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Location: McGaheysville, VA, United States

I am happily married to a wonderful, Godly woman. We both love Jesus and worship God. I compose and perform Christian and instrumental music. I am an ordained minister, and my wife and I are founders and pastors of ALM CyberChurch in Second Life (http://almcyberchurch.org).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tuning In Past the Noise

Sometimes, especially when my work schedule is more busy, I find myself going days without meditating. In the big picture, especially in the eternal picture, this is no big deal. But I also find other things slipping as well. Perhaps that's just due to an abdecation of my responsibility to do what I set out to do regardless of what else is going on.

When I allow this to happen, the first thing I notice is that my mental sight becomes less and less clear. When I've been meditating every day for awhile, my mental images start getting very sharp and clear. When I've been slack, they start getting more dull and harder to see.

This leads us to consciousness. Sometimes I think we mistake our analytical, critical mind for consciousness. That's because our consciousness becomes fused to that area of our minds. We are taught for at least twelve years in school that this is the superior part of the mind. If we don't use it effectively and extensively, we might end up getting low grades or failing.

Then we enter our chosen field of work. I program for a living, writing the code that drives websites. I think that's one reason why, not just when my schedule is full, but especially when I've been working on highly intensive projects, I tend to forget about meditating all together. My consciousness starts to re-fuse with my analytical, critical mind.

This part of the mind is very loud. After all, it blocks things out of our subconscious which it judges to be inconsistent with the facts, while focusing on one concrete thing at a time. It thinks it's superior, and that the more it's in control of every area of our lives, the better off we'll be. It thinks that if it cannot understand something, or at least perceive it, then that something must either be evil or not exist at all. In comes the skeptic and atheist.

When we enter deep states of meditation, we cause our analytical, critical mind to rest. After all, even though it would argue vehemently against this point, the things we witness and experience during meditation are beyond its capabilities. It cannot see them. And when it tries to take them apart and explain them, it comes up empty handed, and we get a watered-down explination why they don't even exist at all.

The bottom line is that it's noisy. Very noisy. So noisy that, when it's in full swing, we simply cannot perceive or understand the things beyond its reach. That's why it's so important for us to learn how to silence the critical mind during meditation and prayer (how often have you heard something from God that you've reasoned away?).

And this can frighten it. It thinks that if it's out of the way, it's going to die, and it warns us that we'll be mindless vegetables if we allow such a horrible thing to happen. But nothing could be further from the truth. What we do during meditation is give our critical mind a rest. It is by no means superior to the rest, and when it tries to do everything as it generally tries to do, there are many things that never get done and are never acknowledged as even existing at all.

When we regularly rest our critical faculties, they will be more effective and clear the next time we call upon them. And during that rest, we can revel in the golden silence, and then begin to see the hidden wonders of life all around us -- the subtle sights, sounds, tastes, smells, feelings, and deep knowings that make life sparkle with a mysterious beauty. It's like the tiny sparkles of light in a snow-covered field. If we cannot see them, the field looks boring and useless. But when we see them, the field turns into a sea of diamonds.

There are sparkles of light all around us, in pretty much everything. There's so much going on around us that our critical mind cannot see, and could never understand.

When my critical mind is at rest, I often pick up the flavor of a total stranger's life even before I see them. I sometimes pick up information about someone or something that I had no critical way of knowing. I see magnificent wonders in things that many people simply pass by without ever noticing. Such as the sky. Or a location that holds a mystery from the distant past. Or the true intentions and longings of a person's heart, while they say something completely different with their body language and their words.

Just taking a walk turns into an incredible adventure filled with unexpected suprises, simply because my mind is quiet enough to experience things beyond myself.

"If I can't see it, perceive it, measure it, and explain it, then it's either not worth my time or it doesn't exist." These are the expressions of a puffed up intellect which is completely self-centered (even though it will rationalize why it is really centered on others, or why self-centeredness is okay). But as we realize these things are very far from the truth and we rest that part of our minds when its job is done and, in that beautiful silence, start to tune into the shimmering unseen realm of life, then we can forget about ourselves, even if for just a moment; and, seeing beyond ourselves, we will start to know that we simply don't know, and life will become a great adventure that is so much bigger than we could have ever imagined, and we will become an explorer, alive with the wonder of each new day, fully present within the present moment -- eternity.

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