I am writing a book–or trying to, the basic premise of which is that everyone needs, and should have, an Owner’s Manual that they can 1. Refer to daily when questions arise about how to behave, and 2. To give to loved ones to help explain, (ahem) their inexplicable behavior. (‘Here honey, read the chapter about Doors and Locks.”
I am using the Owner’s Manual of my car as the model. Today I was working on Chapter 4 which is called “Instruments and Controls.” This involves the Fuel Gauge, Temperature Gauge, Speedometer, Warning Lights, Defogger, Horn and Mirrors.
The thing about your instrument panel is that you always have to keep an eye on it, but you can’t sit and stare at it while you’re driving, or you’ll crash.
But there is one time in your day when you should sit and just watch your panel, and that is during meditation. Meditation is the time you set aside when you take your eye OFF the road, OFF what’s going on out the windshield, and turn all of your attention to your Instrument Panel and Controls.
People tell me that when they first try to meditate either one of two things happens: They either fall asleep due to boredom, or else their minds go a mile a minute and they can’t get any peace whatsoever. In both cases the problem is fog.
When fog forms on your windshield it’s because there’s a discrepancy between the temp inside the vehicle and the temp outside. You have to decide if the temp inside needs to be raised or lowered. You can never control the outside temp, but you can always raise or lower the temperature inside.
During meditation, when it is very hard to SEE, you have to determine if you need to ramp up your attention (stop sleeping) or lower your attention (stop thinking). Only by experimenting and tweaking will you be able to get the windshield to clear.
Another defogging device is the manipulation of the headlamps. When driving through dense external fog, you need to focus the beams of your attention very narrowly on just the immediate few feet in front of your tires. Using regular or high beams in a fog will just illuminate the fog, rather than disperse it. The definition of self-knowledge is to know when and how to use the fog lamps on your vehicle.
When you sit down to meditate, here’s what to do:
1. Turn your attention away from what’s going on out the windshield.
2. Look at your Instrument Panel.
3. Check your Fuel gauge, your temperature gauge, your speedometer, odometer and your Defogger.
4.Determine if you need to “cool down” or “turn up the heat.”
5. If the outside fog is dense, turn the fog lamps on and just concentrate on the piece of pavement right under your tires. You can’t see very far, but you can make the whole trip that way.
6, If it’s a matter of internal fog, adjust your activity level so that the internal temp is neither higher nor lower than the outside temperature.
Balance is the key to happiness.