Google’s definition of meditate: “think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”
You know, I think it’s really interesting when people tell me they “can’t meditate.”
I get it, I do. Stillness and silence is frustrating, uncomfortable and often seems unattainable. Not to mention it’s annoying to hear people talk about it all the time. We all know and have heard the wonderful benefits of a regular (or even random) meditation practice, so I will not go into that here.
What I find funny, though, is how people say they can’t meditate, when truthfully there are a myriad of ways to go about it. Saying everyone’s form of meditation should look the same is like saying all humans should look the same. Sure, the core is united, but the outside shape takes a form as varied as the autumn leaves, as different as the beautiful bodies we see across continents.
Traditionally, strenuous physical asana (or yoga poses) like sun salutations were created so that teenage boys could find a way to channel and focus their abundant and often excessive energy—the end goal being a calm state of mind and the flexibility that enables one to sit comfortably for meditation.
My point is that, first, they had to get their energy out! So, if sitting on a cushion chanting Aum is not your thing because it drives you crazy, find something that is your thing! For some that looks like riding a motorcycle across country, shredding the gnar to find that perfect line amongst mountain tops, swimming in the surf or sitting alone in a peaceful place. To me, all of these are ways of finding and obtaining that state of focused relaxation: zen.
They all look and feel different.
“Because of a long history of misunderstandings about what meditation really is, it is easy to fall into the delusion that a forced stillness is the same as one that is relaxed and natural. They might look similar to the untrained eye, but they are not.
Anything you lock up in a cage will just come back to bite you as soon as you let your guard down. If you can’t sit still, then run and keep on running until you drop from exhaustion. It will be better for you than tying yourself to a meditation bench with repressive and unnatural force.” ~ The Tao Oracle
This is the quote that inspired this article. Exactly. If you need to run, run. If you need to get your anger out, get your anger out. Don’t force yourself into something that really doesn’t feel right to do. I like to remind myself: if it feels good, do it; if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
“Meditation should not be a serious, hard-to-manage affair; rather, it is as natural as breathing, and as awakening as fresh mountain air.” ~ The Tao Oracle
Find what brings you peace and relaxes you: explore; create; withdraw; dance; run; breathe; make love; drink wine; eat chocolate; volunteer; go to church; worship at a temple; fast.
You can meditate. You’ve always been able to.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Sam Howzit/Flickr