happystartssomewhere asked: Hi, my question feels overly simplistic, but how does one meditate? I can never truly clear my mind... I'm beginning a journey. I want to love myself and I want to hold the good and the bad both at once and be able to tell myself that they are equally there in front of me and both important, but I can't find that grace within myself. I believe I finally want what is good for me, but now I need to act. Is there a good place to start? I'm no stranger to the practice, only the peace.
How can you clear the ripples from the surface of a pond? You can’t. The very attempt to do so will only create more ripples.
Yet whether the pond is still or rippling, it’s all just water. This may be easy to forget when the waters are rippling and it is easier to see for yourself when the waters are still. But once you know water as water without any space for doubt, then what does it matter whether it ripples or stills or freezes or evaporates?
In meditation, it is important to distinguish the difference between thinking and having thoughts.
Having a thought is just an occurrence, something bubbling up without your conscious control. It could be random or relevant. It could be a word, a sound, an image, a feeling, or anything composed thereof.
Thinking, on the other hand, is deliberate use of mind. It is wandering down a train of thought or analyzing or judging or contemplating.
For a beginner, the first hurdle is ceasing to deliberately think. Emphasis is placed on resting your attention somewhere. In the technique I recommend, attention is rested on the spot between the eyebrows. In other techniques, attention may be placed upon breathing or a mantra.
Every time you notice yourself wandering off down a train of thought, come back to the place upon which you are resting your attention.
This amounts to being where you are, being present with the meditation.
Along the way and afterwards, you will also be “having” thoughts. Those are the thoughts that seemingly spontaneously arise. Sometimes they lure attention down a train of thought. No big deal, you just come back to yourself, your focus point, and the meditation.
Then you just keep sitting. Random thoughts will continue to pop up. Sometimes there may be incredible moments of peace and spaciousness. Don’t cling to them. Sometimes there will be horribly painful and claustrophobic moments. Don’t reject them.
There is no point in which you can say “Oh okay now I’m meditating.” Every time you sit, lose attention, and come back to yourself, you are diminishing the restless habits of your mind. That is meditation. Every time you feel spacious peace, that is meditation. Every time you feel something horrible churning to the surface, that is meditation.
It is a process until it isn’t. At that point, words don’t do a good job of describing anything useful, but still it’s all just the same. The only difference is that you are no longer befuddled by transient clouds, so you are more likely to notice the sky.
Daily practice is essential.
Namaste sis :)