Eating is a mortal burden. When we eat, we consume impressions – emotions and thoughts of those beings involved, including the dying pains and anguish of captive animals should we choose to bring that into our physicality. You (hopefully) start at a state of centeredness, and then undergo the persuasion of the various impressions you incorporate when you eat.
What difference lies in most things we do? The transaction of impressions and reactions is the bulk of life. Work is a series of opportunities for personal growth – it is the same. Reading, exercising, socializing with friends and family, household errands – all this is the familiar handshake of impression and reaction.
And in that familiar handshake little meaning – little relevancy bears. For those handshakes are the flux of mind and body, those collections that we so easily and falsely identify as self, in the flickering nonexistence of time. The dream is in the dreamer and the dreamer in the dream, yet neither are the soul that conjures both.
Ah, except that daily devotion where we sit and encounter our collections. Meditation, the act of listening to the divine and immortal, is entered through the tranquil sitting and burrowing past our collections. Prayer, the act of speaking to the divine and immortal, is possible only after the mind and body are shelved as two more dreamland artifacts, neither more nor less than the shifting light of the growing dawn and speech of waking birds.
In daily devotion lies the essence of all things. In meditation and prayer the veil is pierced. We can wake, however briefly, out of the dream. They are not fringe acts or mere recreations. Without them, we simply delve deeper into the flickering light, deeper into the dream, adding yet more layers and solidifying more habits of reaction. Without meditation and prayer, we slumber.
In my role as a father, spending time with my child is a core of my day. Yet, should I forego my daily devotion, I’m a worse father and playmate, more easily distracted and less awake. It is through meditation and prayer that I discard enough illusion to be able to directly interact with my son. It is the same in all my roles. Every act is done mindlessly or meaningfully, but never both.
We are mantras repeated infinitely. We are holy petitions for dissolution to the infinite. But we forget.
Please find time for daily devotion, for meditation and prayer. All your other acts are fringe activities, recreations – mere handshakes and turbulent waters, until you find it within yourself to liberate us all.