Meditation has interested me since my early twenties. I went to all sorts of workshops, lectures and spent a small fortune buying books on the subject. After all this, it still took years and years to finally develop something like a regular practice. Along the way, I dabbled with many forms and philosophies of meditation. But...there is one style that continuously draws me back, the simple form of sitting. It is called many names in a variety of traditions, centering, contemplation, dhyana, theoria, the list goes on depending who refers to it.
I prefer calling it Ponding.
What is it exactly? It is so simple in its form that it becomes complicated for many because of that very fact. It is really the act of sitting and observing. I sit with an upright back free of rigidity yet without something external supporting my spine. Then, I just remain there for a set amount of time with eyes open and soft without any particular focus or vision in my mind. The goal is to remain there without doing, observing what comes and goes without judgement or attachment. Wild thoughts may come, things to do appear suddenly, disturbances in the mind's eye dance within the head, sweet thoughts of good things slip before me, still I just sit and see what happens allowing all these fancies to come and go.
Why is it called Ponding?
It is like watching a shallow clear pond like one might find in the mountains. Ripples appear from the wind, occasional stirrings of some unseen creature disturb some pocket of dirt, reflections of sky and sun appear on its surface. These are all interesting, can be annoying and/or beautiful, but there comes a moment when it all passes and one can see the whole clear body of water penetrating all the way to its bottom, for a moment seeing all its radiance in just being what it is. Then, winds arises, dust reappears and reflections dance again upon the surface. One must sit again, waiting for another moment of clarity with each such experience being ever so different for no formula or expected outcome exists in this method.
For me, this is the way of meditation and of life. Watching and waiting, seeing the moments of clarity and then losing sight only to have all this repeat itself. But, this sitting like this gazing into the pond of one's own life helps one to see things in their true form even if only for a moment. These are the moments of absolute clarity and worth the wait.
Enjoy your pond today and just sit along its shore for a time.