When examining the nature of our existence from the point of view of a meditation practice, it is important to notice that we are stuck in what seems to be the mother of all paradoxes: we exist, while at the same time we do not exist, and both of these viewpoints are absolutely true. This fits perfectly well with the idea of the new Aquarian paradigm. In the old order, we could confidently say “either we exist, or we do not exist,” but as we move into our new way of thinking, we can begin to contemplate the idea that “we exist and we do not exist,” confident in the idea that a greater truth will be revealed through this understanding. In physics, experiments in quantum mechanics have been working on it for the better part of a century. In Buddhist meditation, the path to understanding has been followed for more than two millennia.
When undertaking meditation, the first idea to get comfortable with is that everything is consciousness. Everything that exists now, everything that has ever existed in the past, and everything that could possibly exist in the future, is integrated into an infinite, universal field of energy that we call consciousness. All possible phenomena are contained within consciousness: solid matter, liquids, gases, energies like electricity or gravity, thoughts, memories, emotions. All these are permutations of consciousness, composed of the same fundamental energy, part of the same infinite existence. Likewise there is no separation between these phenomena, all things arise out of the field of consciousness and are absorbed back into the infinite, like waves emerging from an endless ocean. We are all existing as a unity in consciousness, there is no separation between us, no separation between anything. You are literally infinite, and so is everyone and everything else!
Nevertheless, we, as human beings, rarely experience this directly. Our true nature is infinite consciousness, but we still find ourselves stuck inside fleshy suits with a very limited set of perceptions available to give us information about anything that exists outside those suits. This state of limited consciousness is what we tend to think of as being “normal.” We are each separate entities from each other. Reality is categorized into an endless set of seemingly independent phenomena, bound by restrictions of time and space. Without really understanding the nature of the choice, we have fully bought into the concept of limited consciousness, cutting ourselves off from the possibility of experiencing our true existence as the infinite. The very idea of infinity is so alien, so inconceivable, that it seems to be non-existent, like a great void, an endless emptiness. The very thought of this emptiness can be terrifying in its strangeness, causing us to turn away, afraid to enter the void and know its essence. So we remain in our limited state, never realizing how much more we can be.
One of the greatest blessings of being human is that, although we are born into separateness and accept our limited consciousness as reality, each person contains a seed of knowledge within, an unformed awareness that what we experience is not the whole truth. This seed manifests as an underlying dissatisfaction with the reality as presented by limited consciousness and a subtle desire to rediscover the infinite. Through the process of meditation, we realize that although we previously thought we were complete entities, existing in a cosmos filled with other complete entities, in fact what we thought of as being our essential self was actually a composite of several discrete elements. We have our bodies, our perceptions, our thoughts and emotions, and we have self-awareness. The interaction of these elements causes the separate entity to emerge, but what happens when we take these elements away?
Meditation is the deliberate disassociation of these our identity from these discrete elements, stripping them away to find the essential nature that underlies these temporary phenomena. Once the process is complete, only emptiness remains, and only then does the infinite consciousness reveal itself. Hence the paradox! We exist as separate, limited beings, but only by deconstructing ourselves into nonexistence can we understand who we truly are. This is the journey of meditation.