Meditation is often seen as some kind of spiritual process where one connects with a higher power and for some practitioners it is. Meditation is commonly attached to eastern mysticism and because of this some people make it appear more than it is, or at least they make it appear complex. But meditation is nothing of the sort, it is simply just being still, nothing more and nothing less.
Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality
Thich Nhat Hanh
What is Meditation?
Meditation can be done sitting, standing, laying down and even in movement. Each type of meditation has it’s own benefit and purpose. Of course sitting still and focusing on the breath takes a different level of focus than say meditation while walking. The common factor is that we stop, focus on the breath or sound or in some instances a single point.
Meditation can be done with eyes open or eyes closed, depending on the type of meditation you practice. Some forms of Buddhism say that eyes open is preferable because Buddha is always shown practicing with his eyes open (only slightly by the way). The reason for this is to be fully aware and open to what is going on around you.
Meditation is not sleeping or even to a point it is not relaxing.
Meditation is a fully aware state, with focus on a support such as breath, sound or a single focus point.
Meditation is just being, stopping from doing and allowing yourself to be still. That’s it.
Why I Practice Meditation
I started to practice meditation formally when I needed to find a way to deal with my life falling apart. I was introduced to meditation when exploring Buddhism and learnt to meditate using the methods I was introduced to through Buddhist teachings.
I practice because I know that without a daily meditation practice I fall back into a very unconscious way of life. I allow my thoughts to take control, I begin to live in my mind and start to feel disconnected to life. In essence without meditation I feel that my life just slips by without me being in it. Of course that is because I know what it’s like to live mindfully and so have a point of reference.
Sometimes I feel a resistance to meditation because I want to avoid certain things that maybe I find uncomfortable but in the end I know that I must look towards whatever it is so I can deal with it. And I choose to do that through meditation because
There is no need to go outside – In stillness comes the answers
Does That Mean I Can Stop Thinking?
This is a very common question, people tend to think that meditation means we stop thinking when actually that is not possible. Our mind thinks non stop, it can’t stop. What meditation does is make you see that your thoughts are fluid, they just keep going, yet we tend to try to cling to them as if they are our reality.
Meditation teaches you how to stand back, watch your thoughts pass by while you acknowledge them but give them no real attention. And with this you are able to live more peacefully in the present moment. After all the past and the future can only live in your mind, the only moment that you can live in is the present one.
So if you want to start practicing meditation, just sit somewhere quiet. Close or open your eyes it’s up to you. And sit, breath and do nothing else. Do this daily and see what happens.