In this article I’m going to show you the way I learned to meditate, based on research and the teachings of different gurus. Meditation is a pretty common subject these days As with many things that fall into popular use, its true meaning and purpose can become distorted. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what exactly meditation is, and how one should do it.
It’s strange that there is so much confusion, as it’s one of the simplest things you could ever do. First, meditation isn’t reflection. The whole point of meditation is transcendence of the mind and the need for self concepts, so critical thinking and any sort of analysis are by default out. Sitting in the lotus position or humming also have precious little to do with it, though they can be useful. Basically, forget everything you’ve seen in the movies or heard from your friends. Meditation is simple.
So what exactly is meditation?
Meditation is being. That’s it. Nothing fancy or pretentious. No need to use the meditation soundtrack someone’s trying to sell to you for $19.99. There is no “secret method” or any need for guidance, beyond the basic principles I’m going to show you. Essentially, meditation is existing in its purest form. What does this mean?
When you meditate properly, you essentially become nothing. One way of putting it is you surpass your egoic nature and rise into a different level of consciousness. You forget about your daily problems and become an empty vessel. This can become intensely pleasurable as you get better at it. It can even change your entire reality.
In order to start meditating, first find a quiet spot away from interruptions by family, phones, TV, and your dog. Next, simply sit down and relax. Whatever feels comfortable will work. After you’ve relaxed a little you’re going to calm your mind and witness your thoughts.
Become the watcher
This technique involves becoming unidentified and nonreactive to your thoughts. Clear your mind as best you can and watch your thoughts pass. It’s as though you’re on an airplane that’s taking off, and your thoughts are on the ground. Wave goodbye and smile, because they’re of no consequence. They’ll be there when you get back.
The key here is to identify with consciousness. The thing that allows you to know that you’re thinking. Watch the thoughts. Once I start watching them I find that they no longer affect me. Minor annoyances and big problems alike lose their importance. Being free from mind-induced torture is incredibly relieving of its own accord, but there are other benefits to be had..
As I relax into this state, I notice my typical thoughts floating around. As I continue to be watch them impartially, I find that they occur less and less. Finally, they dissipate entirely. The experience at that point is one of incredible peace and calm. I like to think it’s how we were naturally as kids, before we inherited the typical adult seriousness. We don’t have any worries, anything to be upset about, we simply are.
Taking meditation further
This state of “just being” has some pretty cool characteristics. You’ll notice that when you open your eyes after a good meditation session, everything will seem different. It’s as though that childlike sense of wonder and amazement is restored to you. You’ll also notice that you don’t have any thoughts coming back in yet. These two phenomena are inextricably linked, so pay attention to them!
The objects around you will seem more.. complete. Like you’re observing an essence in them that wasn’t there before. It’s a really trippy feeling if you haven’t experienced it before. The reason this is happening is because meditation puts you in a state of no-mind. You aren’t instantly judging and mentally labeling everything you see. Instead of seeing a “chair,” which is whatever your mental image of a chair is, you’ll see an object full of unfathomable depth. This is because the act of meditating bumps you up to a higher level of consciousness. With practice you can make this shift permanent. Many people would call this enlightenment.
While I haven’t been able to achieve this state permanently, I’ve had little tastes of it. I’ve shared a couple of them on my article about the power of now.
Becoming one with the chair
When you first start meditating your goal will simply be to clear your mind while sitting there, and this is no easy task. When I first started my mind was especially chaotic with thoughts going left and right. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do it right away. By doing that you’re just adding more thought anyway. If you find yourself getting impatient or annoyed, practice accepting whatever you feel and letting go. Don’t resist or fight anything. Accept the present moment no matter what.
As you get better at this your thoughts will become less and less frequent, until you’re able to reach a state where they don’t come in at all. This is where all the fun begins. After having no thoughts for a long period of time you’ll notice that even when you’re done meditating and you open your eyes, your thoughts won’t immediately come back. Each time you practice you’ll be able to hold your state of no-mind longer and longer. If you keep it up you’ll eventually reach a state of transcendence of duality, perpetual no-mind, and complete and utter bliss. This is when you sell all your material possessions and start preaching on the street corners. 😉
Meditation can only do a whole lot of good for your life. Just remember not to judge anything when you’re doing it. If you can’t calm your mind, just accept it and try later. Become completely nonreactive and internally congruent. It’s well worth the effort.
About the author: Hi! I’m Fred Tracy, and I run a personal development website. I share all sorts of useful information like financial abundance, self discipline, achieving happiness, and a whole lot more. You can visit my site or subscribe to my RSS Feed. Thanks!