A year ago today if you had asked me my thoughts on meditation I probably would have had zero thoughts. I have never considered meditation as a form of therapy or wellbeing. It was something that hippies and monks did, right?
So wrong. I have been learning more and more about meditation through my yoga practice but also aside. The benefits are HUGE. Some claim it can even cure illnesses. It decreases stress, relieves anxiety, and promotes mindfulness which our society generally lacks.
But how does one meditate? What is the goal? What is the technique? That’s the beautiful thing about meditation. It depends on the individual. So I wanted to talk about what meditation is to me and how I meditate.
First of all, I don’t sit crossed legged with my spine straight and my eyes closed. I can.. But after about 5 minutes I get achey and uncomfortable and can’t focus on anything but my legs falling asleep or my bag starting to sag. So I lie down. It’s my jam. I get a little blanket too. I pretty much prepare for a nap.
Then I just close my eyes and listen. I listen to all the external noise around me. Biggie eating my couch, dogs barking, birds and wind and everything that’s going on outside me. I take note of all these sounds and make a mental list, then I literally visualize me taking this list and putting it off to the side of my head. Then I start to tune into the internal blabber of my own voice.
This is where I find meditation challenging. The art of listening to your own internal dialogue as a bystander. Letting yourself think of whatever you’re thinking, acknowledging the thought, and letting it move on. Sometimes my inner voice is so loud and so busy it’s draining. Other days it’s like a calm Sunday in Fruitvale. There’s an occasional thought, then just the awareness of my breath.
Which leads to the best part. Focusing on your breath. Listening to your inhale and taking note how it makes your belly and your chest rise, then observing how your body falls when you exhale. I listen and note the quality of my breath and see if there’s a way to take bigger breaths. Sometimes this is my meditation and after 10 minutes of that, I’m zen as fuck.
Other days, when my thoughts are running fucking rampant, I focus on my breath, get distracted by thought, and as soon as I let that thought go I focus on the “space” that follows that thought’s exit. That nothingness. The key is to not judge your thoughts. For example, if I am distracted by what I’m going to eat for dinner, I simply say “this can wait, later thought” and as soon as it leaves, I’m left with this blank space. But I can’t think “oh here’s a blank space” because then it’s another thought and I’m back to saying “ok good job but let’s not think about the blank space”. So it’s that fine balance of just being present and knowing there’s space without saying it or thinking it. Just knowing. From like a deep part in your mind and body. The space doesn’t have to be long or stretched out. That doesn’t give it quality. The more I practice the longer I can make these blank spaces go for longer though and THAT is what I’m working on.
So after I meditate, I feel present. I don’t worry about the rest of my day or what happened previously in the day or week or in my life. I just get this chill “AH-HA” moment where everything just seems perfect how it is. I become mesmerized by simple things and I just feel so fucking happy it would make a goth kid puke.
So that’s how I meditate. That’s why I meditate. I don’t know if I’m doing it right or wrong and I don’t give a shit. If I could live in that present state for the rest of my life I think my world would change so that’s what I’m working for!
How do other people meditate? Let me know! I want to eat up all the information I can.