‘Hanging out’ is an important principle to follow in meditation. Sustaining attention with COAL (curiosity, openness, acceptance and love) is in fact what hanging out is all about. Yet hanging out denotes something more.

There is an element of ease and ‘no care in the world’ in it, yet also filled with presence. It emphasizes lingering in time, letting the fire of time cook the meal of awareness to perfection. It is a bit like going whale watching. You take the boat (use your tools of concentration with COAL), then bop around on the waters of the ocean waiting for these magnificent creatures to emerge. Except that when you hang around in meditation you do not know what you are waiting for; in fact you are not waiting for anything except perhaps Godot. You hang around to be burned alive, to be dissolved by the wear and tear of time, and to be devoured by truth. Hanging out means relinquishing control and allowing nature and reality to speak, allowing emptiness to manifest. Here is a quote from F. Kafka describing something similar: “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Hanging out includes just being without any attachment to what it is supposed to be. Find pleasure in living in a world that is not supposed to be, or that is already there as it is, and that does not have to be anything. Deeply listen to yourself and be OK with what you like and don’t like. As you hang out, anything can happen. You don’t have to make yourself be like what other people want you to be or what is going to be accepted. You don’t have to do something that already exists because so many other people are doing that. Enjoy the isolation of your own inner world of complex experiences and don’t worry about what people think. Respect yourself, your instincts and your emotions. Every day you do everything you can do be a good person, so why should someone else with their trials and tribulations, their thoughts and ideas affect you more than you affect yourself? Hone the ability to be in touch with genetic memory and instinctive patterns that we all secretly know from thousands of years of evolution.

When you hang out in this place of respectful and sustained attention, your expectations shed like the colored leaves of autumn, and you find yourself there, just there, for no reason at all. Even your attention softens. Rather than fleeing back into its distracted jerky mode resembling the activity of a fruit fly, attention softens into its quiet pool of stillness, not moved by you, but gently rocked by the siren call of the source. You just hang out, patiently letting time extend its tentacles in all directions towards eternity. Wherever you hang out, you wait; no you don’t even wait, you make your home there.

Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud. All rights reserved.