If you’re not meditating at least five minutes every day you’re missing out on a tremendous gift. Perhaps this is a bold statement, but I stand by it. Adyashanti characterises meditation as “the act of being in constant renewal.” Each time I read that description there are more layers to it.
To some, 5 minutes will barely be a drop. To others, it will be a tidal wave. The point is that by consistently meditating–sitting in quiet just observing what is, allowing space–you open up room for balance, calm, peace, and fulfilment in your life.
I learned to meditate decades ago, and I was diligent about it… for a while. But my practice was more about identifying with being a meditator than about why I was meditating. Throughout the years meditation would sporadically become part of my life again. In retrospect, I can see that the reason it would repeatedly fall out of my life was that I was looking, or asking, for something from meditation. I wanted happiness. I wanted wisdom. I wanted stillness. I wanted escape. While these can be by-products of meditation, it was only when I committed to the process, without asking anything from it, that real change arose.
Eckhart Tolle shares that the key is to let go, to surrender to whatever happens in your meditation, and by doing so everything is allowed to be just what it is, without labels, without judgement, without stories and illusions attached to it. From that place you can act with clarity and balance. Some people think this means to be in the world without emotion. Nothing can be further from the truth. Being aware and conscious allows us to experience a full range of emotions and to be open to thoughts and processes that would otherwise have been closed to us. Reacting, on the other hand, means to follow a rutted path where possibilities are limited by programming we’ve accepted from others, or ourselves.
People say that they can’t meditate; that they fail at it. Nobody is an expert athlete, musician, actor, programmer, or writer at the start. It takes practice.
Also, stop believing that you can control your thoughts! You can’t. They are similar to everything else in life–they just happen. However, over time, like a turbulent pond becomes still, the surface of the mind naturally quietens. Thoughts and ego melt into being useful tools rather than flapping sails.
“Samadhi doesn’t just come of itself; it takes practice.” ~Jack Kornfield
There are many types of meditation, but I like to keep it simple:
* Sit comfortably, upright, relaxed, and supported if you wish.
* Close your eyes.
* Make no effort of any kind.
* Just notice and feel what arises in the body.
* When your mind gets caught up in thoughts, just recognise this and return to noticing.
Adyashanti says to “follow your breath, or use a simple mantra or centering prayer, if you find that it helps you to not get lost in thought.” But he explains that “in true meditation all objects (thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc.) are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to focus on, manipulate, control, or suppress any object of awareness. The emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself.”
Apps like Insight Timer and Headspace provide various guided meditations if that’s what helps you. Just remember that the idea is to sit quietly without becoming reliant on a tool. I like the Insight Timer because I can make presets with only the ding of a bell to signify the start and end of my desired meditation time.