For over five years, six days a week, at least twenty minutes a day, I have meditated. That’s a hell of a long time to be doing nothing, so from all that doing nothing, the purpose of this blog post is to articulate my learnings. Tricky, because it’d be all too easy for me to just regurgitate what google has to say about meditation or what I’ve read it is supposed to be like, but instead, I want this to be about my own experiences.
I like to copy people I like and would like to be like. People I like meditate. So I meditate. I am a copy cat. Same was true for bike tricks, except with bike tricks I could see quite clearly what it was I was copying, it was objective. For meditation, it’s hard to copy, the only thing I could copy was to just sit there. I now realize that was a great instruction: “JUST SIT THERE!”. The rest (which was the deep presence that radiated from those that inspired me) will take care of itself, but let me say more…
Early in my practice, I thought I was supposed to be having some sort of altered state experience and be ‘going-to-another-place’, this resulted in some cross between daydreaming, getting lost in thought, and half falling asleep. Now when I meditate it is the opposite, I am more fully awake, and in this world. This might be called the presence muscle, and as far as I can see, there is no limit to how much it can be developed. I find the more I am able to be present, the richer and deeper my experiences in life are, and that’s pretty cool!
I often got frustrated when I couldn’t stop my thoughts in meditation, and thought of it as a ‘bad’ session. I realize now that trying to stop my thoughts is crazy making, and that is what I thought the point of meditation was. Instead, building my ability to both observe and not ‘buy in’ or ‘get wrapped up in’ these thoughts seems to have had a side effect of a quieting/calm mind. This awareness has allowed me to more quickly notice when I’m in autopilot mode during the day whether in thoughts or actions. Painful thoughts aren’t as devastating either; by allowing and observing them, just as I do in meditation, I can more skillfully navigate these ‘harder’ thoughts, and make decisions that are based on the situation at hand and not based as heavily on my past conditioning.
I used to be addicted to the buzz that my body produced during and after sports or yoga, and with credit to my meditation practice I now love and appreciate that buzz even more; similar to my thoughts, the buzz doesn’t run show, I instead have space in my awareness to observe it and feel it more completely.
Meditation isn’t for everyone. However, I do find I have been able to develop my presence muscle more quickly and efficiently during meditation practice than any other sport, practice, or activity I have tried. For me in my life and my work as a transition coach and yoga instructor, doing nothing has been extremely beneficial!
Perhaps I’ll follow up with some meditation technique thoughts sometime soon…