Meditation teachers often repeat Ajahn Chah's guidance: “No one to be, nothing to do, nowhere to go,” reminding us that during meditation, we have the opportunity to assume the spacious awakened perspective of witnessing awareness, by simply letting go of the role of a separate "doer."
Our conditioned mind constantly wants to be someone, do something & go somewhere. Completely identifying with the content of our conditioned mind (from "noisy ego" to narcissism) is very common & problematic. Just for the time we set aside to meditate, we can gently accept our conditioned mind's chatter, allowing thoughts to settle down (like mud settles in a jar of water), until the clarity & freedom of our mature, peaceful, joyful true nature spontaneously emerges.
"The only thing that makes us suffer, is resisting what is." Helen Hamilton
"Everything yearns to resolve itself in love – that love being the open space of acceptance, of allowing, of staying resolutely present, & unconditionally open to every nuance of your inner experience. In that way, awakeness can filter into every aspect of your life." Amoda Maa. "Surfing the Heart of Darkness: Suffering as a Doorway to Liberation." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXlUsBYbv0w
“We are one, but we will only feel that when we love everything.” Ram Dass
"To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things." Zen Master Dogen
“The only real purpose of being here on this earth is to learn or to re-remember our original nature state of no limitations.” Lester Levenson
“The only service you can do for anyone (including yourself) is to remind them of their true nature.” Stephen Levine
“… there is one, indivisible, unborn, ultimate reality beyond time & space, name & form. The discovery of this reality as our own true nature is the real opportunity, possibility and purpose of human existence. … suffering & delusion (is) caused by ignorance of the real Self.” Mooji
Helen Hamilton skillfully incorporates the above in her meditation instruction:
“The separate sense of self is really obstructing our peace. It’s not an entity. It’s a movement, a habit, an energy, a vibration. And when we look at what it is really, it’s trying to change this moment in some way, isn’t it? And it will say, ‘I’m not how I’m supposed to be. You’re not how you’re supposed to be. This moment isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This meditation isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This contemplation isn’t going the way it’s supposed to be.’ It’s not always so overt, but it’s kind of this one-track, very single-minded pushing against what is. And if you’re sitting in meditation, getting nice & deep, and this thought comes up, ‘I should be doing something different.’ What we really experience is the meditation & the thought, and that is all there is. There isn’t a separate being thinking. There isn’t a separate being meditating. If you can just let that thought happen in its fullness. Just let it happen, not being at war with your mind for just a second, not saying it should or shouldn’t be this way – which is also mind.
What happens when you just let that thought happen? Even if your attention goes with it for a certain amount of time, it comes back eventually. And the more you fully go with that thought, let it exist. Whatever wants to exist in this moment can. I’m not going to try & police that at all, most of all my own thought process. What happens when you do that? Because the essence of this ‘should & shouldn’t’ is a trying to control, isn’t it? Trying to keep this moment in a way that’s going to make me feel better, or keep me safe, or something like that.
And if I don’t have any thoughts, and don’t allow my thoughts, mind says then I’m more awakened; and if I have lots of thoughts, I’m less awakened. What if that’s not true? What if it’s what I’m doing with those thoughts, or perhaps more importantly not doing, when they come up? The essence of awakening is really just being with what is, and not really being able to, or wanting to do anything other than that.
So you’re sitting in meditation or just having a happy moment with your family, some real resistance comes up. What do you do with that? If it’s, ‘OK now, there’s resistance,’ - that’s a very awakened way of being with it. If instead we go, ‘Why is this here? What do I need to do to get rid of it? I thought I got beyond this. Why is it happening again?’ These are all very subtle ways of trying to push against that resistance and going to separation in relationship with it. And then by doing it, we’re trying to change ourselves, change this moment, change reality – all those are the same.
Myself, this moment, reality – they’re all names for you. Have a meditation session where ‘I’m just going to let it happen.’ Even if ‘this shouldn’t happen, I’m going to let that happen too.’ Love sees these thoughts as its creations, arising out of it like steam off of hot water. And the water isn’t trying to control how the steam is going, is it? It’s just arising, whichever way it wants to arise.
We can be like that with all phenomena, just this is what is in this moment. Some of them you might like better than others - some thoughts, some emotions. Of course we like bliss better than physical pain, or we like joy better than sadness. We like a self-loving thought better than a self-critical thought. But we still have the ability none-the-less to be with that. You can actually feel a deep sense of peace, contentment, & eventually bliss, if you just let your mind be how it is right now. If it’s running rampant, just stop trying to control it completely. Abandon all attempts to change it, and you’ll feel extraordinarily peaceful, even before it stops talking. You won’t even need it to stop talking. You’ll begin to feel bliss and some deep, deep sense of joy. This isn’t my work to manage my own personal universe.”
Helen Hamilton. “I am alone but not lonely.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zCrl6a5HEA