You either love it, or you possibly don’t fully understand it.
And that is the purpose of this blog.
To shed some light on what meditation really is and how it works, because too often I get told by people ‘Oh, but I can’t meditate’.
Upon asking a few more questions, I soon discover that what they believe meditation to be, isn’t entirely true.
‘I can’t still my mind.’ ‘My mind is always full of thoughts.’ ‘I can’t stop thinking!’
If this is you, you’re not that different to most people who meditate!
You see, the aim of meditation is not to have a thoughtless mind.
While this is something you want to work towards, this doesn’t define a good practice session.
The real aim of meditation, is to take 20-minutes out of your day, to sit down in a place where you won’t be disturbed (yep that means turn your phone off!!), and be with yourself.
Bring your awareness to your breath.
Notice how it feels to breathe in, and how it feels to breathe out.
Yes, simply focus on your breath.
When you notice a thought come in, notice that thought without judgement, then release it, and return your focus to the breath.
This is meditation.
Now to begin with, you will probably spend your whole meditation session noticing and releasing thoughts.
You’ll feel like the thoughts just keep flooding on in.
That’s absolutely ok.
With time and practise, there will become more time between each thought, as your mind gradually begins to slow down, so you can start to enjoy more of the presence of who you truly are, minus your thoughts.
We are not our thoughts.
Our thoughts are simply based on conditioning we have taken on from a really young age, and the beauty of a meditating, is that it gives us an opportunity to see beyond those thoughts, to who we truly are.
Sometime to keep mind, however, is that just as it takes many gym sessions to get a fit body, so too does it take many meditation sessions to get a fit mind.
So getting to the point where thoughts don’t come in as often, can take years of practice.
The thing to remember, is that regardless of how many thoughts came in during your meditation session, the fact that you sat down with yourself and followed the process, is all that matters.
It is this simple process of noticing thoughts and then letting them go, that gains you the results, not how many thoughts you did or didn’t have.
Understanding that meditation isn’t about being thoughtless really is the key.
Meditation is more than some airy fairy spiritual concept that Buddhists do for hours on end.
It is a super valuable tool to make life easier, happier and more fulfilling.
But what about time?
I barely have enough time to get through my days ‘to-do’ list as it is.
How can I fit in a meditation session as well?
As actor Hugh Jackman says, meditation helps you get more done, and likens meditation to a glass of water.
‘When you first pour it, it’s cloudy. When you’re stressed, that’s what your mind is like. It’s kinda cloudy. After I meditate all that sinks to the bottom and the water is clear. And the energy is finer. And the decisions you make are more authentic. And I think you’re more economical with your energy, with time, in everything. And you’re more able to listen to people.’
Jerry Seinfeld agrees.
‘You have a cell phone. Meditation is like someone giving you the charger.’
This is so very true.
The body needs to be recharged so it works at its optimum.
Once our energy begins to run low, our productivity diminishes, we become a little cranky and often feel more uptight.
Not the ideal environment for getting things done efficiently.
When you meditate daily, you have full charge – full bars – on the mobile that is your body.
The truth of the matter is, meditation gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused.
If you look at studies done at Harvard University Medical School study, they found that meditation lowers blood pressure, improves blood circulation, lowers the heart rate, reduces anxiety and stress, lowers blood cortisol levels, increases feelings of well-being and allows the body to enjoy deeper relaxation.
There are stacks of studies like this that support a regular meditation practice, but I’d actually prefer to share with you real human experiences with meditation.
Besides, meditation is so much more than what science can measure.
Meditation is a doorway into the soul.
Comedian, actor and activist, Russell Brand, says he is able to access a deeper state of happiness that is very profound and absolute.
‘I feel like separateness evaporates. I feel this tremendous sense of oneness. I’m quite an erratic thinker; quite an adrenalised person. But through meditation I’ve found this beautiful serenity and selfless connection. My tendency towards selfishness is exposed as superficial and a pointless way to act. I feel a very relaxed sense of oneness. I feel love, love or myself, and love for everybody else.’
And it is this feeling of oneness that helps us let go of our need to have more, our need to be better, to be someone else, and instead accept what is.
And revel in what is.
For, like I said, who we are, is not our thoughts.
We are so much greater than our thoughts.
And once we’re able to connect in with that deeper part of ourselves, we’re able to experience life in a more fulfilling way.
As Movie Director David Lynch says, ‘The more you meditate, the more your enjoyment of life grows.’
So I invite you to give meditation a go.
But don’t just do it once, commit to it for a full week – 20 minutes every day – and just see how you feel at the end of that week; what differences you notice in yourself.
If you want a little help, you may like to try a guided meditation.
There are stacks available.
The one I created is designed to help you go deeper into self-love, so you can accept and love yourself unconditionally.
Now it’s over to you!
I’d love to hear your experiences with meditation.
Has it given you profound insights? Did you find it a real struggle?
What came up for you in your meditation sessions?
Please leave a comment below, and lets start talking more about this beautiful practice of meditation.