Too many mornings, I chose email over mediation, I chose twitter time over introspection time. Too many nights, I collapsed into deep sleep without taking a moment to quiet the mind and reflect on the day. Too many days in 2010, I chose impulsively rather than consciously. The heart longed to make meditation a ritual, a habit, a permanent part of daily life and yet, the body and the stubborn mind won the negotiation game far too often. I love doing – prolific living is the essence of a productive, rich, and creative life. But doing does not complete us without the being.
Even reflection on a fantastic year of accomplishments, new friendships, exotic travels, and beautiful memories begs for what I can do better tomorrow, next year, and for the rest of my days. After all, it is about evolving to our very best self one tiny habit at a time. Some habits come harder than others and it means one thing only – we need them all the more so giving up or giving in is out of the question. Period. We simply change the game. We simply alter the approach. We refine and rebuild and restart and rediscover. We do it as many times as it takes until habits are born and are here to stay.
An intent to renew my cup of meditation, however many times it may take. And these days, the most amazing audio tracks I have found in Re-Awakening, which is done by one of my friends whose voice takes me to an absolutely heavenly place and for which I am a proud advocate and affiliate.
Who meditates, you wonder? Anyone and everyone. Meditation is not an exclusive ritual for yoga teachers and Buddhist Monks. Meditation is not a religion or a cult or voodoo magic. Singers and dancers meditate before a performance. Pro-football players meditate before a game, even if they don’t admit it. Soldiers meditate before going into battle. Entrepreneurs meditate to quiet their mind and focus on a single strategy or plan. Smart executives meditate before making serious business decisions. A big group in India just finished a mediation session and a yoga class somewhere is about to start one.
Ordinary people like you and me – we too can, and I argue should, meditate.
Schedules fall apart when it comes to meditation especially if you have no particular routine in your life. Trust me on this one. The lifestyle departure from the norm has its ups and downs. The creative mind rejects scheduled appointments and on top of it all, regular travel to different places brutally tests your intentions.
I let meditation slip by for the most part but you cannot say I didn’t try. I tried to read and study meditation. I tried to commit over and over with partial success. I tried to schedule it daily. I tried to keep track of every session. I tried to encourage myself to work up to twice a day. I tried to convince myself how tremendously beneficial this is for me. I tried, I tried, I really and truly did try.
Try. A lousy word, try. I have a mind of banning it in my vocabulary altogether.
Didn’t I learn anything from Master Yoda? Do or do not. There is no Try.
You cannot schedule meditation any more than you can schedule happiness, falling of tears or a burst of joy. It just has to happen. You don’t schedule emotional fulfillment – you live in such a way that you open the door and let it flood you with its intense beauty. You just remove the obstacles and enable it to materialize right before you.
This master plan of daily mediation gone awry has its brilliant benefits. You learn a few things. Like just how painfully challenging it is to sit still day in and day out for even a few fleeting minutes. You learn that it’s not easy to meditate and you stop making fun of it if you ever did – even just to yourself. You start to see that the path to self-realization is the most difficult, painful, and life-altering one you will walk.
it takes courage to listen to the quiet of your mind.
it takes work – serious hard work – to quiet that mind to begin with.
it takes a will to get to know the self, the real raw pure self.
it takes tremendous commitment, the kind you cannot even begin to imagine but one you have in you. we all do.
it takes self-discipline but the softer, gentler kind.
it takes believing that you gain time, not lose time.
it takes faith, and it doesn’t care if you are religious, agnostic, or a lost soul searching for answers.
it takes being brave enough to look at – and not turn away from – what comes to surface – be it weaknesses, bitter memories, inner demons, insecurities, pain, low-self-esteem and all the burdens you’d rather shove down deeper than see clearer.
Seriously, meditation asks a lot of you. It demands your entire attention and focus only to ask you to let go. All that centering and breathing only to get all worked up when emotions resurface, a natural human reaction. Then it teaches you to regain it again, to feel at peace with the transitions, inside the gaps, on the edges of your consciousness and in the depth of your thoughts.
Meditation asks you to do nothing and think of nothing when indeed you are doing your most important work of all.
It is during this magnificent process where growth sprouts and you find yourself a tiny bit closer to who you really are. First things first though: Do you even know care to know who you really are? I ask because meditation makes you transparent to you – I know of many people who are just as happy hardly knowing themselves and I can’t really blame them. I certainly thought I knew myself inside out and all around. Not so.
Meditation shows you your true colors and begs you to look deeper beneath the surface. It quiets your ego to inaudible level and reminds you that life is not eternal and living in the present is not just a hip New Age word. It whispers to you that self-reflection, prayer, and introspection are ago-old adages for a reason. A good reason. Explore them rather than miss out on them.
Meditation does not have to happen in a lotus position. It can happen standing or laying down. It can happen while you wait, while you gaze at Mother Nature, while you listen to your own breathing, while you reflect and look inward. It can happen when you rejoice quietly, when you let problems roll over your shoulders, when you smile and find you are the only one smiling in a tough situation, when you let go, when you accept, when you relax.
Mediation happens when you learn to take in the glory of your present moment and simply be.
Mine is still a beautiful work in progress. I intend to see it through.
What about you? Have you meditated this year? Have you ideas and thoughts on meditation to share with us?