What is Meditation?
"Straightforward and simple (but not easy) meditation is essentially training our attentions that we can be more aware - not only of our own inner workings but also of what's happening around us in the here and now. Once we see clearly what's going on in the moment, we can choose whether and how to act on what we are seeing' Sharon Salzberg
Meditation is not escapism, daydreaming or being unconscious, we are not trying to escape from life, clear the mind or empty them. We are not trying to stop thoughts or change feelings and emotions. The idea that we are tuning off or trying to ignore, discard or forget problems is not what meditation is about. You are not running away from a crisis in life, and it is not religious thing. It is not something that you have to be good at and what is also thought of it must take hours. People may believe, you must sit with twisted legs in a lotus position making some weird sounds, and that you must have to spend a long time in a mediation state to be able to achieve a good practice. It may be thought that you must see a bright light or lots of colours, achieve an outside body experience. This isn’t what meditation is about. It may be thought to be a good meditator you must follow a spiritual journey through India (this is a possibility, but it is not a must) or be part of a religious organisation. You need to shave your head and become a monk. You must go and live in Tibet sit on top of a mountain or be in a temple. You must wear the right clothes to improve practice, you must look like you are meditating. Meditation isn’t a new thing that’s just come out, a trend, a fad that everyone is doing.
My own definition on meditation is it’s a practice of our attention being aware. A practice that brings attention to what is happening not only inwardly but externally too. Meditation is a connection. I believe it to give us a deeper awareness of our thoughts and how they can control us. We don’t want to be controlled by our thoughts, I mean they are just thoughts going round in your head, one thought provokes another and before you even know it what you were thinking of is nowhere to be found. Once you begin to meditate you are slowing down your mind and body. You are allowing yourself time to sit and observe, first your breath, which we take for granted but by just focusing on the breath it immediately regulates us to a centred place. How can we ignore something so important to our being, if we are breathing, we are alive right? If we were not to draw another breath, we would not be here living our life. When we start to observe our thoughts, we can begin to see them for what they are, thoughts, and not an epic movie of events that might or might not happen. We allow this chaos to enter our minds and take over losing control. Through meditation we allow ourselves the time and space we need, a chance to put things into perspective and it allows us to be more mindful of not only how we feel but of others too. This can have a huge impact on both our physical and emotional wellbeing. Though meditation we begin to look inwardly which clears the path for our outlook vision. This all has a roll-on effect to the way you begin to see life. In a society where most people you talk to say ‘oh no I don’t have 10 minutes to sit down and meditate, I am far too busy’ well that says it all. If you are far too busy you obviously have your foot down on the gas pedal going ten to a dozen. By meditating you are allowing yourself to refuel. If your car was out of petrol, you wouldn’t keep trying to drive it! So, meditation is the same, you are allowing yourself the time and space to function in life. You are looking after your mind and body and giving it the attention that it deserves. You are opening to kindness and compassion allowing it into your life, allowing yourself to be the best version possible. Meditation is an awakening to the wonders of our life, it is nurturing a learning and understanding of the possibilities that you might not have thought possible. Meditation allows you to be you, accepting yourself and giving yourself the love and kindness that you deserve. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, no certain time to practice, all that matters is that you are doing what is right for you. We are all individuals all getting different experience’s from doing the same thing, possibly in the same room but that is the beauty of meditation anyone can do it and once you start it becomes a practice for life.
The important thing is to explore different types of meditation - find a technique that suits you.
We all go into meditation for different reasons, that is the wonderful thing about meditating everyone will have a unique experience.