I am not a meditation expert. I can’t say I’m one of those people who wakes up at sunrise everyday, sits in half-lotus position with fingertips united, and enters a state of trance for an hour.
I have, however, experimented with it. I’ve read several books and articles on mediation techniques, and put what I learned to use. I also participate in about 10 minutes or so of meditation after every yoga practice, at the least, but it isn’t easy for me.
Meditating is a learning experience, and it’s far more difficult than it seems. I envy the people with the mental strength and patience to make it a daily ritual. It’s more than just peaceful relaxation. It’s a journey through the mind.
Here’s one important thing that meditation has taught me:
We think way too much.
The only way to realize how much thinking you do is by trying to stop doing it. Try to stop thinking completely for 15 seconds. The first time I tried doing this, I almost cried out of frustration because it was impossible. I was sitting in a silent room, with no one bothering me, but I could not stop the thoughts from popping into my head. Part of my issue was that I was thinking about not thinking… It was that bad.
Meditation can teach us to become aware of our thoughts. Our inner monologue is a constant stream of worries, observations, judgments, and the like. Unless we take the time to slow down and observe these thoughts, they will keep on coming. While meditating, the thoughts still come, but they’re fleeting. You observe them for a second, and move back into silence.
I’m not going to ask that you try and stop thinking completely for more than 15 seconds. This takes time and months of practice. I do ask that you try to do this one thing – observe your inner monologue. When you have a thought, become aware of it. I realized, after working to become more aware of each thought I have, that my thoughts tend to be negative. I let one thought get out of control.
It doesn’t have to be this way if you can become aware of your first thoughts as they appear. You’ll have a thought, realize “Wow, that was a really stupid thought,” and banish it from your mind before it can become overanalyzed. Awareness is key here. Once you become aware of negative thoughts as they appear, you’ll have the power to erase them before they can go any further.
If anyone else has tried meditating, what lessons has it taught you? Leave a comment.