Another way of looking at calming meditation

Well, you can probably figure what this picture means. We start off with a choppy mind, there's a lot to get through (the 5 hindrances is the kind of standard way of looking at it). There are many analogies for getting through this busy mind: climbing through the forest layer on a mountain, breaking the surf zone on a beach, a bird trying to take off, and so on. We probably spend most of our efforts in meditation trying to get through this phase - this is what I would call "settling down" (see this post I did on the Jhanas).

Then the mind gradually gets a bit calm, maybe drifting into thoughts but there's a kind of separation going on - we are calming down, the activity in the mind is harmonizing. Pleasure, sizzling thrills, contentment, happiness may or may not arise. This continues until we reach a kind of gathered, stopping point. Here we find the beginnings of deep refreshment and things will move on from here quite naturally if we manage to stay out of the way - not so easy as we might think.

Anyway, the thing I want to point to is this gathered stillness. I will probably repeatedly point to this in different ways as I attempt to explain what I want to explain - which is that there are many transformative pleasures to be found from this accessing this place again and again.


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