Bespoke Meditation: The Alive Center of Being
A Meditation on Pure Beingness
“Thirty spokes has a wheel…” reads Lao Tzu*: the usefulness is the center, which still, silent, just as the usefulness of a pot is the empty space inside.
The spokes are the sensations, perceptions and thoughts, which we take to be us, to be a “me”—the bodymind and world—we assume those to be solid … but if we look at actual raw experience in the now …
Try it: close your eyes, and look at the raw sensations. Move the attention to an area of what we call “the body”, and you will see …
… they are not still or solid at all (only the concepts provide an illusion so). Indeed they are all constantly changing, morphing into something else, like a fluid …
And this all is happening in the only non-time time there is, which is not a sliver but eternity—not a slice between past and future—after all past and future are a mind thing, not actually findable in experience, except as memories or imagination …
And so if we rest there, we find… a bliss at the center, a sheath of bliss, a joy, a love …
But is that all? Even a dissolving into bliss is still a sensation of a feeling, something phenomenal… and beyond or underneath or behind that is All, is the quiet still emptiness of unity, the spoke, the One is All, the solid axis of reality, the unchanging I, that is you and no division, no two … and everything else, passing and changing.
You are what you Are, regardless of changing circumstances.
All is just happening, the spokes, the spinning of the world, the mind, the body-brain, doing what it does …
*Chapter 11 The Tao Te Ching
Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.
We benefit from a bodybrain, mind, and world …
Just as we can use a clay vessel to store water or olive oil. But without the space inside the vessel, nothing could fill it. It would be useless.
We can use a wheel with spokes on our cart, to move, change position, fly down the road in the breeze and sunshine. The center hole of a wheel allows one to have an axis, an axle. Just like in the center of a storm, the exact center stays still, thus allowing there to be an axle. If it didn’t stay centered, and moved, it would start to wobble and be useless.
The invisible, silent, core center in us, that comprises our real reality, in the sense of holding it together, providing the continuity, the true “I”, is what provides usefulness.
The Spoke of Experience
Of what practicality would a constant storm or a whirl be, without any organizing principle, without a thread of reality holding them together? More than a story line, for who is there to enjoy the stories? And more than a flash of a new painting, for even if it were a mosaic of impressions all at once, the canvas of Awareness plays them out; and in the next seeming moment there is a new painting, a new mosaic … yet some kind of “I” enjoys the show – an invisible “I”, as a pattern plays out on a screen, and I am the invisible projector and the film strip and the light, all at once.
The fact that I exist and am aware, ties it all together; nothing exists except and because of I. There would be, can be, no experiences knowable without I, the axis and empty vessel of experience.
It Has Been Spoken
And yet in quiet meditation, when we really go inside to the quiet, the silent vastness we are, the Allness, the totality, the ultimate simplicity… beyond the spoken, to the source of the spokes … that is truly useful…
That is where the light, the infinite axis speaks silently.
I know it’s tricky to use “I” when the Western reader reads it – it can be confused with “ego”, the personal sense of “I” – but I am using it in the sense that the Direct path teacher Atmananda Krishna Menon points to, as a universal “I”.
Please refer to, or read Atma Nivriti or Atma Darshan (very very slowly!!) to get a sense of that …