Many people find it difficult to sit still and meditate. With so much going on in our lives, with so much to think about, worry over and take care of we find ourselves too mentally active to be still. A major misconception about mediation is that you must empty your mind of thought, or meditation is a failure. There is no such thing as failure around meditation. When the intention is there, progress is made. It is a practice that takes years to settle into.
Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, who has practiced meditation for years and written some 25 books on it and other spiritual subjects, has spoken of realizing many times that between the beginning and ending gong she has been totally lost in thought. If this can happen to her, we can find patience and compassion for ourselves who may not be as devoted to the process.
Here are some simple things that may help you:
- Visualize roots (like a tree) coming out the bottom of your feet and going deep into the earth. This brings your energy and awareness down from your head, into your body and grounds you. You can do this at any time like waiting in a grocery line, or at the doctor’s office. Also remember and realize that no matter what is going on in your life, the earth is always supporting you by its very existence.
- Notice the sensation of your arms and legs and feel their aliveness. We are often unaware of the activity going on in our bodies due to the distraction of thoughts swirling around in our heads. Focusing on your body helps you switch your attention from your thoughts.
- To settle into stillness, bring your awareness to your belly, the seat of your being. This place in our bodies is known as the Hara, Kath or Dantian. This is the power center of your being and, when you are in touch with this center, you can access wisdom, right timing, and right action.
- A simple technique for meditation is to focus is on the breath going in and out of your belly. When you notice you have drifted off into thought, gently bring your awareness back to the breath going in and out of the body. Let the breath do what it does—no need to manipulate it—just be the inner observer. This supports you in developing patience, compassion, and love towards yourself, remembering that this is a practice that becomes easier over time. There is no goal, just the cultivation of a different way to experience yourself.
The filmmaker David Lynch, a longtime student of Transcendental Meditation writes in his book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity,” about doing the deep dive. He says the deeper the dive within to that still, quiet place, the bigger and better the ideas that arise from the dark depth of your creative soul.
When best-selling author Tony Schwartz wrote “What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America,” he described his five year search for a way to bring deeper meaning and peace in his life. He tried multiple disciplines that professed to accomplish this and concluded that meditation was the most available, elegant tool to get there.
Eckhart Tolle says in “Stillness Speaks” that when we accept this moment as it is with no resistance, the compulsion to think lessens and is replaced by an alert stillness. This opens you to the unconditioned consciousness that is far greater than the human mind.
This vast intelligence can then express itself through you and assist you. Then life changes for the better.
That sounds good to me!
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