Imagine. No thoughts. No words. Just silence. You and the silence, the stillness, the quiet. You and the breath and maybe, if you like, a phrase or mantra (like OM) to coordinate with the breath. To some people, this idea of meditation is daunting and exotic. What will I DO if I am just sitting there, doing nothing? Well, you see, that is the point of meditation. Doing nothing. Letting go of “doing” for a change.
In our high-speed, multi-tasking, hyperactive world, stopping the world to “get off” for a while, to rest and regroup, to refresh and slow down the chaos of the world is little understood or appreciated. Yet there is an increasing interest in meditation and for obvious reasons. The world is “too much with us” all the time. Sowe have to make our own choice to block out time and to shut off the ever chattering mind and the noisy world.
As I prepare to teach a another class focusing on the many different practices of meditation and its benefits, perhaps it is worth recounting what can happen for those who meditate. Words like feeling better about yourself, reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, paying closer attention to who you are and how you feel, experiencing a little “vacation” from the world, clearer thinking, less depression, and maybe, just maybe, a sense of self-love and bliss. The sky is the limit, we might say.
Meditation is called dhyana in Sanskrit and is one of the eight limbs of Raja yoga. But meditation does not belong to any culture or lineage. Anyone can do it. Sit in a quiet place. Let your hands rest on your lap or your legs. Let your back be straight so breathing is easy. Close your eyes. Watch your breath going in and out. Keep watching your breath. Go back to the breath even when the mind interrupts with thoughts. Have no fear, the mind will do that. Back to keeping the breath slow and smooth. Sit for a few minutes, then stretch it out longer each time. Don’t judge yourself. Just try it. Who knows, you might find you like it. Give it a try. You might get to know yourself so well, you will see just how much love is in your heart. Love is the point anyway!