Meditation: What it is and what it isn’t?
Meditation is a way to gain control over your emotions and get in touch with yourself. It is a method used for countless centuries, by yogis, shaman, monks seeking inner peace and more recently North Americans searching for release from the stress of their daily lives. There are many different practices, Transcendental, Vipassana, Samatha, Tranquility, Insight, Mantra, Chakra and Breath meditation to name only a few.
Meditation isn’t a quick fix, it is not a religion and not a way to talk to your grandmother who passed away. You will not obtain supernatural powers or learn which horse will win the Derby.
Meditation is a technique of quieting the mind to a point where you can experience a slow down, in thinking and in physical activity. Sitting on the meditation cushion or in my case the chair, allows me to be quiet. An opportunity to quiet my mind, to slowly eliminate the thousands of thoughts streaming through my consciousness every second of every day. My mind seems to have a dozen voices telling me what I should do or shouldn’t do at any given moment. Do this, No don’t do that, add this to the shopping list, remember to pick up the kids, wasn’t that bank teller simply rude and I wish my boss wasn’t such an idiot making my life a living H.E. Double hockey sticks.
Much has been written about meditation. Many religions use it as part of their rituals. Some consider it prayer other religions have based their philosophy around it and teach it as an integral way of life. Shamans use meditation and trance as a way to access spiritual insight and a deep inner knowledge for healing or leading their people. Science has caught up and has been studying the effects of meditation on Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Anxiety, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all with promising statistics being published in Journals and Magazines.
My experience with meditation has brought me a calm more stable happiness, my relationship with my spouse has improved, I am more tolerant of others, and feel more compassion and empathy for people and their situations especially when they are different from mine. I no longer worry about the little things. I understand myself better and am less afraid to stand up for myself and what I believe to be right. My anxiety and depression are held in check and I sleep so much better, not longer, but a more restful and restorative sleep.
I meditate every day, 5 minutes at a time or longer up to an hour in total. Optimally, I do ½ hour of walking meditation which helps me improve my patience and tolerance and ½ hour sitting meditation which helps me quiet the chaos in my mind so I can just sit and be with myself. At times my mind will not cooperate and wanders endlessly. I view my mind as a small child touching and looking at everything with it’s short attention span. Gently I bring it back to the job at hand without chiding myself for it’s waywardness. This is where patience and tolerance are strengthened. Learning to notice when I am not focusing on point and how to be gentle with myself. Each time I bring my mind back, each time I stay on point longer and longer I am strengthening my willpower, increasing my ability to be patient and building a tolerance within myself to the way things are.
This is what meditation is. Accepting that thoughts come and go, arise and fall, appear and disappear. Like the clouds on a warm day developing out of the thin air into large airy puffs of cotton. I notice them, but my attention is maintained on meditating. I do not become involved with my thoughts or emotions. They are simply there, not what I focus on, They are not in control. I am.
Meditation is the path to peacefulness
CB Dec 2014