Let me begin by telling you what meditation is NOT…
Meditation is not concentration.
Meditation is not focused effort.
In meditation you are not trying to stop your mind from thinking.
At the root of any personal development or growth is meditation – the vehicle into your inward adventure. Since any sort of personal improvement involves the self, meditation can’t be escaped. I mentioned in my other post that you are not your thoughts. Meditation allows you to become aware of your never ending stream of thoughts and gives you an opportunity to disassociate yourself from these thoughts. You watch them as they come across your mind and just as simply let them go by not putting any thought to them – like cars driving across the highway. You watch them pass – not wondering where they came from, what they mean, where will they go. You just acknowledge their mere existence and move on.
It’s so simple for your mind to wander, and quite difficult to not let it take you on a journey with it. It’s not a simple task. It takes practice, practice, practice. Just as physical exercise requires training, meditation requires training. I won’t use the word effort, because meditation is not effort. Meditation is a state of complete and deep relaxation. Only when your body is in a state of relaxation can the mind begin to relax as well. It is in this state of no effort that meditation can take place.
Many teachings say to focus on your breath when meditating. I agree with the notion of bringing your attention to your breathing, but I do not encourage you to put focused effort on breathing. Breathing happens naturally – the in follows the out whether you think about it or not. Rather, I would motivate you to listen to your breath. Whenever a thought enters your reality, tune it out and listen to the sound of your breath. Instead of thinking “breath in”, “breath out” – try listening to the sound that your automatic breath makes by getting deeper into relaxation.
Try beginning or ending your day with a short meditation – 10-15 minutes is a great starting mark. There are plenty of apps online that allow you to set a timer and sound an epic chime or bowl to let you know you’re finished.
Becoming aware is the first step to making a positive change. Meditation is a practice but also a state of being. Incorporate a meditative way of being into your daily activities. Be present in the things you’re doing – if you’re brushing your teeth, brush your teeth. Don’t brush your teeth and schedule all of April in your head. Disassociate yourselves from your thoughts – get to know yourself a little and enjoy the process.