Meditation is becoming more and more mainstream nowadays, but I feel at the same time, it is still considered like something “weird” and practiced only by “vegan yogis”. “You have to quiet your mind, you have to sit for hours and hours, the goal is to become one with body, mind and spirit…” These are some of the misconceptions, very daunting indeed! So I decided to write about my experience and what I think meditation is.
In its purest form, and I have to mention this as an avid yoga practitioner, meditation is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga as described in the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, the first book solely written on yoga about 2500 years ago. So meditation is a practice that brings union of the mind, body and spirit and is part of the yoga path.
To bring it “just a few” notches down, I believe meditation is spending time with you, observing your feelings, sensations, thoughts, and body; anything that is happening inside. That’s it! It is a habit, like brushing your teeth. It’s a process, not a destination.
When we start paying attention to what happens inside, we learn who we are. Physically, we can detect when the body is not functioning at its best and we can make good choices. Mentally, we start noticing thoughts and feelings and we find ways to process them and let them go. We become our most loving, caring, forgiving, and accepting best friend. Meditation balances the physical, emotional, and mental states so that we can function better and smoother.
How do we start? First we start by just sitting for a minute or so. Same time, same place. Nothing more. Create a habit of just being quiet. After we learn to just be (and that might take some time), then a miracle happens: the mind starts to slow down, sometimes, not always. If we choose, we can compassionately direct our mind onto something: our breath, a sound, a sentence, a poem, an object. As the mind starts focusing on something, it starts to slow down even more and we can see glimpses of silence between thoughts. Ahhh…feeling a sense of calm and peace in the midst of everything.
Meditation is a wonderful tool to live a healthier and more present life. But let me warn you, as simple as it sounds, meditation is quiet challenging. Finding that minute to sit quietly every day is hard work! And stick with it it’s even harder…but it’s worthwhile!!
Come on, give it a try!