Meditation is a core practise for many of us, as Jedi, and as such we frequently field requests from members new and old who are unsure how to actually do it. Today I’d like us to try a technique I use pretty much daily, along with sharing some of the insights it has provided. A metaphor I use for meditation is to “gaze into the puddle”. Doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it? And that’s deliberate; meditation isn’t something fancy, which requires great spiritual insight to accomplish. It isn’t special or fancy, doesn’t require specialised equipment, and if done with the right attitude it can be the most natural thing in the world. Indeed, if one can gaze into a puddle for a few minutes, then they can meditate. The two things have more in common than it might seem…

When we meditate, we are taking something very ordinary to ourselves (our mental life) and responding to it in a different way. Rather than chasing our thoughts, we observe them. Rather than directing the flow, we let whatever comes, come. Like a puddle, stirred by storms or footsteps, our minds can become opaque to us. And like a puddle, if our minds are too turbulent we can find clarity by allowing them time to settle. Like a puddle, we may only see through to the ground, a clear and featureless shape without any obvious meaning. We may see our own familiar face, reflected back. The face we have seen more times than any other, since our first glimpse into a mirror. And also like a puddle, we may catch a glimpse of something else entirely: something unexpected, and something beautiful.

Most often, the puddle in my mind’s eye takes on the reflected image of a sunset, full of vibrant colours, drifting clouds and fluid movement. It swirls with a dreamlike life of its own, flashes of images and snatches of ideas coming and going as I quietly observe. I feel myself, my true, authentic self, the thing that notices all this. “I” am outside of all this shifting motion, yet aware that at a very real level what I am observing is “me”. I wonder to myself; am I a Jedi in the form of a puddle? Or a puddle in the form of a Jedi?

Both Jedi and puddle, puddle and Jedi, all as one in the Force. The wind blows across my face, over my arms and on through the trees. The puddle shifts again and I am indelibly aware of the connection between it all, wind, puddle, tree and me. The boards I sit on. The stars overhead. The ticking of the clock on the wall and the turning of the earth. All necessary. All perfect. All one, in the Force.

I’d like for us to take a moment, now, to sit in contemplation, around puddles of our own. When I ask you to, please close your eyes. Let yourself become still. Observe your breath, without control, and imagine you are standing over your puddle, looking down. Whatever comes next, let it come. Observe without becoming engaged in whatever you find there. If your mind wanders, nudge it back kindly. Take at least three minutes for this exercise.

Let’s begin: You are standing over your puddle. Close your eyes, and gaze in!

What did you see? How did you feel? What surprised you? What did you learn?

I hope this exercise was useful for you, as it has been for me. I hope you can continue to use it, adapt it and evolve it into your practise. And I hope this gives you just a small glimpse of the amazing power of our own perception; we can take a simple pool of water, something we each pass every day without a second thought, and turn it into a formidable tool for reflection, understanding and growth. Gaze into it all: the swaying branches, the billowing clouds, the crackling fire. What’s out there can reveal what’s within, if you let it.

The entire world has lessons for us, if we only have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Move through this world with open eyes. Stay receptive to that which crosses your path. Be thankful for all that you learn.

And may the Force be with you, my friends.

I am a Jedi, in tune with the Force.

Let me be mindful as I walk,
Let me be open as I discover,
Let me be thankful as I learn.

The Force is with me always, for I am a Jedi.