While there are all sorts of meditation techniques out there, the Ecstatic Buddhist understands that one is not really “meditating” until the “signs of absorption” have been engaged, such that one is able to drop all techniques and rest in bliss, joy and ecstasy.
My contemplative brother, Jeffrey Brooks, puts it this way:
One of the other things people do not seem to get is the technique is just meant to get one to the calm and still mind of the second jhana. Once one is there, then one must learn how to sustain that calm and still mind without the technique. Once one learns how to just maintain the calm and still mind without the technique, then one just dives ever deeper into the Samadhi states. This is of course without the technique.
So, friends, I do not promote meditation techniques of any kind, because I know techniques are just for beginners. There is no, “powerful technique.” Those who sell “powerful techniques” never seem to know what Samadhi is or what it is about. So, forget the techniques. Just meditate to the calm and still mind without the technique, and sustain that, then dive ever deeper into the Samadhi.
The “Factors of Absorption” gradually consume our being, such that we “become meditated” throughout every moment of every day and night.
The Ecstatic Buddhist meditates upwards of three hours each day, as though all of life is a meditation retreat. We meditate into the night hours, in fact, as lucidity provides opportunity to experience the non-material planes. The idea is to become completely saturated in absorption. It may take a year, two years, three years or more… but the persistent immersion in meditative absorption transforms the contemplative from a “normal” state of neurosis to one of tranquility and equanimity.
At a certain point, the Ecstatic Buddhist looks back on his or her practice, and there is the direct realization that practice has merged with life. It has become automatic, like breathing. The “jhana nimittas” that once led us into ever-deepening states of absorption have become the prime filter through which we perceive this existence.
When we accept that our life has irretrievably transformed in line with long-term saturation in meditative absorption, we see clearly that we must re-learn how to get along in the world. It is almost like learning how to walk again, how to talk again, how to keep ourselves clean and odor-free. Habitual expressions (for instance) of fear, anger and judgment are called into constant question, and we are challenged to let go of these painful behaviors in exchange for something more calm and restful.
Again, learning how to engage the world from the perspective of Samadhi-saturation is not something that happens overnight.
In fact, it may take the rest of one’s life to burn off the accumulated karma that brought us to begin our practice in the first place. We no longer need those defensive survival strategies, but they are not so easy to release.
The good new is, saturation in meditative absorption makes it an automatic release process — we literally have no choice but to engage a program of behavioral change designed to best support the psychological, emotional and physical transformation initiated by saturation in Samadhi.
As we are all different beings with different backgrounds, different genetic combinations, different beliefs and different personalities, there is no set path to follow here. All we need to know is, the bliss, joy and ecstasy of meditative absorption offer perfect guidance in every circumstance. It may look ugly in the moment — or it may look sublime — but in the long run, this “inner guru” never lets us down, never abandons us, never abuses us.
We just need to stick with our practice each day, allow the years to roll by, wake up to the fact of our irrevocable transformation, learn how to live with it… then, when it is time, share with others from this place.
That is the beginning and end of it.