The most important thing is that we come to meditation with an open attitude, an attitude that is truly innocent, by which I mean an attitude that’s not colored by the past, by what we’ve heard about meditation through culture, through media, or through our various spiritual and religious traditions. We need to approach the notion of meditation in a way that is fresh and innocent.
Adyashanti – True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness
What Is Meditation?
Every Friday, I write about meditation. Even though I begin where I left of the week before, every post stands on its own and can be read by anyone interested in meditation. Today’s post is an introduction and deals with some of the most frequently-asked-questions about meditation. It’ll give you an idea of what’s to come in the next few months.
So, what’s meditation all about? Meditation has become increasingly popular during the last ten to fifteen years. All kinds of meditation and mindfulness programs are available today.
Even though I will discuss a number of techniques in future posts, I am not going to give an overview of the different kinds of meditation and their techniques. What I will talk about is the essence of meditation.
Why do we meditate? What are the benefits? Is it worth your valuable time? How long should I meditate and when?
To be honest, at first I wanted to name this series “Meditation For Dummies”, but I decided to treat this topic with a bit more respect and I don’t consider any of you “dummies” 😉 .
In fact, I am not going to tell you what meditation is. First of all, it is not that simple to define meditation. Second, you all have an idea of what meditation is supposed to be. For some people, it is sitting in silence for fifteen minutes and watching their breath, while for others it is a lifestyle.
Why Should I meditate?
This is one of my favorite questions I like to ask people when meditation comes up in a conversation. People meditate to calm their minds or to get rid of the stress of the day. Others meditate in their search for peace and happiness. A smaller group of people meditates to reach the goal of enlightenment (although they wouldn’t call it a goal). If enlightenment is new to you, then I recommend to stay tuned as I will deal with this topic in a few weeks.
The truth is that any reason you have is a valid reason. Who am I to tell you that you shouldn’t meditate to find peace in your life or to get rid of the stress you’re suffering from. Instead of asking any more questions, I am going to end this post by giving you my idea of what meditation is.
Your True Nature
Meditation is going back to basics. What do I mean by that? All day long, our minds are doing overtime in their attempt to process all the information they receive. However, our minds are not what we truly are. They are merely a tool that evolution or Mother Nature has given us, like we have arms and legs.
Unfortunately, we have grown up to believe everything our minds tell us. In other words, we have become the slaves of our minds. Instead of our minds serving us, we are serving our minds … and we do anything to please our minds. Anything. What’s more. They are incredibly conditioned. They limit us and prevent us to live life fully.
That’s a nice story, but what does this have to do with meditation? Well, meditation is simply getting in touch with your true nature, with who or what you truly are. That ‘part’ of you that’s actually real, that’s so subtle and so silent that it doesn’t shout for attention, like your mind does. All the time!
To end this post, I’d like to give you a short exercise I learned from Eckhart Tolle while reading his mind-blowing book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.
Watch your mind for fifteen seconds and wait for the next thought to pop into your head. That’s the exercise. Watch your mind carefully, be silent for a few seconds, and wait for the next thought to arrive. I won’t tell you what’s going to happen 😉 . Done? What happened?
After doing this exercise many years ago, my view on spirituality completely changed as did my view on life. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but that’s the truth and I am so grateful Eckhart Tolle showed me this with a simple exercise.