Picture the entire 24-hour day, the entirety of your life, as the essential.
Or visualize an ocean and its waves. The crests of the waves, our highest meditative moments, are created by the movement of the ocean, the entire day. Our efforts don't make the meditation, the meditation doesn't make the day. There is a unity to everything, not cause and effect, but harmonious ebb and flow.
Everything helps us advance spiritually, including bad events. We may be taking a walk or engaging in conversation, but our eyes are open and we can still feel around us that peace, that one presence, that fills everything and generates everything.
I've recently made a change, for at least a while and maybe for a long time. A sabbatical, you might say. The practical things — the to-do list — are on the back burner and the spiritual is on the front burner.
Because we can't pray all day long, we often fill up our day with busyness. This is how my ego protects itself from the threat of the unknown. When we're fully open to the truth that we're not alone, that we're at one, then we more naturally climb upon the summits and compassionately love the self-sacrifice of our life in the valleys.
In Ashland, we live at 2,000 feet elevation surrounded by mountains. When we ascend to the peak of a mountain, we simply climb one bigger hill among the many hills we usually travel. The 24 hours of our day are like the mountains, and our meditations are like the higher places.
We often say that meditation affects our day by spreading throughout our day. We learn how to meditate and concentrate so it will seem that meditation is the single important time, like a rock dropped in the water that makes everything ripple outward.
Spiritual breakthroughs are not really volitional, though they may seem to be, and though we make every effort we can to have them. We can't push anything. We can't willfully push meditation. Even God doesn't force things on us.
Having worked for decades at meditating more than once a day — at the beginning of the day, after watching the news and whenever a problem presents itself — it seems that my contemplative periods are simply part of a warm and gorgeous fabric.
All things are for fullness of joy. This world is part of a spiritual universe. It exists so the super-abundance of divine life can unfold in greater love.
So loose the horse from the cart, clear the space in your day for the steed to run freely. Let the miraculous pour out of its own accord, in utter, holy, fecund beauty.
"Really Being With You" is the title of Moshe Ross's book and KSKQ radio program on 89.5 FM at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays.