Learning to meditate can be daunting for many people. Partly, or maybe mostly, because of the stories we tell ourselves about it.
That we have to be Buddhist, do yoga or
WE think we have to remove all thoughts from our mind in order to be good at it
But that’s impossible, really. The mind’s job is to think, to process, that’s what it does and it’s not going to stop just because we decide to meditate
Advanced meditators will tell you that thoughts come into their heads while they are meditating all the time
The difference is in how they deal with it.
When we meditate we can choose to follow the thought that just pushed into our head, or we can simply recognize it, maybe even name it
“thinking about work” and bring our mind back to particular point of focus that we have chosen.
I’ll get to the point of focus in a moment.
Meditation is about awareness, awareness of a thought, an emotion, of an experience, something physical like the breath or a feeling.
There are as many ways to meditate as stars in the sky
I hear from a lot of people that focusing on the breath is difficult.
I get it, it was for me for years.
When I realized that I didn’t have to use breath as the focal point?
Meditation became easy.
Let’s see how you feel about it, shall we?
Let’s try a sitting meditation.
We’ll sit together for just a few minutes.Sit down in a way that you are comfortable, in a chair, on the floor, on your bed, it really doesn’t matter at all.
Now bring your attention to the simple fact that you’re sitting.
You can sense where your body is without giving it a lot of thought.
You can feel the weight of your body on the surface you are seated on.
Recognizing, without trying to change anything, what your posture is like. Without having to look, you can sense where your feet are, your hands. Let your attention flow like honey down your body.
The top of your head, your ears
We’re just becoming aware of the body bit by bit
A thousand tiny sensations start to come to the surface
Allow your attention drift from sensation to sensation.
Perhaps a little tingling, or itchiness, or tightness in certain muscles.
Now see if you can bring attention to the body as a whole
As though you are observing it from a small distance
All of the sensations are still there, but distance allows us to bring the whole body into attention
You may be feeling some of the sensations that come with breathing
See if you can allow the body to simply breathe, without changing a thing
Keeping your attention on the sensations of the whole body
You might close your eyes and simply experience the act of the body breathing
As it always has
Simply be aware of what is, right now, in this moment.
The body breathing
The body being
The sensations being
As we learn to meditate without the distraction of worrying about focusing on a a specific focal point, we can just be still. Just be with being.
When the mind wanders, or judgement pops up
Simply redirect attention back to the the body as it is.
As you get comfortable with this very simple form of meditation you may find it is easier to focus on the breath, or whatever focal point you choose.
You have learned to train your attention.
And that is what meditation is.
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