What is Meditation?
Caves, mountains, peace, nirvana and yogic poses are some of the things which come to our mind when we hear the word ‘meditation’. Some of us may even run away from the very word, due to the fear of getting into sects or cults, but in reality, meditation is simple. In fact, simplicity is also meditation and meditation leads to simplicity.
Although many people equate the idea of meditation with listening to calming music and expect to get up all relaxed after a meditation session, it may not always be true. I am pretty sure that, if you ever tried meditation, you have asked yourself whether you are even meditating correctly. This doubt usually arises from the session resulting in immense restlessness and a tsunami of thoughts. You probably got up from your seat thinking to yourself:
“What relaxation?! That was hell!”
Truth be told, meditation is not meant to be a relaxing activity. It is simply the act of taming our minds with some gentle discipline. The nature of the mind is to jump from one thought to another, to be restless and to think. When we meditate, we simply remind the mind to constantly think about one thing.
Meditation is reminding the mind. Bringing awareness back to the object of meditation.
Remind the mind. Yep I did that on purpose. Meditation is exactly that. Let’s say that you start meditating and are listening to your breath. Inhalation- Exhalation. All good. But within one second your mind will already be wondering whether you put your phone on silent.
What if my phone rings? Oh no. Should I stop meditating and open my eyes? Let me do that… or maybe not? What’s my current ringtone anyway?
And before you know it, you are already thinking of Rihanna’s newest song, because by the second breath, you were contemplating on changing your ringtone.
So what’s meditation then? Well it is to remind yourself, to be aware that no matter what thought arises, you ought to go back to listening to your breath. Even if your mind drifts away a 100 times within 1 minute, as a meditator, you simply have to gently go back to listening to your breath. A 100 times. Except that, as beginners, we are not always aware that our mind has drifted away, and that’s absolutely okay! As we keep practising, our awareness increases, and we detect the drifting more often.
And that my friend, is meditation! There are thousands of books out there on meditation and I personally learnt it all from A million Thoughts by Om Swami. Meditation explicitly yet simply explained by an expert. The mind loves to roam, and meditation, is solely the act of slowing it down a little, bit by bit.
And why should we meditate?
When we become aware of our thoughts, or even know our minds a little, we are able to understand our reactions, moods, emotions and bad moments a little better. And the key to rising above anything, is by understanding it.
More for another day.