Three things to know before you spend another minute on your meditation mat:
Ever feel like you sit down to meditate and are instantly filled with restlessness to get back up and move? Ever meditated for a period of time and it didn’t slow your thoughts one little bit?
These are the most common reasons for people giving up their meditation practice.
Here are three essential tips to dispel the false myths about meditation and get you meditating like a sage.
1. Restlessness is natural: In the beginning when we first sit to meditate, we all feel like our bodies just want to explode into movement. We can be soooo busy day to day that as soon as we stop, the body often feels too restless to sit.
“What are you stopping for?” says the mind, “There are lots of things you need to get done. Move, move, move, you lazy sod!”
Ha! This is normal! The first step when we sit is to observe the body and the mind’s willingness (or lack of) to be still. Observe the urge to move. Watch it. Get to know it well, but keep sitting. Some days, it will feel easy to sit and other days hard, but there will always be a few moments where we will need to simply observe the restlessness and as with all things, it will pass. Keep persisting.
2. Mental noise is natural: Many of us have been wrongly informed that meditation is a skill simply for stilling our minds. Stilling the mind is just one benefit that meditation can offer, however, there are many times when our minds have been so absorbed in life, that when we finally stop, our thoughts can increase 10-fold. Blah blah blah and off it goes with its running commentary as soon as we close our eyes!
This is normal.
When we haven’t been paying much attention, or giving presence to the quality of our thoughts during the day and we finally sit and close our eyes, the mind will often go nuts trying to get our attention. All the areas for concern will be raised, our minds say, “Ok, now I have your attention, there is this you need to worry about and that, oh and this; don’t forget about that and if you don’t do that, this will probably happen and here is a little short film of a stressful situation I put together for you to look at.”
Ha ha! Does this sound familiar? The key is to not try and control the mind or force it to stop, or change. Simply observe and don’t entertain the thought, allow the mind to unravel itself in its own time, while we focus on our breath or simply witness the mental patterns without getting involved.
Be the silent witness of the madness within our thoughts. If it slows down, fabulous, if it stays the same, fabulous; if the speed of our thoughts increases: fabulous!
Changing the speed is not the aim, becoming the silent witness is.
3. The observer is more important than the observed: Once we have become more comfortable with observing the restlessness of body and mind and we have become aware of our usual mental/emotional patterns, we are then ready for the ultimate point of meditation. When we move our focus from observing the many sensations, thoughts and feelings we can then turn to face the silent observer! Boom. The truth of who we are is then revealed in all its vast and boundless glory.
All the peace, love, freedom and power we have ever searched for is then uncovered: always present, just overlooked by our obsession with phenomena, whose nature is to comes and go. The silent observer’s nature is unchanging and the essence of who we are.
Eternal, silent, aware, limitless!
May we continue practicing meditation until we have recognized the essence of who we are and have discovered the treasure that is our true nature!
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Assistant Ed: Bronwyn Petry/Ed: Bryonie Wise