After Jesus came to John, the Baptist said, “I must decrease so that He may increase.” He was talking about his influence. John was the great prophet everyone was talking about and coming to see. He knew that attention would have to go from him to Jesus. However, like most things in the Bible, there is a deeper meaning.
In each of our lives we must learn to renounce ourselves. We must decrease so that God my increase inside us. Fasting is a good example of how many people learn to do this. By denying their bodily needs they find they grow closer to God. Meditation is similar. When we meditate we have to let go of everything. By focusing on our mantra we reject our very thoughts. We let go of our ideas, plans, and goals. We put our entire mental life on hold for a while.
It may seem that when we start to meditate that it is a negative process. Silence seems like emptiness. To mediate we must leave the company of others for a while, so it can feel lonely. It’s like we are abandoning human relationship and regular life. We let go of all our studies, our theology, our imagination, our creativity, of everything we are. This doesn’t seem right. And what is all this for? For silence? That can’t be right.
It is only in the actual experience that these questions can be answered. To find the answers we must take a leap in the dark.
Do keep in mind that we are not outright rejecting ourselves. Our minds are a wonderful gift. Rational thought, critical thinking, and decision-making are all good things. Our imaginations and creativity are peerless in the world. Relationships are one of the reasons we are here in the first place. Loving and being loved, sharing, and giving are all good things. We are not rejecting any of them. But for a moment, we must let them go. It’s like fasting. Food is a good thing, but sometimes we must deny ourselves a good thing for something greater.
For it is in momentarily abandoning ourselves to the abyss of unknowing that we discover ourselves. In the process we find peace. Harmony begins to infuse itself into all our faculties. The peace and silence begin to spill over into our daily lives. All our action becomes motivated from our stillness. Our thoughts become illuminated by love because we know from experience that love is the core of our being.
While it might seem like nothing is happening gradually our whole life begins to change. Our thinking become clearer. Our relationships become more loving, because in meditation we are freed to love by love.
The reason for this is simple. In abandoning yourself completely you find a new ground to stand on. We find the rock to build our life upon. We discover ourselves rooted in God. All because we had the courage to be like John the Baptist and take the attention off ourselves.