Dear Donagh,

…. You write a lot about meditation.  I've been doing it most days now for just over a year and I honestly can't see any improvement.  I thought I'd have put my mark on it by now, that I'd have discovered my own brand if you know what I mean.  But I'm still just plodding along.  To be honest I don’t think I'm getting anything out of it.  I know you're just going to tell me to keep on going no matter what.  But are there any returns on it, ever…?  Aileen

Dear Aileen,

Just keep on going, no matter what!  I can't give you any better advice than that.  I know it sounds grim.  Do you remember that stark line in Beckett, “You must go on.  I can't go on.  I'll go on.”  The more impatient you are to arrive somewhere, the longer the road.  The more you try to get something from meditation, the less you get.  The thing is to lose interest in all that calculation, and just give yourself to it.  The point is the giving, not the getting.

Everyone has a different way of finding it difficult.  For people used to considering everything at arm’s length, meditation is incredibly close – so close that it is not about you.  Real experience is not autobiographical.  In real experience you lose yourself.  Remember a moment when you were lost in music, or in friendship, or in nature….  While you were lost you were an insider; but the moment you began to remember it, or think about it, you were once again an outsider.  Which moment was deeper?  Surely the moment when you were inside the experience. 

In your true nature—your Christ-nature—you are inside everything.  ‘Through him all things were made.’  Through him, who is your deepest self, you are one with all things and with their source.  If you glimpse this for even one moment, you are blessed beyond words.   For one moment you were free of the dead hand of the ego.  And for one moment you knew that there is nowhere to go and nothing to look for. 

In the Our Father there is no ‘I’.  Your ‘I’, your ego, is forever calling you back.  It is your default setting.  From there, inside your window, you can observe the world while not being vulnerable to it, but expecting to make a profit from it.  “The mind loves to lie concealed,” wrote St Augustine, “yet it wishes that nothing should be concealed from it.”  Your ego, behind its window, is focused on everything ‘out there’, and so your true nature will seem to it self-centred at first.  Don’t be swayed by words.  In your true nature you are one with everything, but in your ego you are all alone.  If you get a glimpse of this, you have glimpsed your deeper identity.  Don’t betray it.  Good luck, Aileen.  Don’t give up!


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