A Meditation on Meditation

In truth, absolutely any practice under the sun can be meditative. Meditation in its simplest form refers to one-pointed focus. In traditional meditation practices the point of focus is often the breath, but other devices such as sound or visualization can also be used.

Don’t try to stop thinking

People often mistakenly think that the one-pointlessness of meditation leads to the cessation of thought. On the contrary. When one learns to focus your mind on one point, you become an observer and are able to adopt a third person perspective. Just as your body continues to exist in space and time, so your thoughts and emotions continue to manifest on their usual trajectories. However, rather than identifying with these aspects of yourself, you learn to watch them. It’s like watching the trains go by without feeling the need the need to board, or sitting on top of a mountain and watching the bustle of the city down below. We lapse into the realm of metaphor to explain these types of experiences as we are essentially moving into the realm of the non dual, which cannot be adequately expressed within the confines of idealistic thought and language.

 

A new way of being

In this moment, you become something else; you become the eternal witnessing principle itself; some call this spirit, others god, while others spend many lifetimes contemplating the question of who or what this observer is without finding answers. What we do know is that training the mind to occupy this perspective brings a sense of rest, peace and conceitedness which provides an anchor when we get lost in the noise of the material world.

 

Meditation is not something we do, it is something that happens to us if we create the right conditions. A good analogy for this is sleep. We can will ourselves to fall asleep, but when the conditions are right, that is, we’re cosy, warm and relaxed, we naturally fall into sleep. Meditation works in much the same way. When we have adequately trained ourselves to pull back and observe, meditation happens to us. It is after all not a state of doing, but a state of being.

 

Don’t give up

While we all know how important creating this space in our life is, we often feel frustrated at not having enough time to dedicate to our practice, whatever that may be. This is of course a backwards way of looking at things. As the old Buddhist saying goes, you should meditate for half an hour every day and if you’re too rushed you should meditate for an hour.  This sums up the irony of neglecting the very practice which creates space and time in your life. Unlike the “oneness” of the space we learn to access during meditative practices, the mind is essentially dual and always produces two sides of the coin. As such, we constantly find ourselves in opposition with ourselves. “I want to meditate but I have no time” is one such opposition and a perfect example of how good the ego is at creating false dichotomies – which are a manifestation of our resistance to growth.

 

Don’t pay this too much attention. Soften your facial muscles. Smile. The more you meditate the less control the mind will begin to have over you and the more you will be able to express your true nature, which is oneness, harmony and peace.

 

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