“People think meditation is a huge undertaking. Don’t think of it like that.”
“Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height. …It is essentially an individual adventure, something which each of us works out in his own way.”
~Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
I used to wonder sarcastically to myself why, with my addictive personality, I couldn’t get addicted to meditation. I had always heard meditation was a great pathway to deep inner peace, connection, relaxation – all the things I was seeking but didn’t have the patience to cultivate naturally.
For so long I resorted to the easier “instant gratification” approach of substances and alcohol for a quick, though temporary, ticket to that place. When that approach became thoroughly non-gratifying I knew it was time to face the music and get sober. I thought I was forever doomed to a glum, grin-and-bear-it, grind of a life.
To my delight, it turned out that leaning into the spiritual side of my nature uncovered a pathway to an even deeper inner peace, a more genuine connection with everything in my physical and non-physical world, and a sense of relaxed calmness in all of my relationships; most surprisingly the relationship with myself.
When I added a daily meditation practice into the mix about a year and a half ago, I experienced another exponential expansion.
People often say they cannot get into meditation; they are fidgety and do not feel they can still their minds. I relate. I don’t like sitting there feeling I am not doing it right. “So I didn’t try to tame my mind; instead I made friends with it,” says Edward Viljoen in his book “The Power of Meditation.”
What helped me was hearing that the objective is not to still the mind so it is completely void of thought. That is pretty much not going to happen. The nature of the mind is to be in motion. The objective is to practice slowing down the onslaught of thought, to cultivate the ability to observe the thoughts without getting swept up in their facts, emotions, and storylines…
I have come to think of my thoughts in meditation like the constant news loop that runs across the bottom of the television screen. I don’t have to focus there or read them, though I am aware of them. I keep my gaze and attention focused on the higher images on the screen and let the others just flow along.
Sitting still and observing my breath is definitely easier some days than others. But to my amazement, the consistency of the practice of it, even for 5 or 10 minutes at a time has been life changing for me. Later comes the possibility of recognizing the moments in between thoughts, or, I’m told observing myself observing my thoughts, but those are still advanced concepts that go away as soon as I get too close to them. I’m ok for now just doing the best I can each day.
Goldie Hawn describes meditation in her autobiography “A Lotus Grows in the Mud” like connecting with an old friend, that deeper part of her. “My consciousness feels like a teabag being dipped into a glass of hot water and lifted out again… becoming slowly saturated with nothingness… becoming heavier, sinking deeper and deeper…”
Sounds good to me.
I do know that AA, Science of Mind, and countless physical and emotional health programs suggest a meditation practice. The freedom to tailor it to one’s own preferences is generally encouraged. I found a meditation app that has a timer, bells and chimes, guided meditations and little stars for milestones reached. There are books and You-Tubes and classes.
It’s not about getting it right, it’s about doing it. Another one of those unexplainable things that when I just do it, no matter what, the gift continues to be revealed.
Give yourself this gift.
• Do you meditate?
• Do you prefer silent or guided meditations?
• What is the biggest benefit you have attained from this practice?
• What is the biggest benefit you believe you would attain if you engaged in this practice?
• Why don’t you?
In gratitude, harmony and support,