The Journey

What is the most universal meditation instruction, for both the "beginner" and the "advanced"? Let the mind rest in the heart.

I've found this instruction in the ancient yogic text, Vijnana Bhairava, repeated verbatim in the early Orthodox Christian prayer manual, The Philocalia, and in a thrush song from the cedar grove just beyond my back yard.

When the mind descends into the heart, the world wrapped tightly around you opens like a bud and grows soft. The golden light of one sun glows through a thousand petals, and the fragrance of God arises.

From your brow to your chest, the journey is only a few inches, a pilgrimage of one breath. Yet it is the supreme adventure. There is no greater quest than to stay right where you are, yet travel from the beginning to the end of time.

Descend into the heart by means of an exhalation: be annihilated in the silence that was here before God said, let there be light. Breathe in: let the radiance of a new creation emerge.

No one who has made this pilgrimage has ever returned. They entered the heart and died like caterpillars. Then they inhaled and rainbows unfolded from their eyes. They shook tears from their crystal wings and arose like flaming serpents.

Inside, they felt the unfathomable silence of perfect night. Outside, their roaring shook the stars.

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