Hard for me to believe that I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation 48 years ago. I continue to cherish Maharishi's gift, and I want to share a few words as to why I still meditate in such a simple way, every morning and evening...
Because over the years many have confused the simple with the shallow, the effortless with the trivial, and quitting this beautiful meditation technique in search of something "deeper," when in fact simplicity is the ground-state of all possibilities, and miracles only arise in the field of the effortless.
Transcendental Meditation is so easy it is hard, so innocent it seems nothing. But the most innocent is the deepest, the deepest is the softest, and the softest teaches the hardest truth, shattering the ego.
As awareness settles into subtler fields of meditation, there are worlds of devotional love to play in. They can distract us for lifetimes, taking us to the realms of devas and gods: soft lights, pulsations of love in the heart, enticing sensations in the chakras, brilliant insights on which the intellect can pride itself.
One might see the luminous countenance of the guru, Jesus, Krishna or the Goddess. At this point, many are attracted by other paths, other spiritual techniques that promise celestial encounters with angels or "ascended masters."
Yet precisely at this stage of meditation one must remember the instruction to leave all sensation, all thought behind, returning to the effortless grace of the mantra, whose nature is self-emptiness.
Become nought. Become silence. Transcend every experience, even the experience of heaven. Become the subject naked of every object, awareness without concept. Be without a being. Here, in the flash of luminous darkness, is the unity beyond I and Thou.
This meditation actually follows the model of Jesus's kinosis, described in one of the earliest passages of the New Testament, the primitive Christian hymn quoted by Paul in Philippians, chapter 2. "Christ emptied himself" to become human. And when he was totally empty, even "unto death," he became God. The rarely used Greek word is kinosis: self-emptying. People who have studied Buddhism will recognize this as anatta - no self. Vedantists will recognize it as neti neti - not this and not that. Christian mystics called it the via negativa - the negative way.
The heart of God is not sentimental. To allow oneself to be breathed into the groundless centerless chaos prior to creation, is not addition but subtraction. Dying with Christ. Shiva's blade, pruning every branch and twig of the Life Tree. One enters this garden in Winter. The Absolute is not a consolation, but a perfection of loss. And loss teaches you everything.
Sublime and hollow grief that blossoms into pure compassion cannot be a matter of pride, for there is no one left to be proud of. Becoming God is supreme humiliation.
Without a glimmer of holiness, the soul is unveiled as God is unveiled, until they are the same nakedness. So the psalmist sings in Psalm 42, "Depth crieth unto depth." Can you taste the color of brilliant silence? Can you hear a thunder in the void?
Devotion dissolves in the abyss beyond love. This place has nothing to do with heaven, or any mythological fantasy of salvation, which is but the wish of a childish mind. In transcendental deep meditation, the soul enters something quite different from a "religious" condition, or a "relationship" with the Lord. For here there is no possibility of an Other. The Lord is nothing more or less than pure Presence.
Which is why, upon tasting this depth even for an instant, many seekers abandon Transcendental Meditation to seek a path more colorful, fanciful and dreamy, with soft images, wooing words, someone in white robes to bow down to. Having touched bottom, they want to return to the surface, where the waves and bubbles are. Only the soul who can stay in the depths without breathing knows the exhalation of eternity: stillness trembling with time's mirage.
In this eternal breath, the soul must fast from joy and sorrow, being and non-being, I and Thou. Her path is neither an ascent nor a descent, but a fall into un-faceted onyx, the darkest jewel. Here she finds true rest in an inward solidity that makes mist of the world. Here the most abstract consciousness becomes more solid than diamond, compared to which the world of forms is a mirage.
And if the soul has the courage to repose here, in the adamant depths of her own silence, she no longer worships a creator, for she herself has become the abysmal fountain of the world.
This is a meditator's secret work: to become at the core un-created, so devoid of name or form that you cannot possibly be anyone else but the One who gives life to all creatures.