How does one meditate?
First, find a quiet, serene and exquisitely manicured garden with a waterfall and pond, surrounded by stately bamboo.
Second, don your most gorgeous robes and sit in full lotus position on a well-worn rock that exudes the solidity of your inner self.
Lastly, sit completely still while keeping your mind empty, except for the awareness of your breath.
Tada! You are enlightened and free from all earthly bonds!
HA HA HA!
Ok. That is totally a joke! <<in case you didn’t get it>> And although I deeply wish I was able to fulfill all three of the instructions given above, I realize they matter not. So, what does?
WHERE To Meditate
Start with the first aspect – where? Perhaps you sit in a quiet room on a chair with a pillow behind your back? Or you transform a dark closet into a meditation space by adding a small light with a few pillows/cushions? Or you may choose to create a small corner for yourself by adding a cushion, a small blanket and timer? Any space will do that is quiet <<relatively speaking, my teenage son and elderly cat are continually bumping about the house as i meditate..i am blessed by their presence 🙂 >>. Your space should remain consistent; you will find that your meditation-vibrations accumulate wherever you sit and create a powerful place for you to experience yourself.
WHAT when Meditating
The second aspect is quiet simple.
- wear comfortable clothing
- set a timer
- keep your eyes closed
- sit in an upright, comfortable position <<no position is always comfortable 🙂 >>
- do not bring your phone (as tempting as this is, it is best to leave your phone out of reach and on SILENT mode…you may find that while you are meditating you will suddenly feel that you must call/text/do something with your phone, but if it is not within reach there is a greater likelihood that you will not react to this sudden urge…which is the primary reason we meditate, to become aware of strong sensations within us – and choose not to react. <<imagine if you could stop all those habitual behaviors that are unhealthy for you :)>>
HOW to Meditate
This final aspect is a complex one and each person needs to discover the answer for themselves. I will share a few reasons why I practice the style I do and hopefully this will help you begin to find your answers.
Every Moment is Presence
Vipassana is the simplest style of meditation I know of, and yet the most challenging. The simplicity comes from the fact that there is no mantra to repeat, no gazing at an object, no walking through the woods, no repetitive body movement nor mental subject to contemplate.
Vipassana is the art of remaining present to every moment – moment after moment after moment. I speak from my own experience, moments are happening so fast you cannot think or contemplate them if you are to remain present and aware of every one. There is only the presence of the present moment and each moment is over before you have time to think it!
Moments in Time
Awareness. Breath. Awareness. Awareness…in every moment as it occurs, as it is. No changing, no contemplating, no doing. Simply aware. Each moment – perfect. So very simple. So very challenging.
I have come to endearingly call this the no-bullshit style of meditation because there is no escape from one’s bullshit. Which is why I have experienced such profound changes, because I am no longer running away from those aspects of myself that are challenging.
Many people feel they can replace meditation with other things. I have not found this to be so. I am passionate about my trail-jogging where I am immersed in the beauty of nature and saturated with wonder for the wildness of life. Meditation is not that. And I love to be creative and thoughtful, I love to ferret into deeper and deeper mysteries of life! Meditation is not that. And I love to chant mantras, and attend local ecstatic dances, and sing in ceremonies and…etc, etc, etc. Meditation is not any of those.
Meditation is unique because it requires us to stop doing everything. Stop. Sit. Be. Aware…without changing or doing. We simply surrender to the greatest gifts we have been given: our awareness and our breath.
The Power Of Breath
I do not preach religion nor philosophy with these words. I simply know that we all have our own unique breath and awareness. And they alone are constant throughout our lives. All else changes. <<this last statement is only partially true, they too change but not in the same manner as other phenomenon>>
My suggestion to all meditators is that you sit and use your awareness to become intimate with your breath. There are many videos online that will instruct you about the power of the breath when meditating.
Or you can take the plunge as I did. 🙂
Ten-day Silent Vipassana Course
I was not a meditator when I attended my first 10-day silent Vipassana course. Those ten days changed my understanding of how I unconsciously reacted to the world around me. I was amazed because I entered this 10-day course feeling very aware and awake, very in touch with myself and how I moved through the world. I was not.
There was so much for me to discover and only by committing to 10-days of silence and stillness with myself was I able to uncover my reactive behaviors.
The TRICK 😉
The trick to meditating is your humor. Period.
Meditating is NOT serious!
Your humor will take you farther than any other attribute. Remember to chuckle at yourself when your mind becomes fitful; to smile when your body aches and complains; and to fail a million times with a grin of remembering to start again…start again…start again.
Following are a few powerful questions to be humorously thoughtful about.
- What stops me from committing to a relationship with myself, one that begins with sitting quietly and breathing for a few minutes each day?
- Have I become serious about myself as I age? When is the last time I laughed about myself, with gentle endearment?
- What is my breath? Does it feed & cleanse my entire body/mind, ceaselessly?
- Is it illegal to laugh while meditating?