What is Mediation?
I will assume that many of you have heard of mediation, and have heard the wide spread benefits of it, including decrease stress, decrease risk of disease, increased happiness, and so forth. When I first heard the word “meditation”, I simply thought it was to sit silently in one spot for a few minutes and just allow your mind to do what it does. My mind, for example, would be thinking of the thousand and one things that I needed to do that day and the hundred other things I needed to do the next day and how to make that person like me AND why said person needs to like, etc.
(Photo - Sketch from friend Paul Niles. This was my first pose for my very first "yoga challenge". )
Needless to say, after my time spent up on the mountain for my 200 Yoga Teacher Training, I learned that yes, mediation is to sit silently in one spot for a certain amount of time. But the most crucial part of meditation is to “ quiet the mind”. Now for someone who’s mind won’t shut up for even a second, this came as a very large and seemingly impossible task. And of course, with practice I began to realize that in quieting the mind I was truly able to see what was inside my mind, universal peace.
(Photo - Keihi, Maui. Pure bliss. Woke up every morning, had coffee and meditation with the ocean.)
Now, I will not lie to you, like the practice of Yoga, meditation is the same, a practice. Some days I can get to a point of quiet and peace within my mind, where thought waves just pass by like the wind on a warm spring day. Then there are days where I am playing tug a war with my myself, not only trying to sit still and stop thinking about my sore back, but also to keep my mind from straying off and thinking about everything that I feel is important at the time.
(Photo - recently taken at Mount Madonna Center during my 200 YYT journey. )
For those who are beginning their mediation journey, I guess what I am trying to say is, it takes time. Do not beat yourself up for allowing your mind to do what it has been trained to do your whole life. Be patient with your practice, and mostly, be KIND to yourself. Kindness goes a long way, especially when you choose kindness toward your own self. Thank yourself for taking the time to mediate ( even if it is for one minute), thank your body for being still ( even it if fought you the whole time) and thank your mind for allowing you to practice an art that will lead you to universal happiness and peace.