Imagine a place of deep inner peace that you didn’t always know existed, but at the same time, always knew existed. Put another way, you’ve always known that this place existed within you, but you usually stumbled upon it by accident. A quite moment in nature, a first kiss, that moment after a deep, soul shaking laughter with close friends. A place that was always there, behind the hustle of modern life. The problem, was that you had never discovered it by yourself, and on purpose.
Meditation is a lot like washing your hair, a deep cleansing of the nervous system, and soul. Sitting down is like the act of shampooing. You’re sitting to clear away the energetic buildup, environmental toxins, and emotional junk you become attached to on a daily basis. The continued sitting, and entering into a more relaxed state of body and mind, is like the conditioner portion. You’ve cleared away the energetic junk from your nerves, and now you’re putting on the conditioner with the calming of the mind. The longer you sit, the smoother and finer the breath becomes, and the longer the interval between inhale and exhale; which can be considered a deep conditioning treatment. You enter into a place deep peace beneath the crashing waves of the conscious mind. Deep below the surface of the mind waves (thoughts), you get to the subconscious mind, and a place of profound silence, and inner peace.
At first, you find it most unbearable to sit still. Your whole body resists you, and why is that? Well, I’ll tell you. You’ve probably never just sat down, unmoving, and breathed before - in your life. You may think that sitting on the couch reading a book, listening to music, or watching a movie is not moving and paying attention; but, that isn’t necessarily true. Your eyes were moving, the inside of your ears were vibrating to pick up the sound of a commercial trying to sell you something you absolutely didn’t need. You got up to fetch a drink, or a snack. You checked your phone, scratched your head, and wondered about whether you were going to make coffee at home, or stop somewhere along the way to work in the morning. You were always doing something. You surely didn’t pay attention to how much thought energy you waste, even while sitting still.
You weren’t intently focused on your breathing. Paying attention to the quality of the inhales and exhales. How each breath flowed into your body, giving you life, and then flowed out of your body, sustaining life. You weren’t paying close attention to your thoughts, and how they are an endless stream of mostly unimportant material. How their motion more closely resembles a never-ending loop. You surely weren’t noticing how each success breath caused the quality of each inhale and exhale to become softer, finer and smoother. Nor, did you ever notice that when your breathing began to calm down, the edges of your nerves become soothed as well.
Just like washing your hair, meditation can be done in the same intervals. Some people do it everyday, others once a week, and some fewer still - once a month. However often you choose to do, is up to you; but, you should consider, like washing your hair, that meditation is an invaluable form of hygiene for the deep cleansing of the nervous system and soul.
As your practice of meditation deepens, your consciousness, which is simply another word for awareness, begins to change. You notice the world, it’s all around you. You notice people, they’re also there. But, you aren’t exactly focused on the same things as they are. You “see,” “sense,” and “feel,” things differently than the masses.
The masses are like trends, and trends are like flash fires. They spontaneously erupt, burn extremely bright, and then fade away. Then, there’s another trend, and another, and another. The masses concern themselves with these fires, whether they’re off to build the next one, or come up with a new one to put the previous one out. Constantly rushing from one place to the next, they’re always exhausted. While you, you just cruise from present moment, to present moment. Taking inventory of everything, and yet discarding everything at the same time.
You are aware of everything, and yet, you are aware of nothing. Nothing sticks. Pleasure and pain take on different roles. You seek beauty, and experience fear, just like everyone else. Most often though, that’s where it stops. It’s just phenomena flashing across the screen of life. Put another way, meditation finally allows you to stop grasping, and letting go. To stop wasting all your energy in trying to keep up, and get eventually getting hung up on life, instead of simply enjoying the never-ending flow.
If someone bothers you, you take a step back, look into the mirror (because people are always a mirror of who and what you are going through) and ask, “Why is that bothering me? What about their behavior triggered that emotional response in me?” You reply, “Huh, I’ll take a deeper look into that.” - then, off you go. One day, you won’t even take a deeper look into it, you’ll just learn to let it go.
One might argue as to how you could be so nonchalant about things. The answer? Is that you aren’t. Inside a storm may be raging, but you practice your breathing and the storm subsides. It always subsides, when you don’t engage with the emotion of what caused it.
The world happening around you is typically less chaotic than the world happening inside of your own head. You see politics polarizing everyone, but you in time you stop paying attention to those talking heads. You see the news, with it’s stories of paralyzing fear, and then it cuts to a heart warming story about puppies. Gently massaging the fear to quell it. They have to stoke the fires, but not so hot that you’ll get terribly burnt - just scorched. Just a singe, to keep you in line. Eventually, you let go of watching the news every day.
Things don’t affect you like the masses. It can even feel like you live in a completely separate world. But, that world is not separate, you’ve just learned to shift your point of view.
By slowing down the mind. By stilling your thoughts. A new sense of Being emerges. You begin to notice the beauty that is all around you, that has always been around you. If someone asked, “What is it that you see? What is the beauty that you are seeing that I am not?” What could you tell them? You could tell them that you see the beauty of movement, the beauty of sound, the movement of music - the beauty of creation, in all it’s forms.
That you "see," "sense," and "feel" the perfect rhythm and harmony that is life. How everything is interconnected, and enjoying life from it’s own vantage point; And that is what you find to be so incredibly beautiful!
Like singing in the shower while washing your hair, let meditation be the same. Meditation doesn't have to be done with a completely empty mind. It should be cleared just enough to let the sound, the beauty of life, come bubbling up from deep beneath the surface of your conscious mind.
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