An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “The Now of Loving,” THE SELFLESS SELF (London: Darton, Longman, Todd, 1993), pp. 36-37.
As long as you think you can do just enough meditation to get by or enough to achieve something, you have not really begun to meditate. When you realize that you have started a journey that will last until the end of your life, you have begun to learn.
That moment of recognition and assent we call commitment. It is well described as a moment of grace and understanding, because in it we experience our deepest meaning and realize the importance of prayer to being fully alive. We meditate, not so much to know why we are alive, as to live differently, to live more fully. [. . . .]
Meditation itself is a learning experience, literally a “discipline.” Only discipline will teach us truth, and only practice will bring us to awakening. The discipline of meditation is a school. It is a school of love, and [our growth in that school] is growth in the true discipleship of love. It teaches us what we need to know, to see with the heart, to live from the center, to embrace with every fiber of our being. It teaches us what we have to know in order to fulfill the essential destiny that each human being has, to be oneself for eternity. Human destiny is for eternal living. . .Most of us begin to meditate at the point where we have partially settled for finite life. Yet we have also begun to realize that this was a mistake.
It is easy to settle for finite life because it is a life lived within protective barriers. It seems safe and secure. . .[But] the most challenging option of all is to live eternally, to respond to the ultimate truth about existence, identity and death. It exceeds the power of imagination to realize that we are made for eternity, which means not only life in the world to come, but life lived fully now. And being fully alive demands everything we are at every moment. Not surprisingly, we scale down the wonder of this and construct those protective barriers. . .Yet life is stronger than our fears. . . .Living eternally means living wholly in the present moment. Eternity is the perpetual now, and as we learn to live eternally in the present, we learn the truth about love.
Meditate for Thirty Minutes. Remember: Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer phrase "Maranatha." Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently, but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything spiritual or otherwise. Thoughts and images will likely come, but let them pass. Just keep returning your attention – with humility and simplicity to saying your word in faith, from the beginning to the end of your meditation.
After Meditation, from Eckhart Tolle: A NEW EARTH: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (New York: Plume[Penguin], 2005) p. 141.
We can learn to break the habit of accumulating and perpetuating old emotion by flapping our wings, metaphorically speaking, and refrain from mentally dwelling on the past, regardless of whether something happened yesterday or thirty years ago, We can learn not to keep situations or events alive in our minds, but to return our attention continuously to the pristine, timeless present moment rather than be caught up in mental movie-making. Our very Presence then becomes our identity, rather than our thought and emotions.
Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now, and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?