Awakening on the Buddhist path should be really simple. Us over thinkers need to beware.
The Buddha said that we’re already enlightened, we just don’t realize it. Or, the potential for awakening lies always within us, we just need to recognize it.
The problem is that most of us are really good at making our experiences more complicated. It’s partly a problem of ego. Your ego likes to stay busy with anything and everything and will go out of its way to find supposed problems and issues to worry about and supposedly deal with. The vast majority of these alleged issues bear very little relationship to reality. They are more the product of an ego that wants you to believe it is necessary when it is really a nuisance at best.
Meditation works because you are just siting still, letting your mind spin, until it spins itself out, and you start to see how unnecessary the vast majority of your thoughts are.
Meditation itself, then, should be very simple. Just sit still in a quiet place (at first, anyway — once you develop a strong practice, you can meditate anywhere) and follow your breath. Don’t worry that your mind wanders. Just refocus on the breath. Over and over and over. And over, about fifty billion times. We call it a practice because it is. You’ll get better with practice.
Then, one day, you will cackle with glee as you see the simplicity of reality and wonder why you ever had to put yourself through all of that.
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