Whenever I meet someone and they come to know that I meditate, first they say, “Wow!”. And then the next question they ask is, “How do you meditate? I have tried it so many times but I couldn’t do. My mind gets filled with so many thoughts and I can’t focus. I don’t understand how to do meditation. Tell me some meditation techniques you use”.
I have come across such situations a lot of times, when somebody asks me this.
A couple of weeks back, I was just sitting and contemplating what to write next and these instances came to my mind.
I realised that there are a large number of people who enthusiastically try to meditate after listening to motivational talks or reading self-help books but fail to do it because of one or the other reason.
Everyone tells about the benefits of meditation and why you should do meditation but no one talks about what is meditation and how to do meditation.
I’m not a meditation Guru or someone like that but I’ll be more than glad to share my experience of what meditation is for me and how I do it.
What is Meditation?
First let me tell you, what meditation is absolutely NOT for me.
It is not a practice to concentrate or focus, at least for me. Because I don’t want to torture myself to continuously strain my mind to focus on one thing and then exhaust myself completely.
It takes a lot of effort if you try to concentrate deliberately and eventually it might make meditation extremely frustrating for you.
For me, meditation is
- an opportunity to spend some quality time with my own self.
- an opportunity when I can talk to myself and explore my inner being.
- an opportunity when I can just relax, away from all the distractions and observe my inner thought process
I never try to focus on anything because it drains my energy. I just allow myself to observe, be a witness to my thoughts and what’s going on inside me. And gradually, that leads me to a state of complete silence and stillness.
You don’t have to try to become still, you have to just allow yourself to enter that state.
There is a huge difference between trying and allowing. Take a moment and think about it.
As per English grammar:
Try means: to attempt to do something
Allow means: to give permission for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening
Meditation is a natural state for which you don’t need to make an attempt. When you attempt, you prevent something natural from happening on its own.
Take an example of a vessel filled with water. Suppose, somebody has moved this vessel and the water is not still.
How do you make it still?
Do you hold the vessel and try to make it still by pushing it here and there?
No way! That’s so stupid to do. Right?
You’ll say, “Just keep the vessel on a table or the floor and leave it undisturbed for some time. Water will become still on its own. It’s common-sense, no rocket science”.
But when we meditate, where does this common-sense go?
It is just because somewhere somebody has told us that meditation is something to do, but rather meditation is a state to be in, doing nothing.
Meditation is not an act, it’s a state of doing nothing.
When you keep the vessel on the table without any external disturbance, you are just creating an environment and allowing water to be in a state of stillness. That’s completely natural.
So, when you sit for meditation, you create an environment for yourself to enter that state. Basically, meditation is doing nothing. We are so habitual of doing one thing or the other at each and every moment that it has become utterly difficult for us to sit doing nothing.
Now that at least, you have a basic understanding of what meditation is, let’s see how you can create an environment for yourself to be in the state of meditation.
How to do meditation How to be in meditation?
Sitting for meditation is just a practice to understand how to be in a state of meditation whenever you wish to.
Yes, you read it right. You can be in meditation when you are eating, when you are driving, even when you are talking to someone. That’s a very deep topic and we can talk about it later on. (Let me know in comment section if you want to know more about it)
Let me share, how I create that environment for myself so that I can meditate. I have also talked about it in my book “Rewire for Massive Success”
Select a time when you can take out at least 20-30 minutes, just for you. No interruptions, no phone calls, no messages. Just switch off your phone. Don’t tell me that it’s impossible to find out such time during the day. That’s just another excuse.
Here’s how I create an environment to be in a state of meditation:
Choose a place in your home which is clean and tidy. It should be away from disturbance. It should be a quiet and comfortable place.
Choose a comfortable posture to sit. You may choose to sit cross-legged on the floor or you may sit on a chair. No matter where you sit, just make sure that your spine is straight and well supported.
- If you are sitting on the floor, you can sit by taking the support of a wall against your back. Keep a small pillow if you need behind your lower back and below your hips so that you can sit comfortably. Keep your hands gently resting in your lap with your palms open or keep them on your thighs with palms down.
- If you are sitting on a chair, sit on the front half of the chair and keep your back straight. In case you feel the need of a support, then push backwards and use the chair’s backrest. Keep your hands on your thighs with palms down.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Repeat it 4-5 times. Each time, as you exhale, feel that your body is relaxing. Your shoulders are relaxed. Your neck is relaxed. Your face is relaxed. Your lips, cheeks and eyes are relaxed. Your chest and abdomen are relaxed. Your hands are relaxed. Your thighs, legs and feet are relaxed. Feel the relaxation in your entire body as you exhale.
Now breathe normally and just be aware of your breath as you inhale deep and exhale long. Witness your breath.
You might feel that a lot of thoughts are coming into your mind. Don’t fight with them. Don’t try to get rid of them. Just let them be there and witness them. Let them come and go, you keep yourself aware of your incoming and outgoing breath.
Keep doing it. If you lose awareness of your breath, bring it back. Initially it might take a little effort, but after a couple of days, it will become easier. Just be there and relax for as much time as possible.
While sitting for meditation, there could be a time when you might feel that you are surrounded by your thoughts and are not able to bring your awareness to your breath.
Here is a link to some audio tools for guided meditation. You can use them to practice. Especially the Visualization Activity 3 in these tools is a technique to help you reduce the impact of unnecessary thoughts in your mind.
(Although these tools come with my book, but I’m giving them to you for your practice: Click here)
Let’s move on to understand more about meditation…
Lot of us think, that stillness means no thoughts at all. And whenever we find ourselves thinking too much, we become restless.
Let me give you a situation to understand what exactly happens when you meditate.
Suppose, you are travelling in your car on a highway with other cars. Some are travelling faster and some slower. You sometimes notice them and sometimes not.
As you travel a bit, you see a beautiful landscape on one side of the road and you decide to stop by to take a look.
Now, there can be two scenarios:
You stop your car, but now you can notice other cars passing by you with high speed (Principle of relative speed, you know). Randomly, cars are coming and going.
You think that you have stopped to enjoy this landscape but these cars are disturbing you. (I know it might not be making any sense because we hardly get disturbed by passing cars, but just imagine this situation for a moment, it’ll help)
You stop your car. You are not bothered about passing cars. You just sit and enjoy the beauty of that landscape. You click amazing pictures. You sit there and get lost in the serenity of the place. You don’t even realise how much time has passed.
Now, let me ask you a question.
When you sit for meditation, what do you do? Which scenario do you follow, 1 or 2?
I’m sure, it must be making sense now.
When you are not meditating, you are travelling with the speed of your thoughts, that’s why you don’t realise they are there. You are one of those thoughts. But when you sit for meditation, you have parked your car of thoughts and you start to notice other thoughts passing by, one after the other.
When you sit for meditation, it’s your time to spend it with yourself and enjoy it, rather than thinking about all those thoughts crossing your mind. They will keep on coming and going like those cars on the highway. Remember which scenario you wish to follow, 1 or 2?
Just allow yourself to be with your inner being and enjoy this moment of bliss.
That’s what meditation is and that’s how you can be in the state of meditation.
Choice is yours, whether you want to do meditation or want to be in meditation.
If you practice meditation and have your experience to share, please write it in the comment section for the benefit of other readers.
Image Credits: Pexels.com