18 Oct 2015
Many people think that meditation is about stopping your thoughts and trying to ‘think nothing.’
Nothing could be further from the truth. Meditation is the ability to witness without action that which is true about your inner experience. It is about allowing the thoughts and feelings that are churning to be as they are- churn and all. Meditation does not ask us to change what we are thinking or remove what we are thinking and replace it with nothing. It is not possible to stop thinking or feeling. Meditation will not make you a ‘good’ person and it may even open up an undercurrent of pain and sorrow you’ve been keeping at bay for years. So why on Earth would I want to meditate?
There is no better activity to engage in than locating what is true about you, life, and others. If you have sorrow or anger, ignoring those feelings or pretending you don’t have them will not make them go away. Acknowledging them will. Meditation is the practice of looking at how you feel and what you are thinking without judgement, as we might gaze at fish in an aquarium and note the color and size variations.
All that is- fades away. When we die, we take nothing with us except the awareness of self and others we achieved in this lifetime. That awareness will have a direct effect on what becomes of our inherent self beyond this life. We are a continuum of energy through and beyond time and space learning, shaping, and evolving all that is. We are the event horizon of what is possible.
When we meditate (when we allow what is going on inside to be witnessed) we discover that our thoughts and feelings are like weather. They come and go in a variety of conditions but there is always a constant space containing them. That constant space is the real you, the eternal you which holds space for wind, rain, snow, or sun.
Learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life time. Developing the ability to see what is allows you to live- and die- well. A lifetime spent focusing on metaphysical awareness is a life time very well spent because at the end of this life all we will take with us is a metaphysical awareness of self. We will journey forth into another manifestation with the understanding gained in this lifetime. Let all your worldly goals be grounded in an experience of peace and exploration. Let what you do in life be how you learn about that which is beyond your daily life. All careers have a spiritual dimension that wants to be connected to, whether you are a doctor, lawyer, computer programmer, or life guard, the motivations of your work come from a metaphysical state of being. Meditation connects you to that dimension.
To meditate is to make a complete break from how we normally operate. Life requires effort. Meditation requires learning how to not make an effort, how to be with what is. Releasing thought patterns does not happen by putting effort into trying to release them. They cling and cycle round when we do that. Not wanting something to be there is a form of effort known as resistance. When we ‘straight arm’ something, and try to get rid of it, we in turn end up making more of that situation. By admitting that the thought or feeling is there and acknowledging that it is stronger than us, we give it space to be as it is. In that space, it changes and dissolves away.
The mind is much more than just the seat of our conscious awareness. It is the seat of our memories, our imagination, our sleep cycles, our digestion, and much more. Our mind has the ability to observe itself and make changes from within. We can train the mind to be calm.
The purpose of meditation is to introduce us to that which we really are- the energy form that shifts from form to form across time and space. Meditation will not make you a “good person” and you do not “need” to do it to be devout or worthy of anything. It is not a religious activity used for social control. Meditation will lead you through the true condition of your mental emotional state and will eventually lift you into an awareness that you are Good. This is not the same as saying you are a good person because that depends on cultural and social value systems beyond your control. Meditation is a journey back to your original state which is Goodness itself. All ancient sacred texts begin with some form of the statement- it is, and it is good. This core fundamental truth about reality is easily lost in the flux and chaos of daily life. Meditation brings it back.
How to meditate?
If you want to give it a try- there are a variety of ways to go about it. Methods are only tools towards the actual activity. Methods are like paper maps. You would not pick up a map of Paris and think you’d arrived in Paris. The map is how you will get there. There are many ways to get there. No one way is the only way.
One method for meditation is to find a mantra sound that you place in your mind and repeat silently for 20 minutes. Whenever the mind wanders you return to the sound of the mantra. Transcendental meditation offers silent mantras but you can use any mantra sound you want. Om, Sat Nam, Om Shanti, Ong Namo, Hud, Hud, Hud… the sounds of mantras are numerous. You could even try signing yourself a word such as ‘love’ or ‘peace’ or whatever word you like and then investigating its sound qualities when said silently. The purpose of a silent mantra is to serve as a center piece to return to when you get lost in thought as you are sure to do every time you sit down to meditate. It is a mirror so that you become aware that you are thinking rather than just get consumed by the content of thoughts.
Another way to meditate is with verbal chanting out loud. A common verbal chant would be all Kundalini yoga mantras as well as the Buddhist mantra- Nam Yo Ho Renge Kio. Repeating mantras out loud has a similar effect on the mind as the silent mantra in that it shifts it out of the verbal into the non verbal. And chanting adds in the experience of ones own voice. Every day is different when it comes to the sound of your voice and your voice can stir up lots of emotions which are good to make space for. Embarrassment, frustration, fear of mistakes… are all brought to the surface with verbal chanting and it can feel like taking a shower, clearing and accepting the self…off-key as you may be.
Another form of meditation is with the use of Yantras. These are visual tools that are gazed at with the eyes open and then eventually held in the mind with eyes closed. Yantras are a fascinating journey that can only be experienced. And using the ancient symbols from India and Tibet are recommended as they hold a real vibrational power that other objects do not have. A yantra should have a circle and a triangle in its design as well as a center dot.
Taking time through meditation to reconnect with this ultimate truth of you will connect all your actions to a higher source of eternal energy and fill your activities with a greater grounded purpose…so…
If mantras interest you- there is a treasure trove of mantra music to be discovered on spiritvoyagemusic.com. One of the leading voices for this new genre of music is Snatam Kaur. Here she is chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo… Truth is my identity, truth is me, I am truth…