What meditation is NOT and six steps that you can take to meditate.
“Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out”- Katherine Dunham.
What comes to your mind when someone asks you to define meditation?
A most common response would be; ‘meditation is trying to control your thoughts and have an empty mind”.
Let me ask; how many of you would have tried this before? Especially at times when things aren’t going so right in your life, or you may be stressed or worried about something?
But, did you achieve any success? Ask yourself were you able to reach an empty mind? Or, was the ‘monkey mind’ talking to you more and more, the harder you were trying to silence it?
Well, this enough is giving you an idea that what you are doing is maybe not the correct way to meditate. In fact, I would like to add here that there is no right or wrong way to meditate.
By now, if you are still reading this, I know you must be getting curious to know how then eventually should you meditate? Is there an easy tip to achieve that quiet and peaceful mind most of us crave for?
Honestly, I am not giving any magical tip to get into that fairy-tale mind zone here. But, what I am going to do is share my real-life experience of what my realisation of meditation is. I will share a way of meditation that I discovered in my journey that absolutely made no sense to me when I began with it. But now, after many years of meditating, it makes total sense to me, and I can vouch for the reason it works.
I paused for a minute as it was the very first time I was asked this question. I quickly gave a thought and answered: “in my idea, the day you respond differently and positively to the same situation you have been in for years perhaps, is the day you realise that you meditate.”
I don’t believe in the knock out zones or any fantasised versions of meditation that many people might have. I believe meditation is about the time you spend with yourself looking inwards and trying to accept and face your own flaws than being so busy putting the blame on the outside world for the situations we are in.
This is what meditation teaches us. To walk inwards, accept your own flaws, work on correcting them and then implementing the new ways into your own life.
And, I totally agree that this is easy said than done. I have been there; done that. Facing your own flaws is the scariest thing ever. Who wants to be called as imperfect? Who wants to be blamed for anything? Our dear friend EGO does not let that happen.
All through our journey, we keep trying harder and harder to change everyone outside of us, but we don’t even give a thought to fix ourselves.
Have you ever thought why is it so? Why do we always believe that we are so perfect? Because, like I said; facing yourself in bright light is quite scary and confronting. It is very easy to put the blame on everything else for our sufferings, miseries, problems and whatever. But, in reality, who has time to talk and listen to themselves?
Sadly, this world is so busy and noisy that it doesn’t let the magic of silence to come close and heal us. Because for that you have to go through pain and fear. The pain of seeing yourself the way you are and the fear of seeing that part of yourself that you don’t even want to know exists.
I was the same, and I learned my lessons the hard way. It was never easy for me to quiet my mind for even one minute, forget about meditating a few minutes in the day. It was scary, boring, confronting and just not me. Like most of the people in our modern society, I use to be the same thinking meditation is definitely not for me and I wondered how people can even sit with their eyes closed in one place.
The more I was running away from it, the more I knew I needed it. And finally, I started to walk on the journey.
In my attempt to share with you my experience, I am putting together six steps that I believe anyone who struggles with meditation can follow to be able to meditate.
You have nothing to lose. You do not have to do it if it does not work for you. But I would say that it is worth trying because unless you try, you would not know. Life is all about learning new things. We only have to take what we think works for us and the rest can be dropped along the journey.
Make time to sit in silence even if it means starting with 60 seconds each day.
I know this sounds so easy and obvious. But trust me, this is where most of us struggle. I could not even sit for a moment with my eyes closed. It was almost impossible. And an honest confession is; yes, it feels boring as a beginner. The whole idea of meditation starts with making time and practice to just sit in silence. Without worrying about how long you have to do it for or without setting any expectations for yourself, just learn to sit with yourself every day even if it is for a few moments.
Not trying to control your thoughts.
I am sure you all would be having your eyebrows high reading this one. But trust me, the only thing I believe works is this. It’s a universal law, and it applies to this too. The law says, the more we try to run after something, the farther it goes from you. The same thing applies here; the more you try to control your thoughts, the faster their speed and intensity become. The more we try to achieve meditation, the more it seems impossible.
As a beginner, you just need to know that the thoughts exist and they are present there in the mind space, and you are just looking at them without trying anything in any way to control them or push them away.
Accept whatever there is and face it even if it means facing your fears.
This is where it gets scary. This is where you will see all that you do not want to see. The only way to get past your fears is to face them. Unless you face your fears, they will not leave you. They will keep haunting you, scare you and would not let you experience joy in your life.
Personally speaking, this took me years and years to practice and achieve and honestly, I still have my moments when I do get scared.
But these are the moments i remind myself what i once read somewhere; that courage does not mean the absence of fear. Courage means accepting that the fear is there and facing it without letting the fear paralyse you.
You will be amazed by how powerful you come out of it once you have accepted and faced your fears in your mind. Because, the mind is the only place where they exist and most of the times, they have no space in reality.
Letting go of all that is there; whether good or bad.
Whatever you are seeing in your mind, let it be. All you have to do at this point is know that that they are there. Be a watcher to these thoughts. Imagine yourself seeing the thoughts as they are someone else’s, but you are just looking at them. Don’t make them yours.
Observing your thoughts without judging them
As you are seeing your thoughts, keep watching them without being attached to them. The problem comes once we start attaching emotions to our thoughts.
The more intense our emotions get, the more powerful the thoughts are.
If you watch your thoughts as if you are watching a slide show on someone else’s computer, you are not going to judge them. You are not going to have any strong emotions towards them. This is when the intensity of thoughts goes slower and slower.
With consistent practice, soon after, you will realise that a gap has started to appear between your thoughts. And that GAP; is what meditation is.
Most importantly not TRYING to meditate.
By now, you see how by not trying to meditate, you automatically lead towards meditation.
The more you will try, the more impossible it will get. Slowly and slowly with consistent practice, the gap becomes longer between your thoughts and this all will happen automatically without trying. As this gap grows wider, you will experience that quietness that you are looking for without even knowing that you are in that moment.
And that is exactly how it should be. It should all happen without knowing that it is happening. Because, if you know that it is happening, this means that you are still thinking in your head and if you are thinking, you are nowhere close to meditation.
The journey of mindfulness starts once you start experiencing this gap. Mindfulness will then just be in every moment of your breath. From then onwards, you won’t have to sit in meditation for experiencing bliss and peace; whereas, you will feel that you are always floating in joy.
Whether or not you will have something or someone, will slowly start to not matter so much to you.
You will begin to enjoy your own company, and you will learn the importance of kindness and compassion in everything that you do.
Meditation has the power to lift your vibrations magically. The only thing I say you have to do though is consistent practice. For, no magic happens in one day and all good things take time to show up!
“Sometimes the fastest way isn’t always the best way. Sometimes the best things in life take a while”- Emily Beth.