Meditation Will Make You a Jedi…And It’s Not So Hard
I have become increasingly convinced over the past seven years that my meditation practice has been the single most important change I’ve made to my life. The older I get, the more I realize that life continues on in waves and waves, sometimes mild and gentle, sometimes torrential. It’s so easy to get lost in “what’s happening,” to be unseated, unbalanced, unhinged. My practice has kept me steady, centered, calm. It has given me relief, insight when I needed it most, comfort. It has brought me Home. No matter what state I enter my meditation, I always leave with better energy. It’s different each time. Sometimes I feel rejuvenated. Sometimes calmer. At times clearer, having touched some insight or wisdom. Sometimes exuberant. Always better.
It’s not so hard! You might like it.
When I tell people I meditate, it’s still uncommon enough that I get questioning looks. While the West has forms of meditation such as prayer and contemplation, I think meditation is still looked upon as mystical and well, for the monks and New Age yogis. Most people think it’s really hard. I only discovered meditation seven years ago…and it was through a lot of fumbling and experimentation, until I found my practice. It may be initially unfamiliar but it’s not hard, not if you find the right practice for you. It’s actually extremely enjoyable. I crave it like a jogger craves a run.
I meditate to listen.
Why do it? The initial goal is to calm your mind, calm your thoughts. What for? So you can HEAR. So you can LISTEN. To your body, to internal guidance, to Spirit, your Higher Self, the Force, Nature, God…whatever and whomever it is you seek. And if you seek Nothing, that is also very good too. Meditation is only about disconnecting from your mind and your thoughts so that you can experience life and existence via other senses. Other than sleeping, it’s the best way to not be ruled by your endless mind-chatter. It’s not about sitting still and going blank. For me, meditation is about plugging back in, to rest and re-energize, to gain insight and clarity, to know truth.
Meditating isn’t about squashing your thoughts, your mind. In meditation, you can learn to notice the source of what ignites your mental engine, your fears, your worries, your anxieties. You can spot inspiration and creativity. In listening, in observing, you actually know your thoughts, rather than get lost in them.
Pick your trick.
My clients often tell me they can’t sit still long enough, or their thoughts are rampant. If that sounds like you, then you’re the PERFECT candidate for meditation! In the beginning, it truly can be a little unnerving to hear the roar of your own mind. When you first go quiet and listen, you realize how noisy and uncontrolled your thoughts seem. That’s why there are tricks! Just like exercising, there are many, many ways to meditate. Following breath. Counting. Moving meditation. Mantras. Guided Meditations. Visualizations. Something and anything to distract your focus on your thoughts and direct your attention.
I prefer starting people out with a focused visualization, so that your mind is busy and directed, yet you don’t feel the pressures of being “quiet.” You learn to watch and observe everything, including the monkey thoughts. After a while, when thoughts get your detached attention, they will go away too. Don’t give up if one meditation practice doesn’t work for you. Try another trick.
My hypothesis is that meditation is a way for us to learn how to actually use our massive mind and all of our senses. It’s like developing Jedi skills. One who has mastered meditation can be in a meditative state with eyes wide open, traveling through life. The mind is calm, useful when needed, but otherwise, you learn to observe more, and not miss what is truly important or trying to get your attention. You become more focused and synchronous with flow and attuned to internal instincts. You are relaxed and alert. And much more aware of unhelpful stories that your lizard brain storyteller tries to hypnotize you with. I’m no Jedi yet, but it’s pretty tremendous to have Jedi moments.
There are so many ways to meditate, to drop in, to sync up that I’ll be sure to blog more about it in the future. For now, just try sitting for 5 minutes and breathing. Breathe into your belly. Or go stare at the ocean, a tree, or the stars, and breathe. Nature is a wonderful meditation assistant. Try dropping your attention into your body, feel what it’s like to live inside yourself or to feel the feelings that Nature generates within you, instead of being fixated on what’s in your head. Go easy with yourself and just experiment. Give it a try and I’d love to hear about how it goes.