logo rocks

Nondual Meditation: Marvelously Useless

The word meditation is used to mean many very different things. Because of that, I always hesitate to use the word at all. But as I mean it, meditation is nondual, meaning no meditator at the center of it, no observer, no one standing apart from what is. In this kind of meditation, there is no technique, no method, no goal, no intended result, no purpose, no prescribed form. It is marvelously useless, and can happen in any location, in any posture, formally or informally.

In my sense of it, meditation simply means being present here and now. It isn’t about getting into any particular state, getting rid of anything, or having some kind of transformative insight or experience. It accepts everything and clings to nothing. It is the natural activity of awareness.

Meditation might be described as a movement of curiosity and wonder, like a baby exploring the world, or a lover exploring the beloved, a movement in which lover and beloved are not one, not two. Meditation might be described as devotion—not to a guru or a god—but devotion to what is, a kind of unconditional love that allows everything to be just as it is. It might be described as enjoyment of what is, enjoyment of being.

It’s true that it may apparently bring many useful rewards (e.g., clarity about how the mind operates and how suffering happens; calming of the nervous system; direct discovery of the fluid, interdependent, ungraspable and indivisible nature of reality; direct recognition of the boundless Here-Now that is immovable and ever-present; increased ability to be present with unpleasant experiences; and so on), but these are not goals. There is no such thing as “good meditation” and “bad meditation.”

Meditation is open, free, unconstrained. It is nonconceptual, based in sensing and awaring, in simple being, not in thinking and analyzing. Of course, thought  may (and almost certainly will) arise, but it is not the primary mode. Meditation invites a dropping away of the grasping-seeking mind and the habitual tendency to dwell in the conceptual map-world, inviting instead a falling open to the nonconceptual actuality of this moment.

Meditation is ultimately not knowing what meditation is. It is fresh and new in every moment.

-- copyright Joan Tollifson 2021 --

You are welcome to link to this article or to quote brief passages as fair use, but if you wish to re-post the whole article or a long excerpt anywhere else, please ask permission first, give appropriate copyright credit to Joan, and be sure to include a link to this website with your posting. Thank you!

back to “outpourings“ menu