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Meditation On A Blank Canvas

MORNING: Use the Space That You’re In

When people meditate, they often do so with the idea that they’re trying to get somewhere. Goal-oriented meditation is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one!

We sit on our cushions in lotus position, squeezing our eyes shut, dutifully counting breaths or reciting our own personal mantra, trying so hard to make something happen.

Or we tell ourselves that we can’t possibly meditate - that we would fail miserably at it, because we’re too 'Type A' and we can’t sit still or quiet the mind for more than thirty seconds.

But what if life were a living meditation? What would it feel like to be in a state of meditation during every waking moment?

Forget about having a focal point, a mantra, a special way of sitting. Forget about visualizations, or counting, or some kind of special entry point.

Think of the breath - it goes in and out whether you pay attention to it or not. Think of the sofa beneath you, or the ground under your feet, or the sounds in the room, just as they are.

All of these things are always around us, but instead we’re convinced that we need some complicated process to get ourselves there.

Use what you’ve got in the space that you’re in.

You’re in a dentist’s chair? Awesome.

On the commuter train? Work with that.

But when it comes to the stories we tell ourselves, being in this meditative state requires a little more work.

Imagine before you a blank canvas.

Really look at the blank canvas. Be in harmony with it. What if this blank canvas - expanding out to infinity - is your true nature? If you’re a blank canvas, then everything is possible.

The minute we start filling it up with should's and shouldn’t's, with ways of doing things, with mantras and practices, it becomes so crowded that there isn’t room for anything else.

So many of us have our “practice” - but what are we practicing for? Ultimately the very purpose of the practice is to lead us nowhere. But we’re so goal-oriented that we need a destination - all the while forgetting that the journey is the point.

Imagine that your life can be portrayed on a canvas. Life itself is the canvas. When you look at this canvas, you’ll see everything that’s been placed there. And most of it doesn’t originate from you.

Someone - your parents, most likely - gave you a name, a place of birth, a story. As you’ve moved through life, external labels have been superimposed on the canvas: perhaps mother, wife, son, daughter. People have told us who we are, and this fills the canvas too.

Now start pulling off those labels. You’ve deepened your self-knowledge.

You know yourself now, and this means that you can dismantle what you know. Go ahead—pull those labels off. Peel away those limitations.

Remove all of those different words that are getting in the way of being a blank canvas. Even the notion of spirituality - every concept, every idea, every role, every responsibility: Peel them all off.

As you do this, experience the freedom (or perhaps the terror) of the blank canvas.

Because the blank canvas is life. Before we’re born, we are nothing. We only make the mistake of believing in our own permanence.

But we don’t need to die to shed everything that’s been posted on the blank canvas. We can experience a profound shift if we need to do this while we’re still alive.

This, my dear friends, is what dying unto yourself means.

Enlightenment is about destroying any and all false notions that you have about yourself. Peel back the layers, the veils, anything you’ve considered to be more important than nothing.

Now stay blank.

NOON: What is Real is Very Simple

You have a lot going on today, right? An overflowing schedule.

Your life feels like a three-ring circus. Sometimes you feel as if you need a whole team of assistants just to keep up with it. So much to do! So many places to be! Trains, planes, and automobiles! It’s overwhelming even thinking about it.

So here’s a gentle suggestion: Don’t.

Don’t think about it.

When we focus on the piles and piles of chores and details, the teetering stack of bills, the school forms, the tax returns, even the catalogs that appear daily in the mail, the sheer stuff of life, it can feel impossible to get out from under.

What if I were to tell you that you’ve put yourself under there?

And only you can get yourself out?

It is the mind that turns these molehills into mountains. We have to take our children to school and get to a breakfast meeting, but suddenly it feels as if we’re embarking on a trek to Nepal.

We have an overscheduled afternoon and, when we think about it, we might as well be perched at the door of a small aircraft, wearing a parachute.

This is what we do with our reality.

But it has nothing to do with what is real.

What is real is always very simple. Moment to moment, we can attend to the task at hand—or we can create Byzantine structures all around it, full of secret passageways and echoring corridors that have nothing to do with the task at hand.

Think about the blank canvas I asked you to envision before.

When an artist approaches a blank canvas, all that is possible is a single brushstroke at a time. If the artist were to attempt to paint the whole canvas at once, what would happen? What a mess!

  • One brushstroke at a time.
  • One breath at a time.
  • One word at a time.
  • One small gesture at a time.

It’s all that is possible to do - and yet we get ahead of ourselves so often and do nothing but twist ourselves into knots in the process.

We have time.

We create these overwhelming scenarios that make us inefficient and unavailable. We’re fuelled by a lack of trust. By a wave of fear. By a need to control. By a resistance to change. By an inability to flow.

But when we’re truly engaged with the blank canvas of our lives, moment to moment, a timeless quality emerges. Time both flies and slows down, as we become completely immersed in what we’re doing.

Just for today, make a practice of attempting to live fully in each moment. For most this is impossible - but the practice of it will allow you to live the blank canvas of your life.




An uncluttered mind.

Do only one thing at a time. Fully commit yourself.

Don’t divide your attention. Dive into the vast spaciousness of that blank canvas and allow it to reveal itself to you, moment by precious moment.

NIGHT: You Are Free. Full. Whole. Complete.

You are not what you’ve been told.

You are not your mind. You are not your thoughts. You are not your story. You are not your name. You are not your body.

You are something that cannot be named.

Something far greater than you have ever imagined.


Beyond definition.


You are not your bank account. You are not your accomplishments. You are not your possessions. You are not your trials and tribulations. Nor are not your academic achievements.

You are something far greater.

Something unquantifiable.

You are not your failures. You are not your heartbreaks. Or your losses. You are not your struggles. You are not your suffering. You are not your pain.

You are free. Full. Whole. Complete.

You are not broken. You are not in need of healing.

You are not in need of teaching.

You are resplendent. Awe-inspiring. Luminous.

You are not your fear. You are not your anger. You are not your sadness. You are not your insecurity. Or your unworthiness.

You are beyond all qualities.

Beyond all understanding.

Beyond all boundaries.

You are limitless. Pristine. Glorious.

You are not your joy. You are not your bliss. You are not your happiness. You are not the love that you have felt.

You are beyond all feelings.

Outside the realm of all experience.

You are free.

Infinite. Infinite. Infinite.

As you fall asleep, fall into this limitless, expansive state.

This is your true nature.This place of no boundaries. This place of infinite receptivity. This place where you are met by the Divine. Fully embraced. Seen. Understood. This place in which you can experience oneness.

This is the place in which all things become possible.

About Panache Desai

Panache Desai

Panache Desai

Panache Desai is a business and life catalyst who has been using energetic transformation to positively change the lives of countless people around the globe for more than 10 years.

He is the bestselling author of 2 books: 'Discovering Your Soul Signature', and  'You Are Enough'

Panache has appeared with Oprah Winfrey on her Emmy-Award winning Super Soul Sunday, collaborated alongside Deepak Chopra at the Chopra Center, and worked with many other luminaries in the fields of spiritual and personal development.