My friends, I often refer to meditation and mindfulness as the keys to the Kingdom. I do this without promoting a specific meditation method or giving examples of how one might be mindful. I do this without describing the Kingdom or attempting to form an image of the Beloved in your mind. And that is because even the keys of meditation and mindfulness are methods, and methods only.
Methods are the forms of action, and all forms are transient and false. We must seek meaning.
And the general meaning of meditation and mindfulness are, for both, the silence and the stillness. There is a vast inner space in you that is perhaps filled with agitated weather of memory and planning. The past haunts some, the future haunts others. When this storm is quieted and the temple emptied of all attachments and striving, your inner altar and garden will be able to flourish and grow.
Meditation is, for most, the best method by which the silence and the stillness can be realized. Mindfulness is, for most, the best method by which meditation can be united with another activity – any activity, whatever has arisen in your life to do. But they are not the only ways. Creativity – the act of creating something new – is another key. Prayer, solitude, nature, religious reading, fasting, and altruistic caring for other people are other keys. There are many.
Some call it silencing the monkey of the mind. Others call it single-pointedness. But, whatever we call it, there is a mental state wherein all things become radiant and the veil between this world and eternity is torn. That state is not enlightenment – I could not say what enlightenment is, but perhaps it’s a stable continuity of that state – but in that state our inner gardens flourish into vast, beautiful forests.
Meditation and mindfulness are the keys to the Kingdom. The silence and the stillness are the door.