Meditation is Opening to Life

I recently led one of the most powerful weekend retreats here at The Awakened Life Project. It was a very sincere group of participants many of whom were completely new to meditation. I was struck, as I often am, by how the people who are complete beginners are impacted more deeply by the retreat than those who have already been doing some kind of meditation practice for some time. They are wide open and have no ideas or expectations based on past experience so they are able to let go in a way in which experienced meditators often find threatening. Why? Because they have nothing to lose! There is innocence. No spiritual self-image or attachment to past "spiritual experiences".

I spoke a lot on this retreat about spiritual materialism and how spiritual experiences can liberate or entrap us depending on our core motivation. If we want to live an authentic Awakened Life we must be willing to die now to the past so that we can be transformed by truth. The radical simplicity of Awakened Life Meditation, which in essence is about being present to whatever is happening right now free from preference, resistance and manipulation, releases us from the troubled mortal dream of separation and self-created psychological suffering.

If we are sincere in our aspiration to die to all that is false then doing a meditation retreat is like an operation in which we submit to having the death-cells removed from our being by the light of awareness. This operation is only successful to the degree that we are willing to let everything go and to open to Life. If our motivation is to get some "spiritual experience" for ourselves or to experience relief from suffering without true renunciation of the causes of that suffering, then we will remain a follower or a believer and never be the master of our self and our life. 

If the force of our personal fears and desires is stronger that our aspiration for freedom we inevitably sink back from our most enlightening perceptions and understanding into a life that is happy today, unhappy tomorrow; and that is living death. If we do this after having tasted deep spiritual freedom then we are in a worst state than before because we are in denial of the demand to transform. Only when we turn around once and for all and face that demand from our own True Self will the organic process of Awakening proceed fundmentally unhindered.

This demands an energetic state of surrender to life now, without holding back anything for ourselves. It demands true courage. It is the offering up at any moment by the individual of all that is false in him or her, in the self-knowledge that only what is false can die. What is true, simple, beautiful and fundamentally good and pure remains.

There were some very good questions during this retreat. Some of the topics I spoke about included: The biggest trap in meditation practice, the release of existential tension, the dangers of spiritual materialism and how to live the truth of non-duality in the world of duality.


Listen to the audio here  with an excellent Portuguese translation by Ricardo Gonçalves.

For upcoming Meditation retreats with Peter click here.