Beginning Meditation

girlsunshadow

When I began meditating, it was difficult to not approach it like every other venture or “hobby” I have tried. I had to get out of the mindset that this time I spent in meditation had to be heading somewhere, that something much be achieved during this time, or at least the outcome would be like others who have meditated before me and found it to be a life changing experience.

In fact the very essence of meditation is being able to let all these expectations and preoccupation with time go. That the more we hold onto this need to use our time “well” and productively, the more we will struggle against the stillness and it becomes harder to achieve. It is the complete opposite of everything I had been taught about at school, instead of putting in more effort to be better at meditating, I had to let go of any sense of effort in order to allow the stillness of presence speak to me.

I had to let go of any sense of effort in order to allow the stillness of presence speak to me.

There is more than just the letting go of effort that I needed to understand, I had to become comfortable in being with my own thoughts and feeling the sensations that arise during meditation. Often this would present a very real challenge in allowing the stillness to speak. Our minds are kept so busy, and sometimes this is the way we prefer it. Allowing for space in your mind can bring up emotions and feelings that have been forced into the background of our minds. In providing space for this background to come into focus, it can bring up suppressed feelings that we shield ourselves from having to deal with with the “busyness” of our life.

This can present us with another challenge, analysing the emotions. As soon as we discover a problem, we feel the need to analyse it in order to overcome it. This was another lesson I was learning when I began meditating, the need to fix something that seemed to be wrong with my approach.

We want to allow these feelings to move freely within our consciousness, without feeling the need to judge it, analyse it, or even change it.

Of course we automatically try to move away from things that evoke fear and that we see as threatening, or attempt to make things feel better, more pleasant and more comfortable. However, this is not the main aim of meditation. We do not simply want to move into a more relaxed and pleasant space and stay there for as long as possible. This would be describing what relaxation is. We want to allow these feelings to move freely within our consciousness, without feeling the need to judge it, analyse it, or even change it. Whilst mediation can be quite a relaxing experience, there will be times when the opportunity for growth will come from existing alongside the pain, fear or discomfort.

With regular meditation practice, it is possible to be open to all that we are presented with, and be able to step back and witness this occurring. Focus not on how well you are able to relax your body and mind, instead focus on giving yourself time to practice regularly, even when it is challenging. Being open to learning more about yourself from each experience. Becoming able to find peace of mind whatever the mind is presenting us with. Moving beyond the physical sensations, moving beyond the thoughts and our analytical mind, and just being.

The true gift of meditation is being able to listen to the silence, sense movement in the stillness, and become one with the present moment.

The true gift of meditation is being able to listen to the silence, sense movement in the stillness, and become one with the present moment.

When beginning a meditation practice, focus on making it a regular habit. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make it “perfect”. You do not need to make it prolonged, start with a few minutes everyday, and just give it time to build from there. Try meditating at different times of day to see what suits your lifestyle. Don’t worry if you miss a day here or there, just keep coming back to it over and over. It might be helpful to think of it as making time for you, and believe that you are worth every moment. Much like fitness training, you are training your mind to become more open and stronger, fitter.

Find a space and a time when you will not be disturbed, however if you find this difficult, find moments whenever you can throughout your day to pause and be still, let the silence speak to you. Breathe. Do this often, and space will open up for you.

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