Imagine that your mind is like one of those lottery bowls. Like this –
Each ball represents a thought. Swirling around and around inside of your head.
When we sit down to meditate, thoughts, like lotto balls, will rise to the surface.
I like to imagine that if I engage with the thought and succumb to the distraction, then it stays in the bowl and continues to circle around.
If on the other hand I can ignore the thought, allow it to rise up and pass, it leaves the bowl just like the selected lotto ball does.
Over time, If I can continue to ignore the thoughts and remain focused, one by one they rise up and float away in a process of mental and emotional purification.
Now, in the lotto bowl of life, not all balls are created equally. Some will rise to the surface faster than others.
Other, heavier balls, will take time to be released. They will only come up after you have allowed the other ones to pass.
I like to imagine it in three levels or “weights” of balls.
The first type of balls are your day to day thoughts. Food, work, commute, problems of the day, etc.
The second type of balls are fragmented relationships, unanswered questions, stressing on the past or thinking about the future. Not as light as the day to day thoughts, but still not quite overwhelmingly heavy and can be handled with hard work.
Then the last and heaviest of the balls, the hardest to remove, are our childhood memories, past emotional traumas – the heavy shit in our life. You know the saying “everyone is dealing with something”? That “something” that everyone is dealing with would go here.
It’s a ball that won’t rise up easily. It will only come up reluctantly after the other balls have already left. It will only rise to the surface once there is sufficient space for it to move around.
In any circumstance, I like to look at this as the healing process we go through when we meditate.
At first we deal primarily with day to day surface level problems, but then over time as we build concentration and resiliency we can work our way into dealing with the larger problems of life.
Unlike the lottery however, the goal is to clear the balls out of the bowl one by one. Allow thoughts to rise up to the surface and pass away, leaving us with an empty bowl of consciousness that we can refill with what we choose.
Now if you want to win the lottery of meditation and reach enlightenment – get to work! 🙂