Essentially meditation is learning how to keep your attention in the moment you actually reside in, instead of in your thoughts or stories about life.
Why is that important to do, you may ask? Well there are many reasons and also benefits from learning to be present, which I'll go through later, but one of the big reasons is that if you have your attention in your thoughts about life, you'll be limited by the story of that thought.
Each belief you hold about life is buried in your unconscious, and the way it plays in your conscious mind, is via stories you create to fit the belief. This all happens without you realising of course, but for sure, each story is stemming from a deeper seated belief.
When you have your attention regularly in your story about what you think life is, which comes from the deeper belief, then you'll expect life to be like that; and without knowing it you'll put yourself in situations where life appears exactly like that.
Even if other situations that are completely opposite to your story are going on right next to you, you just won't see them because you'll be following your story, and no matter whether the story is good for you or not, you'll just keep blindly following it because that's what you think life is for you.
You'll think in ways that relate to the story you hold about life, and you'll talk in ways that completely validate your belief about it.
Because you keep putting yourself in situations that validate your story about life, you'll meet other people with similar stories to yours that will further validate your story.
This happens so often that it becomes life for you.
Of course you have many stories playing about different areas of life, like love, money, skills, worth and health to name a few, and they all miraculously merge together to create what life is for you.
So as long as you keep your attention in your stories about life, or in other words, your thinking stuff. You'll always create life within the limits of those stories.
You may now be starting to realise why it is so important to bring your attention out of your thoughts about life and into the moment.
One of the most used cliché’s in the spiritual development movement; is that this moment is all there ever is, and as much as I’d like to be as unique as I can in my explanation of this concept, it is difficult to break from the stereotypical norm.
It always is this moment, and yet rarely do people bring themselves into it. This moment now, is absolutely unique in every possible way that you could think of. Every possible potential reality that could ever be thought into existence belongs in this moment, because this moment is everything there is now and everything there possibly could be. It’s never been this moment and it never will be this moment again, it is uniquely unique!
Obviously when you’re able to bring your attention to this moment, then you have ‘everything’ available to you. When conversely, you have your attention firmly rooted in your thoughts about life, or in other words, the stories you’ve constructed about life stemming from your beliefs, then you are back in the limitation of the story. So being here and now with your attention, offers the greatest opportunity for you to get out of all the limitations you experience about life, and move into limitless infinite potential.
When you have your attention in your stories about life, inspired thought can’t come in, only information related to the story can enter your thought system.
When you are able to bring your attention to the moment you find yourself in however, you are then able to access inspired thought. Your intuition, which is directly connected to your heart will be heard loud and clear. This is great news because the information you’ll receive from this place will always be in alignment with what is authentic to you and your personality.
Many of the emotional pains that people carry, and some for their entire life are all related to the story they have about life, and when an emotional pain is held onto for a long enough time, it transfers itself into a physical ailment. Deepak Chopra released his first book,Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
in 1989, and it was in this book that he revealed to the world how every thought we think affects every cell in our body. If you’re holding a thought story that is detrimental to your wellbeing, it will absolutely affect your health. You can read my blog post - What to do when you’re emotionally challenged, to help you release negative emotions.
When you are spending more time in the present moment, which is exactly what happens when you discipline yourself to meditate every day, you connect to the greatest life force of love, healing, infinite intelligence and potential, so the health benefits are tremendous.
As you know, everything is always happening now, so that means that everything you’ve ever wanted is always here waiting for you to come and get it. Future and past only ever exist in your mind, but reality is always happening now and so when you have your attention in your thoughts about life, which for most people is most of the time, you are essentially looking at an illusionary view of life, it’s not real at all, it’s simply a story you’ve concocted to validate your beliefs about life. The only thing that is actually real is what is happening right now.
The love you want, the wealth you desire, the freedom, happiness and joy you crave is already here in this moment, and as you drop into this moment regularly, you’ll get to experience it all at the feeling level, and when that happens your inner vibration changes and when your inner vibration changes, your outer reality follows suit and manifests in alignment with that new vibration. So in other words, when you feel happy regularly, your outer world will dance that same tune with you, so you get to experience happiness in the outer world to validate that inner feeling. That is the same with any emotion your hold regularly, like abundance, freedom, joy, love etc. You can find a much more detailed explanation here.
The stories you follow about life, are massively influenced by the world you live in, and in this very fast paced world we live in, we are continuously bombarded with messages that imply our life will be better if only we had this that or the other. Obviously when you continuously chase these desires to make life better, you’ll never find peace because life is always going to be better when you get whatever you’ve decided will make it better. But because you are following the story that life will be better when you get something else, no matter what you attain, you’re always going to chasing something else because you’re still invested in that story, you are caught on a never ending merry go round that will continuously elude you from finding any peace.
When you are able to rest in this moment, what starts to happen is that you’re able to get to acceptance about the way life is in any given moment, because of course it always is the way it is. Internal peace becomes the norm for you, and in my personal experience, it is the greatest gift I’ve ever experienced. As a young man, I used to enjoy hangovers because my mind would be way slower than normal and even though I didn’t like the physical aspect of the hangover, I truly enjoyed the mental calm that came with it. Trust me when I tell you that meditation is a much better way to bring about that mental peace.
There are literally hundreds of benefits that come with a regular practice of meditation so before I get into the actual ‘how to’ of meditation, I’ll list a few of my favourite benefits here:
The benefits are endless and I honestly believe that meditation is the greatest gift of self-love you could ever give yourself.
So now lets look at the practical side of meditation so you are able to get going and keep going.
By far the most difficult part of meditation is to get yourself to do it and daily. The practice itself will deepen of it’s own accord with time as long as you have the basics to get going with, which is what I’m going to share with you now.
To start with you must absolutely make a decision to do it every day, and the decision needs to be a non-negotiable one at that. There is so much power in making a decision from this place, because you will draw on all the forces within you to make sure it happens every day. I always challenge my students to do 100 continuous days of at least 30 minutes of meditation a day. If this amount of time is too much for them; then they can start with 5 or 10 minutes and then increase every week by 5 minutes until they are up to 30 minutes a day. If you keep going, you’ll want to do longer. I love the days when I have scheduled a full hour of mediation.
I personally like to meditate with specifically designed music for meditation like for exampleThe Holosync Solution Awakening Prologue - 3 CD Set
orAwakened Mind System
It does make it easier especially for the beginner. If you follow a guided meditaiton, then make sure the guidance is purely to keep you in the moment. Some of the guided meditation CD's to change states and heal different aspects of life are great and well recommended, but the daily practice, I believe, should be solely to learn to focus on the moment.
The next point is to sit in a comfortable seat, you don’t need to be in the lotus position to get great results from meditation. You can do it sitting in a comfortable chair but your back must be vertical. I know of people that think they are meditating whilst laying in bed, but this doesn’t allow enough chi to flow through the crown chakra and into the nervous system. Also it is way too easy to lose focus and fall asleep whilst laying horizontally. In my opinion, laying down would be classed as a healing rather than meditation.
Make sure you schedule the time to do it, or you just won’t get around to it. Treat it as a very important meeting with yourself. I always schedule it the day before so I know when I’m going to do it, and it goes into my calendar as a real appointment. The recommended best time to meditate is in the morning, so that you are starting your day in a very productive manner as well as gaining all the benefits from the meditation. Meditating at any time during the day rather than not howerver, is still excellent, so don’t use the excuse if you don’t have time in the morning.
Before you start the actual meditation practice, tell your mind that it may as well shut up because whether it likes it or not, you’re here for the duration. By doing this you are becoming the master of the mind, for a little while at least to start with. When a person has spent the majority of their life with their attention in their thoughts about life, then what happens is they become a slave to their thoughts. If they have a good thought then they feel good for a while until the thought then changes to a negative one. Many people experience life as an up and down roller coaster of emotions and this is because they are listening to their thoughts, thinking they are real. They really have become a slave to them.
Mastery of the mind transports a person to a completely different way of living. When you can, at will, direct your thinking in a way that makes you feel good, you’ve mastered life. This can only happen by learning first how to bring your attention from your thinking stuff into the moment.
So lets now look at how to meditate.
Once you are in your comfortable seat with your back straight and you’ve instructed your mind that you’re going to be there for the whole 30 minutes or whatever amount of time you’re starting with, you then relax the body to the best of your ability.
What I mean by that is that you look at the places that your body holds the most tension: the stomach, shoulders, mouth and jaw and eyes and forehead. You then consciously relax them, unless you can’t and then if that’s the case you simply tell yourself that you can’t relax and that’s ok.
The point of the meditation is to get to a place that is in compete acceptance of what is, so if you can’t relax you give that to yourself. If your mind is busy, you give that to yourself simply by stating, my mind is busy and it’s ok. You are taking off all the pressure to be anything other than what you actually are in that moment, and then simply watching.
The gurus call this developing the observer. When you develop the observer you are much more able to observe yourself and life, and let it be as it is, which is where the place of peace resides within you.
So you’re now as relaxed as possible in your seat and you begin the process of bringing your attention from your thoughts to this moment.
There are only ever 2 places you can ever have your attention, in your thoughts or in this moment and the practice of meditation is to bring your attention to the moment so that eventually your life becomes a meditation.
The practice of meditation is to learn to become meditative.
It’s simple but it’s not easy, and the reason it’s not easy is because of all the attention you’ve given to your thinking for so long. You can imagine your thoughts as a train that continuously travels through your mind. It never stops and even with lots of meditation it never will stop, but it will lose all it’s power over you if you do take on the meditation practice.
As the train travels through your mind, it has different carriages as with a physical train, and each of these carriages contains a particular theme of your life. For sure one of the carriages is all about your family and within that big carriage there will be small carriages that contain each of the members of your family. There will be a carriage for your work and your close friends and everything else that happens in your life.
When you first attempt to bring your attention from the carriages of the train to the moment, they will protest madly. Think about it, they’ve been having your attention for so long, you’ve made them God, and they’re not going to like it at all when you start to pull your attention from them. This is the one main reason that people stop their meditation practice so early after they’ve started. “I tried to meditate but it doesn’t work”, I hear so often, but of course the meditation does work, it’s just that there needs to be some real conscious effort in the beginning, especially regarding doing it again the next day.
If you start with lets say 20 minutes, you’ll be lucky if you can keep your attention really in the moment for longer than 1 of those minutes combined. Your thoughts are going to bring you back there so easily because it’s so familiar to you, and at first it seems so boring to just try and stay in the moment.
I read many articles from people saying that the purpose of meditation is to stop thinking but that is not the case, the thoughts will always be there but you’ve got to pull yourself from them. So the purpose of meditation is to stop giving your thoughts attention.
So how to do that exactly.
What you have that is always in the moment is your physical self, and it’s your body that you’ll use to help bring you back to the moment. So whenever you remember, you’re going to put your attention on the end of your nose and simply watch your breath come in and then leave. That’s it! Easy right? Well you’ll find that out when you try. If you’re like the rest of us, keeping your attention on the end of your nose for long is extremely difficult to say the least.
You’ll find yourself in your thought carriages again, and as soon as you remember that you’re in there again, you simply come back to watching your breath. In the beginning you may never remember to come back to the breath until the buzzer goes to state that you’ve gotten to the end of the meditation, so you simply give yourself a little hug and say well done, and then affirm that you’ll be doing it again tomorrow. If you do remember however, then simply watch your breathing for as long as you can, and do this even if the thought you were thinking was a really good or entertaining one. You must learn to bring yourself to the moment, your great life depends on it.
Once you get used to bringing yourself back to your breathing more and more, you can then also, at the same time become aware of yourself in the moment you find yourself in. What you do is you become aware of how you are sat and if there is more weight on your left or your right buttock. Which parts of your feet are actually touching the ground and which parts of your body are touching the chair. What is your relationship like with the moment you find yourself in, what’s happening at the feeling level? What’s happening in your energy processing system? What does it feel like to be you right now? What does it feel like to be in the room your find yourself in? Remembering all the time not to analyse anything or change it, you are simply observing the moment.
After time, you’ll have moments when you are so deeply immersed in the moment that you’ll experience total bliss. After this happens, let it go, don’t look for it in the next sitting because, as with life, it is never the same, everything is always in a state of flux and movement. The blissful moments are beautiful though and they do come more often the more you do it.
I challenge you to 100 days of meditation and if you miss just one day you must go back to day one again. Keep doing it until you get to the 100 day mark, then once you’re there, you’ll pretty much have the habit and you’ll be getting some of the benefits I mentioned above, then commit to the rest of your life. Yes why not, make this the most important thing to do every day because it will effect every single aspect of your life in a tremendously good way.
According to Michael Gladwell, from his bookOutliers: The Story of Success
to become a master in anything like a concert pianist for example, it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice. The time needed to learn to meditate and then get the massive improvements in your life from its practice is minuscule in comparison.
When would now be a great time to start?
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