Grace and Peace
At the end of the 10 day Vipassana Meditation the teacher spoke: “You will know that you are progressing on this path of meditation when you notice the following two signs …”
The teacher pauses…
In this moment of pause I begin to ponder what the teacher is going to say. What are the telltale signs of meditative progress I wonder? Are we to measure meditation progress according to how still we can sit – or how long we can sit – or how many times per day we can sit? Or will he speak of how our nomadic minds will finally stop wandering? Or about how ‘in-touch’ we will begin to feel with our breath and our body? Will he tell of one day attaining a blissful meditative state of good vibrations void of any backache? I wonder?
The teacher continues: “The first sign of progress on this path of meditation is … generosity. Yes, generosity is the first sign. A growing generosity. When you give without expectation of repayment in return you are progressing. When you can give without any need for recognition then you know you are progressing well.”
“The second sign of progress on this path of meditation is … gratitude. Yes, gratitude is the second sign. A growing gratitude. When you are grateful for all you have been given through your entire life. When you are grateful for the gifts that fill every single moment of your life then you know you are progressing well.”
Progress on the path is not measured by mastering a technique. Progress is measured by what happens to our heart. A generous and grateful heart is progress. Generosity and gratitude are the natural fruit of a tree that has its roots planted in the knowledge that we are all one. Inter-related and inter-dependent. When I awake to the truth that my life is dependent on all other life and all other life is impacted by my living – then generosity and gratitude are bound to blossom.
Paul agrees on how we should measure progress on the Jesus path: “If I speak in the tongues of angels, have prophetic powers or am able to move mountains, but do not love, I am a noisy gong … I gain nothing.” [1 Cor. 13]. Or again: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” [Gal. 5:22].