Transcendental Meditation is so easy it is hard, so innocent it seems nothing. The most innocent is the most profound. The deepest is the softest. The gentlest teaches the hardest truth, shattering the intellectual ego.
As awareness settles into subtler fields of meditation, there are worlds of devotional love to play in. These lokas, celestial realms of the devas, can distract us for lifetimes with their soft lights, pulsations of ecstasy, enticing sensations in the chakras, or brilliant insights for the mind to expound into thousands of pages of philosophy.
In these subtle states of meditation, one might see the luminous countenance of the Guru, Jesus, Vishnu or the Goddess. At this point, many are attracted by paths of bhakti and tantra, "spiritual" techniques that promise heavenly encounters with angels or "ascended masters."
Yet precisely at this stage of meditation one must remember the instruction to leave behind every sensation and every thought, returning to the effortless grace of the mantra, whose nature is to dissolve in the silence between out-breath and in-breath.
Become nought. Become stillness. Transcend every experience of form, even the form of heaven. Be subject naked of object, awareness without a concept. Here, in the flash of luminous darkness, is a union that is both I and Thou.
This meditation actually follows the model of Jesus's kinosis, described in one of the earliest passages of the New Testament, the primitive Christian hymn in Philippians 2. "Christ emptied himself" to become human. When he was completely hollow, emptied "even unto death," he became God. The rarely used Greek word kinosis means self-emptying.
Students of Buddhism will recognize this as sunyata - the emptiness of no-self. Vedantists will recognize it as neti neti - not this, not that. Christian mystics called it the via negativa: the way of negation. But this negation is positive. This nothing is no-thing. It takes us to the Spirit.
The heart of God is ruthless in its yearning for beauty. The sword of Shiva cuts even the hollow from the bone. Being breathed into the groundless chaos prior to creation, is not addition but subtraction, dying with Christ, pruning every branch and twig of the Life Tree. We enter the garden in Winter. The Absolute is not a consolation, but a perfection of loss. And loss teaches you everything.
Without a glimmer of holiness, meditation unveils the soul and God together, until they are one nakedness. So the psalmist sings in Psalm 42, "Depth crieth unto depth." Can you taste the brilliant color of silence? Can you hear thunder in the void?
Transcendental deep meditation dissolves all relationship in the abyss beyond love. Pure awareness, samadhi, is a place that has nothing to do with heaven, or any mythological fantasy of salvation. Transcendence is quite different from a "religious" condition, or a petition to the Lord "above." For here, the Other is nearer than the self. The true Lord is pure Presence.
This is why, upon tasting the abyss even for an instant, many seekers abandon Transcendental Meditation to seek a path more colorful, fanciful, with soft white robes, wooing words, and someone's feet to bow down to. Having touched the groundless depth, they want to return to the surface, to play in waves and bubbles. Only the soul who can swim in the depths without breathing, knows the eternal exhalation of stillness.
In this ceaseless breath, the soul must fast from joy and sorrow, being and non-being, I and Thou. Her path is not an ascent, but a fall into un-faceted onyx, the darkest jewel. She finds true substance: the inward solidity of consciousness itself, making mist of the world. Here, formlessness is more concrete than diamond, and all forms are a mirage.
If the soul has the courage to repose in the adamant depths of her own silence, she no longer worships a creator, for she herself has become the unfathomable fountain of the world.
And yet, after meditation, as we re-emerge into action, the waves of love that emanate from the ocean of our inner silence turn every perception into an act of devotion and surrender. Each breath we breathe out is an offering. Each inhalation is a gift of divine grace.
Jai Guru Dev