Natural meditation is relaxing your attention so that it simply rests in awareness. Attention is a contraction in awareness like a moving spotlight that includes only what interests you. Everything else is filtered out or ignored. Your strong desires are accompanied by a tight focus of attention that makes you forgetful of awareness. By relaxing your attention your focus softens and becomes more like a flood light illuminating a wider field until everything is seen in the light of consciousness. As your attention comes to rest your natural state of being is revealed, and all is seen to be flowing through awareness.
Everything you experience in life is changing because the essential nature of the mind is activity. You cannot be free of activity in life, yet you can know the stillness beneath the change. This stillness is awareness, the unseen aspect of your essential being.
Natural meditation is a reminder of your true nature. Relaxing your attention gently removes the conceptual lines of separation between objects, between you and others, between you and awareness, until you and your environment are seen as one. This dissolution of the sense of separation, including the loss of individual identity, happens to you every night when you fall asleep, so its really nothing new; however with natural meditation you remain awake, active, and fully functional, very possibly better than usual.
Whenever you relax your attention you come nearer to the simplicity of being, whereas contraction of the attention draws you away from meditation. There is nothing easier for you to do than to be your natural self. It is relaxing and spontaneously productive. Your mind-based self, or ego, is the one that is habitually reacting to conditioned thought patterns and their consequences. It is easily identified as being tight, stressful and difficult.
Meditation is often associated with increased or expanded awareness, however you really can't be more aware than you are, or more aware than anyone else. You are already as aware as you will ever be. Awareness is veiled by the mind, particularly when you are attracted or repulsed by something. All desires, aversions and conditions are manifestations of truth, and looking at them in a certain way conceals the knowledge of truth. Truth cannot be found through thought because truth is also the seeking, the looking, and the inquiry, through focused attention. Whether you are a spiritual seeker or someone seeking an end to material problems, you are unknowingly looking for that which is looking.
How you seek determines what you find. Whatever you want, or dont want, requires your attention. Certain things become more prominent in your mental or physical environment because when your attention focuses on an object, then that object matters to you, it becomes matter, either as a physical form or a thought form. Things appear to bring you happiness, or not, however your happiness, or relief, actually comes from the relaxation that follows the struggle for acquisition. Happiness is in the relaxation, not the attainment.
Material forms populate your physical world, and thought forms populate your mind. When a thought arises in the mind you assume that it is yours. A thought forming in the mind is like a cloud forming in the sky, both come and go and neither has an owner. Your past is thought (memory) and your future is thought (imagination). What makes you believe that this fleeting moment, which has no duration, is not thought? You as an individual are a concept. You only exist as a person when you are identified with your thoughts. The sense of self, the ego, begins with the idea that you are the thinker.
It is not possible, or even necessary, to express all of this flawlessly through words, or to think it through to an ultimate conceptual framework, because all thought, rational and irrational, is in essence spontaneous. While not obvious from within the conceptual state of consciousness, you can see it for yourself in natural meditation by noticing how your rational or irrational thoughts come to be in your mind. You can observe this by relaxing your attention, but not by focusing. Focusing your attention points you to forms, relaxing your attention points you to the formless out of which forms arise.
Anxiety, suffering and struggle are the expressions of opposing thoughts experienced through contracted attention. Inner peace reveals itself with the relaxation of attention which opens a portal through the conceptual state of consciousness to the stillness of spacious awareness.
This is the essence of natural meditation. Relax your attention as though gazing into a boundless empty sky, then experience thoughts and actions from that perspective. Relax into happiness, into your true nature.
Photo: Angels by Visualogist, See more of visualogist's work on flicker.com