Quietening the mind or having thoughtless state seem impossible and frustrating goal to many meditators. So many times I had felt that instead of relieving the stress, this process caused me more stress! Doing a few yoga and meditation programs guided by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar proved to be turning point in my practice. I take this opportunity to share some wisdom which made my meditation practice so easy and fun.
1. We are all born Yogis!
Have you observed small children? They are super flexible and do all the yoga postures easily. They are always smiling, bubbling with enthusiasm, joy and happiness. They are always in the present moment; before their tears dry, they start laughing! Their mind is non-cluttered and they live every moment 100%! This is how you and I were when we were a child. We all are borne with yogi's body, mind and spirit! In the process of growing up, as stresses start affecting us, our true nature gets covered. Purpose of our practice is to go back to our natural disposition.
2. Shifting gears from 'I want' to 'I have'!
We meditate because we want peace of mind. But what if we already have it? Just as our body is made up of different bones, muscles, organs, blood vessels, nerves, etc. our spirit is made up of love, joy, peace, bliss, happiness. Satchiddananda -Sat (true), Chit (consciousness), Ananda (pure bliss) meaning bliss is the true nature of our consciousness. When we meditate, it is not that from somewhere outside we are going to bring peace and bliss and put them inside us. When we realize that we are that, we already have them inside us, we stop seeking it, wanting it, searching it. The starting point of our practice changes from wanting to already having or being. Seeking stops and experiencing begins.
3. It is very easy and natural to meditate!
Many think meditation is very difficult and challenging! In fact it is very easy and natural for us to meditate. Just as our fingers fold and unfold easily and naturally, that easily mind meditates. Simply sitting with eyes closed and taking our attention inward for a few minutes will lead us back to our nature. For a novice, meditation is some sort of practice or routine which has scientifically proven so many benefits. Over a period of time as we go deeper into its understanding, meditation becomes something we live, we realize that meditation is our true nature and not just something we "practice".
4. Our Mind is like sky and thoughts are like clouds; they keep moving!
We have so many thoughts in a day, but how many of them we really remember? In most cases, we don't even remember what we were thinking 5-10 minutes ago! Thoughts are transient in nature, temporary, like clouds in the sky they just keep moving. Let them. Meditation is not about controlling the mind, focusing or concentrating on something, or resisting our thoughts or emotions or sensations. It is the opposite - de-focusing or de-concentrating, accepting the present moment as it is and relaxing into our being! Beyond the active and chattering mind, we can find the peace which is intact and unbroken.
5. You don't have to do meditation, meditation happens!
Meditation is the delicate art of doing nothing. When I sit to meditate, I sit with this background in my mind - I am nothing! I do nothing! I want nothing! For the time being, I just sit with my eyes closed dropping all my limited identities and roles that I play, become nothing. I stop all my deliberate physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual activities and do nothing and just relax into my being wanting or expecting nothing, not even peace of mind!!! Letting go the desire to resist or control anything with openness to any kind of experience and the faith that whatever experience is being offered is right for me at that moment. When we get into this mode of nothingness and openness, meditation starts happening.
6. Breath is our best friend in good as well as bad times.
Our breath has important lessons for us. For every emotion in the mind, there is corresponding rhythm in the breath and vice versa, the way we breathe can change or influence how we feel. It is so difficult to handle our mind directly, but with breath we can handle it easily. Many a times we must have told our angry, nervous or agitated friend to take a couple of deep breaths to relax and calm down. Taking a few slow gentle breaths, or Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind. The rhythm in the breath helps get in touch with depth of our self, our soul, and our consciousness.
7. Brushing the teeth is dental hygiene, meditation is mental hygiene!
Brushing the teeth every morning though mundane, is an important activity. We don't even like skipping it for a single day. Similarly meditation clears all the dirt - all impressions from the mind and maintains mental hygiene. Just the way we don't analyze the dirt that comes out after brushing, we don't analyze any experience of meditation. The release of dirt-impressions can happen in so many ways, it is better to leave it unstirred by logic.
8. Connect your practice to a higher purpose.
When we meditate, people around us also benefit. You send positive and peaceful vibes to your environment. By you being peaceful, you make the world more peaceful. Inner peace and outer peace are strongly connected. I regularly meditate in larger groups. Practicing in big groups with common intent, you help to manifest that intent! About 3.5 million people from 155 countries are going to meditate during the World Cultural Festival, 11-13 March in New Delhi-India for World Peace. I highly recommend you to join this either in person or online to get the first-hand experience.
Let's enjoy this beautiful journey of NOTHINGNESS to ONENESS!
The article was written by Sejal Shah, who has been a meditator and yoga teacher for more than 20 years.
Courtesy: The Huffington Post