So in this section I am going to give you a simple introduction to meditation. I hesitate to use the word meditation. To me, as well as many others, the word “meditation” conjures up the picture of a bearded man sitting cross-legged in front of an entrance to a cave or high on a mountain top. Climbing the mountain and reaching him is part of the arduous journey toward self-fulfilment, self-improvement. Once we find him we ask, “What is the meaning of life?” or “How do we achieve peace in ourselves and our lives?” This all-knowing man tells us the answers are “inside ourselves” and tells us to go and contemplate. I don’t know if that answer was worth the journey!
Well, I am not a wise man on a mountain. I am just like you — involved in life and work, seeking more serenity and calm in my life. I am still learning to do it better, using meditation as a guide on my journey. I invite you to take this journey yourselves. I invite you to use meditation to find the answers to your questions.
Relaxation through Meditation
My preference would be to call meditation relaxation – a conscious relaxation, and a chosen relaxation. These are words that are more universally understood, and comfortable. Constantly working toward the goal of discovering my own ability to reach a state of serenity, I have learned to meditate.
Meditating is actually easier than you might imagine. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation, maybe during an exercise class or to manage pain at the dentist or anxiety before a test; we start by paying attention to our breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the “mind clutter” that constantly tries to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the goal of clearing your mind; to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy. The result is, and I guarantee this, peace, serenity, calmness, eventually opening yourself to new insights.
Meditating for Life
Our world is fast, fun and exciting. It is also challenging, trying, demanding and frightening. These two sides of our lives produce stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and anticipation. Our bodies and minds can tolerate only so much of any of these. After a while, each of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, even unendurable.
No magic pill is available to eliminate these feelings. The reality, as the wise old man said, is that the answer is inside all of us. To manage these universal concerns we must go inside ourselves. Among the steps we can take is the learning and practicing of meditation.
What to Expect
With time and faith in the commitment to practice frequently, (daily meditating is ideal), during your meditation time you may “leave the moment.” A feeling of separation exists where the mind is clear, clean and blank. You will still hear sounds around you, but they will not interfere with your meditation.
Sometimes you may weep; you may not even be aware of what is making you weep. It is your own emotions having a voice of their own. Sometimes you may feel a smile across your face; that is contentment showing itself. Sometimes you may fall asleep and awaken truly refreshed.
There is no right or wrong behaviour during your meditation. It is your time for you. Everyone deserves this kind of personal attention. This is a self-care activity; loving oneself! Teach it to your children instead of a time-out in their room or corner. Teach it to your friends, family, anyone who will listen. We can share this gift and get back as we give. We are all better because of each person who meditates. The peace and joy felt by those who meditate enters the world for all of us as positive energy. From it the world is a better place. Imagine if we all practiced meditation!