What is Meditation?
Simply put, meditation is to become fully and totally present. We cannot do a state but only BE a state.
A common and unhelpful misconception is that “I need to have a quiet mind in order to meditate”. This unnecessarily circumscribes the purpose of meditation which is to observe the content of the mind without being entangled in it.
The vital point to understand is, being meditative is the by-product of us being the uncritical observer of our minds. This places us in a huge “advantage” because we are no longer controlled by the mind but are naturally the operator of it. It is our minds then that take instructions from us.
“By watching the mechanics of your mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and then you can allow the present moment to be.“
Meditation is taking a conscious breath. It is moving my hand with awareness and placing a thought purposefully in my mind. It is directing my energies with perfect co-ordination and harmony. It feels balanced and integrated. I can take full strides in quiet confidence. I am not being run or pulled and pushed in all different directions by the software of my mind and hardware of my body. I become aware of the patterns of distractions and the conditioned triggers collected as part of my human experience. I stop mentalizing the past and chasing experiences from belief that I lack and start living now.
This is significant, because now it means that I am in a deeper and more expansive space where I am 100% responsive instead of being reactive. I can only react in fight and flight. But I can respond in a million different creative ways. I am aware of the tricks of the mind, the patterns of thinking and the emotional content without being ensnared. I am the Knower of my mind and my body. In Being, I AM.
“I thought about quitting but then I noticed who was watching.“
“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.”
Thich Nhat Hahn
I have used meditation as a form of escapism and avoidance before and so I know how tricky the restless mind is. Through the mental habit of misidentifying with thoughts, it is to easy to get sucked into the endless labyrinth of justifications of why life is not working out.
When we are pulled into the false narratives of our mind, we don’t always know it is happening. As we start to meditate, we realize how little control we actually have over our inner conversations. When you experience this realization in real time, you also know what is truly helpful and meaningless. It takes only an instant. An epiphany is an instant of clarity. We can only be awakened now.
To therefore consciously choose to only watch the content of our mind is to no longer be ruled by it. The defenses of the limited mind is always to mentalize the past and project the future. With consistent practice, you won’t fall for that trap. Our depression is always rooted in the past and our fears are always about a non-existent future. Chasing experience compulsively and boredom are always coming from a present dissatisfaction. Believing this, we hold on to experiences or escape them instead of experiencing them totally now. This keeps the wheels of mental debate spinning endlessly.
Meditation therefore has the effect of disengaging and creating a distance in which we are no longer identifed with what no longer works.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
The discontented and lacking mind is always looking for ways to audition for your sacred attention. In compulsion, we fall for the trick of thinking that there is some door that will lead us to something outside of us that can grant us happiness. In awareness, we always see the trick and remember that as the watcher, all abundance is already the case. In Awareness, all action taken is meditative, naturally incisive and helpful. Nothing more and nothing less is required. When we are in the zone, we always know what to do instinctively and intuitively. We move from a place of abundance instead of the narrative of lack and desperation.
“Meditation will bring you more and more intelligence, infinite intelligence, a radiant intelligence. Meditation will make you more alive and sensitive; your life will become richer.”
How to Meditate?
“Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind.”
There is no particular physical posture that one need adopt when meditating. The purpose of meditation is to observe uncritically as if you have a gallery seat of the entire universe within you.
A cross-legged seat is usually recommended where the spine is comfortably erect without rigidity. The point is not to have your body pulling on your attention unecessarily but you don;t want to be prone to falling asleep.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. There are many methods to bring your body into total relaxation and receptivity. Take a few deep conscious breathes. Become aware of unnecessary movement. Judge nothing. Abide as yourself as this vast open space in which all experiences, thoughts, sensations, mental activity come and go. You Remain. I AM
“As gold purified in a furnace loses its impurities and achieves its own true nature, the mind gets rid of the impurities of the attributes of delusion, attachment and purity through meditation and attains Reality.”
Consistency and Persistence is the key. Set aside 15 minutes where you will not be disturbed and you do not have to tend to anything. Be present to any mental excuses, justification and reasons not to meditate. The practice of meditation is to ultimately still the mind and body sufficiently enough so that we can have an experience of the Being that we are. It is have a living experience of the ever present Free Being that we already are.
This is an article about why we experience neurosis and how to get a handle on it.
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