I have a genius friend.
Most of the time, he is ready with solutions to my problems. I am not the only one who thinks he has a genius mind, my other friends too look up to him for guidance. He has an unusual way of coming to an answer – before he replies to a question, he first simplifies the problem for us. He relates to all situations, people and emotions and comes up with a technique to break the thinking pattern. His way of thinking has always astonished me. And I kept wondering where he gets his unique ideas to fix things in life. Whenever I have asked him about his secret, he has always said, “A calm mind has the power to resolve the weirdest problem, so sit in silence and look for answers.”
He gives full credit of his outlook, knowledge and creativity to meditation. He has been doing it since he was ten.
Long before there was the proliferation of books, videos, write-ups and seminars on how meditation affects the human brain and his way of life.
Thanks to all these, and the thousands of apps on health and mindfulness – that keep on emerging on the app store. Meditation has now gone mainstream, and the masses now know about various meditation techniques.
Despite realising the power of mindful practises of meditation, most people find it challenging to begin. Even if they somehow start, they get demotivated easily.
People find it challenging to sit and meditate, even for five minutes. Because sitting in silence brings boredom, and we crave the stimulation of information and entertainment, which is available to us 24×7 via the small screens we hold in our hands.
The more significant challenge is that we don’t know how to deal with our boredom, and that’s why we find it difficult to focus on our thoughts. But, if we understand that the secret of diving into our thoughts and practising meditation arises from the art of getting bored, then we may stick to it and see it’s long term benefits.
Something else, something profound, happens when we meditate, long-buried emotions, memories and characteristics come to the surface. If you talk to someone who meditates often and have done for a while, they will tell you stories about their experiences. Some are delightful, and others are somewhat perplexing.
The truth is, your meditation experience won’t be the same as anyone else’s. Comparing and judging is a waste of energy. You’ll probably have different experiences, stories and thoughts each time you sit down to meditate. Don’t let a boring or strange experience bog you down, especially if you’re starting. Try to let go of expectations and take each day as it comes. Meditation is a trusty remedy for our incessant see-sawing between hopes of success and fears of failure. When frightful and hurtful experiences come floating at the subconscious surface level, it often scares people from sticking to their meditation practice, and eventually, they quit.
The question arises: What should be the right way or an easy technique to begin your meditation journey so that you stay and follow it regularly?
I had the same question when I began my yogic journey five years ago, with a heavily influenced mind and impressed by my friend, who I wrote about in the beginning. Initially, I had the typical graph of starting and quitting. It wasn’t comfortable to sit quietly and focus even for a few seconds. I couldn’t feel anything to quiet my mind; as it wandered in different directions. The more I tried to focus, the more I became restless. Honestly, there was a time when meditation sessions used to give me more anxiety than calmness. Whenever I failed to stick to my routine, I tried a new meditation technique to bring back my excitement. I researched books, watched endless videos on youtube, joined online courses and attended classroom coaching to learn “how to connect with myself”. These helped to a certain degree to understand the basics of yoga and reconnect with the human roots. However, none of them could inspire me enough to practise meditation daily.
So, for months I kept repeating the cycle of starting – quitting and finally my regular hits and trials on energies, consciousness, human emotions and connections gave way to what I’d like to call an easy formula to “learn and stick to my meditation practice.” I’ll share that formula in the end.
If you are reading this and want to begin your meditation journey, then follow the below steps before we discuss my formula:
- Unlearn what you have absorbed: Start your meditation journey by unlearning everything you have read, seen or heard about it. Take your meditation session as an adventure to know more about yourself rather than as an outcome of becoming more intelligent, creative, successful or healthy. Eventually, you will receive all these but do not skip the enjoyment of the process in a hurry to see the result.
- Don’t follow a schedule or pattern: Break free of all rules and beliefs about correct practice. Most yoga practitioners suggest taking an early morning shower before the ‘Dhyaan’, sit in a specific direction or a particular corner of the house to make the most benefit of their meditation session. Still, for a beginner, I find this too much. If a novice tried to do all this, he would find himself caught in correcting the habits and eventually lose interest in actual practice. So, break free from all such limitations and tell yourself, “I need to practise meditation daily, no matter what time and what place”.
- Don’t put a time limit: Never put an alarm or pressure on your mind that I have to do it for ten minutes or thirty minutes. Sit in silence at your comfortable pace, place, position – and surrender to the universe. Every soul has its own journey, and you will undoubtedly catch yours when you focus on experience rather than duration. A “two minutes” daily routine can be more useful than “half an hour” of forced sitting once or twice a week.
- Remember the basics: We are considered alive untill we are breathing. Breathing is the only thing that doesn’t require any training from the institute. Since the time we are born, we have been breathing, and no one has taught us – focusing on breath comfortably and experiencing the sensations in your body is an ultimate joy ride.
Now it is time to disclose my formula
For a yogi, no formula is the only formula to take a deep dive into the surf of the divine ocean. Once you sit to meditate – surrender all your worries, anxieties, problems and free yourself from all routines, beliefs, situations, people and your own body. Do not force any mantra, ritual or sound that you do not understand. Let the process flow naturally; don’t follow any instructions that make you uncomfortable, don’t hold your thoughts or force yourself to think positive.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor
Thich Nhat Hahn.
Sit, breath and talk to the universe. Make your conversation heart to heart, do not manipulate your words, thoughts and emotions – the universe knows it all. Trust the universe, trust the process as if you are sharing your secrets to your partner in crime. When you invest your trust in the universe, the universe ensures to protect it and assimilate all your worries in the divine pool.
Honestly, your soul knows the way to connect with the higher self. So, stop dictating it with the terms and just ‘Surrender.’
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