As we grow in our meditation practice, I find we learn a few pivotal things. One is that we stop searching for the perfect cure or miracle or teacher and accept that we have to change ourselves in order to be happy. We’ve read enough books, listened to enough podcasts, attended enough workshops, and now we have to face ourselves and actually do the work. After we realize that, when we meditate we focus our attention inside ourself, because we know easy answers are not out there. We can’t just give up control to something or someone else. But this realization has a deeper layer that we eventually get. Initially we turn inward and exert our control over ourself while we meditate by controlling our breathing, insisting we don’t move at all, maybe even forcing our mind to avoid thinking things. This is kind of a strain. After 30, 40, 60 minutes we’re exhausted, sweating, but feel great because we’ve overcome a challenge. Our mind feels clearer too, so we ‘know’ we’re doing the right thing. That’s great but the deeper layer is that having control but refraining from exerting it feels even more amazing. When we allow ourself to be, but remain vigilant and capable of enforcing restraint, we stop the effort part of effort and conserve energy. Imagine you are a young adult in your first car. It feels so great to drive and be able to go anywhere and the roadside passing by as you speed down the road is quite a thrill. I think it has to do with sensing many things changing per second. Would a slow roller coaster be as exciting? Well, in meditation, when you sit vigilant but allowing, the multitude of details in each moment become more apparent. The same powerful thrill (without the adrenaline) of perceiving with great lucidity yet remaining steady transforms a moment from boring to bliss.

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