Hey, the odds that any of you out there have not heard about the benefits of meditation are really slim. The wonders of meditating have been drummed into our heads over and over again. Many of us meditate daily, while a good number of us have tried and struggled with it. No matter where you are on the meditation spectrum, one thing is clear. It is doable for each and every one of us and can be incorporated into our lives with minimal effort.
Have you enjoyed meditating and felt really good afterwards only to wonder why you resist doing it every day? How is it that the few simple things we know can make us feel better are the very things that are lowest on our list of priorities? For some of us it is simply that we haven’t established a pattern of doing it, like brushing our teeth, taking a shower or reading the paper every morning.
As in everything I do, I realized that I resist things that I can’t do perfectly. Since I am practicing the art of “imperfectionism” now, I tell myself that I don’t have to meditate perfectly. I just get to do the best I can with it. I don’t have to achieve “enlightenment” while sitting under a Bodhi tree. I don’t have to find blissful Nirvana while in a trance like state. I just need to chill, let go and breathe a little bit to feel better.
That shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong. I have about 8 gazillion thoughts streaming through my brain at any given moment. We all do. Those thoughts are the very thing that drive my stress level through the roof sometimes. So meditating for me is “anti-thought”. Well, ‘anti’ anything means I am fighting it. So just how do I stop fighting the myriad of thoughts and truly let go? First, I remind myself that I am human and that it is ok to have thoughts flow in and out….I just don’t focus on them…I just let them drift around me like a dozen butterflies and know that they are ok. Next, I bring my attention, my awareness to my breathing. Breathing is a great way to redirect your focus and to get into a calmer more relaxed state of being, which is really the point of all of this meditating business.
According to Eckhart Tolle in his book “A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”, the word breathing is derived from the ancient Indian Sanskrit word, Atman, meaning the indwelling divine spirit of God within. Tolle says that “Because breath has no form as such, is has since ancient times been equated with spirit…” He goes on to say that “Breathing isn’t something that you do but something that you witness as it happens….breath awareness is an extremely effective way of bringing space into your life….Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment—the key to all inner transformation.”
That’s what I’m looking for….space. I desire some space between what I think, what I do and what I feel. I am really getting that I need to unload before I can reload. I need to empty my very full cup of what I don’t need in order to fill it up with all that I do need. So, simply put, meditation is my way of cleaning out and letting go by having a few moments of nothingness…of space…of being fully present in the moment.
Do I do it every day? No? Would I like to? Yes. But I continue to give myself permission to be ok with a little here and a little there. Some is definitely better than none in this case.
So, do yourself a favor and find some moments here and there to breathe and find that space within you that both empties and fills you at the same time. You are worth it more than you know.