It is paradoxically when we empty ourselves out that we are most full. As every thought and sensation arises and subsides, their departure leaves us lighter than we were before they arrived – if we let them go. When we act in the worldly way, we are narrow – we are specific intents, meanings, and purposes. When we sit in contemplative meditation, we are universal.
There is a fullness of rich, awe-inspiring existence just under all your words and thoughts. Meditation and mindfulness are the practices by which we unveil, to ourselves, this marvelous creation and existence that we have arisen in. It is never the same; any description can be at best a photograph of the infinite unfolding.
Go and sit where it seems silent, and the silence becomes a profound orchestra. A bird sings, hesitates, and sings again in a swelling of all creation. A creature walks and the crunch of gravel resounds, reverberates, becomes a medium by which the unwitnessed friend becomes united with your soul. Bees and flies buzz by, a gust of wind causes a leaf to scrape the ground, the trees and grasses sing a hymn.
Keep your focus on your breath, and you become an oceanic wave. Keep your focus on the top of your head, and you rise through it. Peer into the darkness of your closed eyes, and strange otherworldly vistas and vast mandalas might appear. In the fullness, whatever you rest your attention on becomes a prototype through which a new version of yourself is born.
In the narrow focus of worldly activity, the fullness – which is you and I and all beings – slumbers. To awaken, however briefly, we must occasionally seek out stillness and silence. It’s our noise that frequently drowns out, to our ears, God’s upwelling and the luminescent majesty of His creation. But it doesn’t have to be that way.