“Only when the mind is tranquil—through self-knowledge and not through imposed self-discipline—only then, in that tranquility, in that silence, can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss, that there can be creative action.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
We all seek to find happiness. We all want to feel good. So what do we do?
We listen to our teachers, mainstream ads and those happy friends claiming meditation is the new “fix” that will ease our minds.
They tell us to sit upright, spine straight, chin tucked, shoulders back, relax and think of nothing. Sit in this likely-uncomfortable position for what may seem like an endless, irritable amount of time and wonder how long you need to stay for this to work. Perhaps you have set your meditation app to beep when the time is up, because surely a machine knows best the moment you can cease meditation and begin “normal” life again.
Is this the happiness we seek? Or is this just another authoritative rule we place on ourselves disguised as a pathway to bliss?
Is your meditation a fix to the problems of daily life? Is it performed in a specific, perhaps strict way? If so, it is likely a self-imposed order in the name of freedom. By using meditation as an “escape” from our everyday reality, we create a disconnection between the spiritual and material. Rather than relaxing into a calm, self-loving state, we push ourselves into a mold that modern society has formed to make us happy. But are we happy? Are we acting in self-love?
But are we happy? Are we acting in self-love?
The problem is that we place meditation outside our everyday norm rather than intertwining it throughout. We consistently disengage spirituality from materiality when they are in fact the same. Our own mind is internally and unconsciously conflicted with itself by the two realities we have fashioned: “meditation” or “spirituality” versus “real life.” We honor ourselves during only fragments of the day or maybe never at all. We force our practices and govern our lives reflecting the power-driven society around us. Everything is a struggle within and without.
By disengaging these two realities we live in a state of fragmentation. “Meditation is relaxing, my life is stressful. I love my yoga friends, but the people I work with are lame. My nose is great, but I hate my hips…”
Fragmentation has sadly become the way of life. We separate heart from mind, body from soul, work from play and ruler from ruled. But the universe is One. We are one.
Of course “meditation” will not bring us into a state of happiness if it is only practiced parts of the day. If meditation is a fix, rather than a lifestyle, then we have simply found another escape mechanism which may as well be watching a sitcom or having a beer. Again, we solidify the idea that spiritual practice is outside the realm of
Again, we solidify the idea that spiritual practice is outside the realm of everyday venture. We separate what is good and bad and live in this dichotomy where we are constantly struggling for something other. And, as society has taught, we replay the notion that control is the ultimate path to freedom…odd, right?
We do not have to sit for a certain amount of time to be happy. We can practice seated meditation or not, but how we live each moment is what will define our reality. How we perceive the world and ourselves in connection to it (or not) can make a difference. Happiness is not found in a practice, be it yoga or meditation. Struggle and pain can be out-lived in both of these. Happiness is an altered perception.
The true meaning of meditation is actually far different from the popular idea of a seated practice…
“A cat sits until it is done sitting, and then gets up, stretches, and walks away.”
~ Alan Watts
Think of a cat for example. Alert yet passive, he has no need for a timer to remind him that meditation hour is over. He is always in meditation.
Dhyana is the Sanskrit word for meditation. Broken into its two root words, we find the meaning: dhi = “to see well” and yana = “to drop/sacrifice.”
Dhyana is, thus, understanding reality in its truth, sacrificing the unreal and seeing clearly with the third eye. Meditation, then, is your life when you drop the bullshit, let go of drama and open your eyes past the veils of Maya, the illusion of separation, and realize your true nature. You are love. You are infinite. You have no boundaries. You are absolute bliss!
“A human being is part of a whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein
True meditation is freedom; it is living in bliss! Meditation is living in love with yourself and everything else every moment of every day. Like the cat, move gracefully and freely, pamper yourself and play! Realize that every material move you make is a spiritual one as well. So how do we accomplish this?
Four steps to reconnect the spiritual and material and love yourself every day:
1. Honor Yourself.
Start when you wake up.
When you shower, indulge! Massage your whole body from top to bottom. Bathe yourself in oil and caress every inch of skin. Wash your hands with reverence and gratitude. Notice even this is your spiritual practice as you stroke each finger with love.
In your sexuality, honor yourself! If we are constantly rushing to a finish line and trying to control, pushing to our pleasure, how high can we really get? Rather, be the essence of intimacy as you allow time and space to fade away and play with the magical uprisings within.
When you talk, remind yourself how amazing you are and tell others the same!
When you eat, nourish yourself! Cherish every flavor and take leisurely bites. Prepare wholesome, delectable meals.
Move with joy. Walk heart high and head up. Practice yoga asana with ease. Be in acceptance of what your body is capable of. If you are conforming yourself into pain and struggle, you have created yet another mirror reflecting your aching existence. Relax, enjoy and end the struggle now!
Dance wherever you are! Play your favorite tunes! Smile. Drop the drama and smile!
Relax! Decide that you can be truly happy. When we relax, we unlock the gateway to true meditation—true bliss.
2. Express Your True Self.
As we honor ourselves we become aware of our truth and express it. Follow your bliss! Whatever makes you happy, do! Go for what makes you really happy in a peaceful, content long-lasting way—not in that roller-coaster-ride-high before you go low. What makes you unhappy, do not!
3. Release All Fear.
Never be afraid to express your truth. The dog days of repression are over and now the revolution is creative explosion! Express and feel your emotions. They are your teachers. See if a reaction you have is part of a pattern, see if your reactions are conditioned responses from society or parents. Once you see a pattern, you can change it. You can stop re-acting and begin acting and creating your life.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
When you feel fear, take a sacred pause: breathe, be with your feelings and allow all to surface and move through you. Do not intellectualize, just be there. Take a pause before speaking or re-acting and feel. Relax! The fear will pass. The currents will calm. And once again you will feel your bliss and you will know in your whole being (heart, mind, body and soul—because all is one!) that you are okay. You will know that you are love!
4. Make Love to the World!
Without fear, we live, breathe and dance in meditation all the time. We make love to the world. Open your eyes to the beauty of the vastness within yourself and sense the creativity bursting to manifest. Once you see beauty in yourself, you see beauty everywhere!
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.”
~ David Hume
… And if you happen to find yourself sitting cross-legged, arms on thighs, spine upright with a sense of calm—be with it, knowing that meditation is your whole being as the illusion of separation falls away and truth is exposed.
Author: Monica Joan Schuman
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Chris Sardegna/Unsplash