Is meditation as simple as it sounds?
The answer is YES.
Yet for something so obviously gentle, gracious and benign, meditation can still sound intimidating to many. For beginners, the idea of learning to just be, doing nothing, and not getting distracted by our “to do” lists may sound challenging. When we come to meditation expecting it to be easy and relaxing, it can prove otherwise.
I was one of those who was scared of meditation before I got hooked on my daily Sahaj Samadhi Meditation practice. Most people worry that they are not using the right technique or are not doing it right, that they are not sitting right, or concentrating enough, or breathing properly, or using the right mantra. Perhaps they are not doing it at the right time, or for the right duration, or they are not doing it as nicely as someone else they know. Perhaps their meditation doesn’t go the way they think it should. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re “doing it wrong.” There is a whole lot of uncertainty and anxiety surrounding meditation, so it’s not surprising that many of us feel this way.
Tons of advice about meditation available on internet, classes, spiritual texts can also be one of the major reasons that people feel overwhelmed. There are as many meditation techniques as there are meditation teachers, probably even more. Some of them are pretty straightforward, and some are incredibly complex. Even figuring out where to start can be difficult.
But let’s keep meditation as simple as it really is. All you need to settle into a meditation routine is practice, practice and practice!
The first and ONLY rule: just meditate, every day.
If you want to be an expert swimmer, you need to jump into the water and swim every day. If you want to be an expert swimmer, you can’t be standing out of the pool thinking about swimming, or reading books and articles about swimming. You have to swim! Similarly, meditation is experiential. Do it often and do it regularly because the benefits of meditation come from its practice, not from theory and books. You can’t get it by thinking about it. You have to actually sit and meditate.
Breathe Out and Let Go of All Your Judgments
Judgment and assessment are deeply ingrained in our psyches, right from our school days. It’s no wonder that when we begin meditation that our minds want to judge the experience, to analyze it or measure it, to evaluate how well it is going. Like everything else in our lives, we want to make progress with meditation too. We’re investing time in it, and so it seems natural to seek reassurance that we’re getting better and moving ahead. But know that meditation does not really work like that. In fact, it is not a linear journey at all.
What can you do instead of judging? Recognize that meditation is different. As much as you can, let go of judgment or worry about how your meditation session is going. Treat the judgment or worry as passing thoughts. The trick is to keep going despite any internal distractions.
This is where the magic starts to happen: you start gaining a powerful insight into the nature of your mind. You learn about the transient, chaotic and uncontrolled character of your thoughts, and you realize that you are not those thoughts. With this realization, you will learn that your thoughts are things you can choose to simply acknowledge and not engage with further. Let those moments become a precious gift of non-judgment towards your day. Surrender to the perfection of the experience exactly as it shows up each time, and accept that you get exactly what you need, when you need it.
Practice Makes Perfect
Come what may, show up on your meditation seat and meditate for 20 minutes. Make this a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
Like many things in life that require practice, there are no easy shortcuts to meditation. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it may be boring, and even more frequently, you simply won’t want to do it. But if you overcome all these distractions, and as you keep going, you will be less and less concerned with the outcome or experience of your meditation practice, and that’s when a beautiful shift starts happening. The boredom will disappear and will be replaced by joy and wonderment. Just remember the number one simple rule of practice, and in time, you will feel the benefits.
Take the 40-Day Challenge
Make meditation part of your life, and start reaping its many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Science says it takes only 40 days to develop new habits. For the next 40 days, commit yourself to daily meditation and see the difference for yourself.
An Om a day keeps the worries away!