kingdom.