"immovable concentration of the mind."
To steady the mind by focusing on one single, stable entity.
This morning I was reading a chapter in the book, "The Wisdom Jesus," by Cynthia Bourgeault. The book says it is about "Transforming Heart and Mind -- a New Persepective on Christ and His Message." My Centering Prayer group is studying it right now.
The chapter I was on this morning was Chapter 4: The Path of Metanoia. This is the Greek word that is usually translated to be "repentance." Bourgeault turns my world on its' ear by saying it really literally means to go "beyond the mind" or "into the larger mind." She says this is really what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. Jesus is telling us to go beyond ourselves to experience the larger mind. And then in this chapter she talks about the teachings of Jesus that we've known our entire lives, but explains what they mean from a "larger mind" perspective.
The Beatitudes are the first teachings she talks about. The first Beatitude is "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." From this new perspective she says we can understand this to mean "'poor in spirit' designates an inner attitude of receptivity and openness, and one is blessed by it because only in this state is it possible to receive anything."
She gives a Zen story about a student who wanted to study with a certain master. The student sits down with the master and proceeds to talk on and on about everything he knows. The master listens and begins to pour tea. He keeps pouring even after the cup is full. When the student tells him to stop because the cup is full, the master tells him yes, it's full. But so is the student. How could the student possibly be taught?
This emptying is what I've been trying to articulate to my husband about what meditation means to me. When I sit and try to empty my mind, to keep it from being filled with fleeting thoughts and ruminations, I am attempting to clear out the space so that God can speak to me in His still, small voice.