You have heard it all before. To meditate all you have to do is sit in quiet spot, cross your legs, place your hands over your knees, close your eyes, concentrate on the breathing and prepare to relax. These basic rules are going to lead you to internal bliss. The research highlights this practise is good for you. Taking this action is going to make you smile just like the Dalai Lama.
Generally before you start something new, you buy an outfit, pay for a course, read about it or study a little – prepare in some way. But for this exercise; all you are required to do is sit and breathe. Really? How hard could that possibly be?
Your scheduled meditation time has arrived. You turn all the lights and any noise off and go to your allocated meditation spot. You take a couple of breaths and there is no magic. You take a couple more and now your mind has started nagging at you. Surely this can’t be right.
You shuffle around. Reposition yourself, blow out a big sigh and start again. Refocusing on the breathing. You may as well be at a party where a conversation is not an option because the music is so loud. You want to relax into peaceful pleasure but your mind has other ideas. It wants mental warfare to sit at the top of its thoughts.
Ego has come to visit the mind and is yelling, ‘I will not be silenced’, and brings attention to any number of excuses as to why stopping this nonsense immediately is more than acceptable. Ego encourages us to hold onto anger, stress, and torment.
Five minutes has not even passed and you are getting up, turning the lights on and shaking off this silly episode of doing nothing. Such a lazy pass time. How can people sit for hours? Yeah, yeah, they can do all the blah, blah, blah on meditation, but it is not for you.
I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “I have tried meditation. But it is not for me. I can’t just sit there. I can’t concentrate. How do you clear the mind? Every time I go to sit some distraction pops into my mind”.
All these excuses mean you’re mediating correctly. The struggle, the doubt, the mind interruptions, the lack of concentration are the signs you on the right track.
After fifteen years of on again off again mediation, I know this to be correct because all those justifications that you believe take you outside of the meditation category, are the exact issues that say you are capable of slowing down the mind. Breathing and finding time to just be.
The only difference between a beginner and my meditation experience is; I surrender to this time. My mind is not exempt from any of the above annoyances. I could be tired. My mind might be trying to bargain with me – saying, “start tomorrow or next week”.
I might get anxious before a session. But regardless of how I feel, I am committed. I am going to surrender and whatever happens in this period, I am going to occupy my allotted meditation space.
Sitting and waiting for time to pass can be torture. Some meditation sessions I feel as though nothing is happening. But even if that were the case – I am relaxing. My mind may argue this point however; there are some nights where I should be doing something physical with the amount of tension that runs through my body.
There are moments where I feel as though I am on the wrong track. Although experience has proven otherwise. None of this time is ever wasteful.
For twenty minutes in the morning and of an evening I surrender to myself. I am always attempting to keep the same times frames for my mediation. There are days where focusing on the breathing is asking too much.
Other times going back to the breath is a saviour because whatever I was thinking about is a torment or hurts. Occasionally a wondering mind is easy to steer straight back to the breathing, and then there are times I indulge in the thoughts. Whatever it is I do, I give myself up to those valuable minutes.
I will explain why we all know how to surrender. We accept that certain tasks or obligations must be completed regardless of how we feel about them. Examples are: –
- Mindless data entry, to keep the accounts up to date, in order for the books to be balanced at the end of the month.
- The tools after a hard day of being a grease monkey; require cleaning before they are placed back in their rightful position. So that when the next project is underway all equipment is easily accessible.
- Preparation for the following day, so that things run smoothly.
- The never ending story of house work, however once done; has a number of benefits.
We do these duties because they prepare or help us move to the next step. That is surrending, accepting certain things regardless of how intolerable or boring they are. Yes repetition is with us all.
The benefits of calm outweigh the uncomfortable thoughts. It is not all bad; some meditation sessions are caught up in day dreams, finding a solution to a problem, romance or something very funny – where our imagination takes hold of us. These moments make us feel so good; that we don’t want it to stop.
However, it is the times when we are struggling that we need to meditate the most. That is when the mind is at its weakest. Once again committing to yourself and surrending regardless of how happy or irritated we are at the time.
I am not going to preach at you about all the benefits of meditation. But I will ask you this; does the Dalai Lama look like he uses medication? Does that wonderful smile ever look fake? Does he look like he has an unstable mind? He is an elderly man with lots of energy, love and affection. He radiates supreme energy. So there is no need to preach meditation when we have a living example as to the benefits of it.
Sitting and breathing requires a certain amount of will power and practise. There is no difference when we exercise or try a new eating regime. We don’t just learn to do up our shoe laces at a fast pace. We had to repeat the task over and over. We did not learn to drive a car confidently, it took time and practice.
Now all you have to ask yourself is – do you have the discipline and courage to at least do it for a month?
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