The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation.

Via Ed & Deb Shapiro
on Jul 5, 2012
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Honestly speaking, we cannot imagine how our lives would be without meditation.

As soon as we become still and quiet we enter a calm spaciousness within which questions are answered, while difference and dramas dissolve. Such stillness always comes as a great relief from the madness each day can contain.

Some years ago we were attending a silent meditation retreat. Each day we were asked if we were feeling happier than we were the day before. The inquiring monk had a contagious smile, knowing that we were each confronting numerous obstacles to our happiness, primarily the ones in our own heads.

Yet despite his humor, the monk’s question was sincere. If we were not beginning to feel happier from practicing meditation, then what was the point of doing it?

We were asked the same question each day. To begin with, this emphasized how preoccupied we were with inner confusion, doubts, conflicts and discomfort—even how difficulties could actually feel more familiar than joy. Yet, why be there if we were struggling so much that we weren’t enjoying it?

Our smiley monk was teaching us that it is vital to make friends with meditation, that it is not our adversary. Rather, meditation is a companion to have throughout life, like a best friend we turn to when things get hard to deal with and we are in need of inspiration, clarity, and even inner happiness.

Admittedly, meditation can sometimes seem insurmountable, but it is our own mind that contains the obstacles, not the practice of sitting quietly, as the chattering mind can create endless dramas. Practicing meditation means slowly and gently training the mind to do something it may not have done before: be quiet and still.

One way to overcome resistance and make meditation your friend is to start by just sitting for a few minutes at a time, instead of feeling you have to meditate, and then feeling guilty if you miss the allotted time or only do 10 minutes when you had said you would do 30. It’s far more important to practice for just a few minutes and to enjoy what you are doing, than to sit there, teeth gritted, because you have been told that only thirty minutes will have any affect.

If your purpose is to try to achieve a quiet mind then the trying itself will create tension and failure. Instead, you are just with whatever is happening in the moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. No judgment, no right or wrong. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that is required. It is more of an undoing than a doing.

During meditation we gently let go of distractions so we can genuinely be present. Like a child watching an ant walking down the sidewalk carrying a crumb, that is all that exists in their world at that moment. They are not thinking about what they had for breakfast, or what they will do with their best friend at their next play date. They are only watching the ant.

Meditation enables us to stop trying, to let go of the story, the dramas, our stressed mind, and to discover an inner easefulness. Some people describe this as a sense of coming home, as if they had been away or out of touch with themselves without even realizing it; others experience it as a huge relief as there is a release of anxiety and self-centeredness and they enter into a more peaceful state of being. And many feel as if they are simply hanging out with a good old friend, always there when needed.


Meditation Is Not What You Think

A four-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro on discovering the greatest gift you can give yourself: meditation. Clear your mind, open your heart, and dive into the wonder of your own true self. Starts July 9th. You can still sign up, join live and hear missed classes.


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Ed & Deb Shapiro

Ed & Deb Shapiro are the authors of new The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have six meditation CDs. See more at their website.


35 Responses to “The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation.”

  1. Nicely done… the irony here is that we become friends with meditation to get rid of the mind… only to find ourselves becoming friends with it once our practice is over.

    • ed shapiro says:

      we don't actually get rid of the mind – we just wake up – see clearly – the mind becomes a servant – no longer the master!
      we see through the ego nonsense – the 'me' fixation – we realize the wisdom mind that transcends the limited self-centered monkey mind!
      being present – having fun – & not taking ourselves too serious :-))
      Enjoy the journey,

  2. Ed, I would take you very seriously if the mind was centered in the heart… what could anyone possibly attain beyond that?! 🙂

  3. […] older, Tim jumped into a yoga and meditation practice to prevent burnout. He encourages mindfulness as a preventative approach all across the […]

  4. Wonderful – awesome article!

  5. […] people are turning to meditation and mindfulness as a way to help them cope with the stresses of […]

  6. […] with nature—your own true nature—and you will experience greater health and happiness. 1. Meditate: Meditation is the best tool for purifying the mind. It is not only good for your mind, but also for your body. There are many forms of meditation you […]

  7. Daniel says:

    Nice article! I just need to stop worried about future, and let my mind empty.

    • ed shapiro says:

      let your mind do it's thing whatever just don't give it power by engaging, by buying into the dramas!
      Just be the witness – just be aware you are not the mind! see thoughts as just thoughts that come & go!
      enjoy the journey!

  8. […] and resulting wellbeing have always been noted and appreciated, the true focus was on achieving a calm, quiet mind so that one could attain enlightenment, true bliss and union with the Divine (known as […]

  9. […] two months we held our courtship by phone. About three weeks into it, Miguel found out that his three-year retreat was being cancelled. He was pretty heart-broken after spending years preparing himself, but he got […]

  10. I strongly agree with this article. Meditation does make a difference. Your head feels a bit heavier, as you are grounded!

  11. Dr.vk sharma says:

    Ed and Deb
    Very nice interpretation of VIPPASSANA.
    This is not only meditation But right definition is Ultimate psychology of NATURE, which can turn whole mental behaviour pattern.
    Appreciable !

  12. ed shapiro says:

    Dr. vk sharma you are kind!
    Much metta,
    Ed (Jygme Powa)

  13. […] I added meditation into my morning mix after a teacher on a yoga retreat described meditation as […]

  14. […] feel that in sitting practice means there’s listening and sound—you can feel the restlessness (dukkha) when listening to a […]

  15. […] thought that I could escape from my life and my problems when I first began practicing meditation. I wanted to become enlightened since the moment I heard of enlightenment. I did not want to spend […]

  16. […] summer afternoon during a meditation retreat, I discovered that I contain the entire […]

  17. […] surface and invites us to express our innermost thoughts and emotions. Perhaps, this is during a daily seated meditation or a serene walk into the evening […]

  18. […] Let your awareness become as intimate with the experience as you can. […]

  19. […] Meditation can be hard to do; although it seems like you are doing nothing, it’s challenging to quiet the mind and its never-ending mental to-do lists. […]

  20. […] it be that we are describing the state of yoga when we exclaim to our friends that something “took my breath […]

  21. […] deepen your breath, and give yourself permission to have a blank mind for ten minutes. Call it meditation, or don’t. When you feel overwhelmed, try to take time for a conscious breath to […]

  22. […] paper. That’s too bad because I have some interesting experiences to share regarding my own meditation practice that would be relevant to the subject of Zen practice. I would argue that I know much more […]

  23. […] As we get quiet and relinquish control in meditation, we are able to open to the world of intuitive guidance. […]

  24. […] will it take for us to change from the inside out and generate genuine peace? Rather than being made to change by laws or governance, the real […]

  25. […] There is a practice that many have learned to cope with such things. […]

  26. OleManJake says:

    Yoga is the best practice I've found for what I initially thought would be physical only. Once I began a mediation practice, well that just changed the whole game for me. Nice article!

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