Moment of Realization
Once I found myself interested in attending an informal sangha, a meditation event in uptown Manhattan. The woman who was speaking was supposedly Enlightened and she was going to be discussing natural meditation, which I was first exposed to by Adyashanti. Natural meditation is my favorite as the simple instruction is to drop all techniques and “allow everything to be as it is”—even the noise of the mind. Once you let the noise of the mind exist, it slowly but surely dissipates.
I arrived at the apartment complex in a vaguely swish neighborhood earlier than I expected. So I thought to do a little pregame meditating. I sat across the street, against a wall and followed what I’d learned: allow everything to be as it is. In a few moments, I was clear and blissful. Perfect. It was quite a nice sit. Time disappeared. All was utterly One. Rock and Roll.
Some time later, I was struck to check my cellphone. Time to go in. I went into the building, up an elevator and to a door that had some kind of mystical symbol or deity stickered on it—I can’t remember which. I was greeted by a very nice older women in one of those Indian wrap-around dress things. At the door I was asked to donate $15. This moment was kind of sticky for some reason. I paid and wandered inside.
The whole apartment was littered with religious stuffs. My first thought: “dreamland spirituality.” The kind of spirituality that remains before most everything crumbles. Generally these symbols, systems, and stories are the last to go, before “maya” (or the virtual realities of mind (my preferred nomenclature)) are understood beyond an intellectual level.
There was just over a dozen people in the little apartment. We sat. Our Enlightened guest was nice enough. She explained natural meditation, to allow everything to be as it is, and silence. We then began to meditate. The room clanged a bit from the radiator and the fridge and the toilet. Some time past.
Then the insight landed. I couldn’t stop grinning. Our Enlightened guide obviously noticed me and said, “What ever you feel, feel it. If you feel sad, feel sad. If you have a cramp, fix yourself. If you’re smiling, smile.” I was about 20 at the time, probably the youngest one there and my grin must’ve had that gleeful buoyancy to it. When we finished meditating, my grin remained. The group trotted around chatting about what “type” or “school” of spirituality they preferred, or which had the most truthiness to it—which virtual reality was least virtual or most useful.
Suddenly someone started to talk to me. About my age, my interests—how good it was to see young people involved. And finally, why the grin? The grin was for two reasons: 1) I often grin when I meditate because that’s simply the effect the felt presence of experience has on me. 2) The silence outside was cheaper than the silence indoors.