I know the idea of meditation scares a lot of people. The idea of being alone with your thoughts when there is so much going on in your head. It can be an overwhelming concept. I also hear people saying to me that they can’t meditate as their minds are just too active and they can’t quieten it down enough to meditate. Trying to meditate and not being able to quiet the mind can be another stick to beat ourselves with!
The practice of meditation though is just that – a practice. The more you practice the more you can train your mind to become quiet. Some days it happens, you get moments of peace, calm, serenity. Other days the mind flits from one thing to another, to another, to another, to another…………
When you practice meditation you become the witness, and when you can rein the mind back in you can observe the thoughts. From this position of neutral observer you can be objective about the thoughts and notice whether they are of use to you or not. You can let go of anger, judgement, resentment, shame, inferiority and much more when, from this place of neutral observer, you see that the thoughts are only causing you suffering. Only you can hold on to these thoughts, and you also have the power to let them go if you choose.
There are many different forms of meditation and the ultimate aim of meditation is finding bliss. Sat Chit Ananda – truth, consciousness, bliss, as the yoga sutras say. Ultimate awareness of reality, resting in our true nature. The act of meditation is not the same as achieving sat chit ananda. Through meditation we might have glimpses of this blissful state. If we practice long enough and become skilled enough we might achieve samadhi, that place of truth, consciousness & bliss.
But how to meditate? Withdrawal of the senses and single pointed focus (pratyahara and dharana, respectively, in the 8 limbs of yoga) help us. Having a point of focus such as the breath, a candle to gaze at, or focussing on the pressure of the feet on the ground in a walking meditation. These allow us to transcend the mind and become the witness, to see things as they truly are, dive deep into meditation and maybe attain Samadhi – the state of pure bliss. You don’t need to be able to site in lotus pose or even cross legged! There are many different way to bring that focus.
It is not a scary place to be – it is quite the opposite. Allow yourself to be curious and to explore.
If you’re interested in learning more about mediation join me for my Finding Stillness Workshop 28th April or 26th May. We’ll be exploring different forms of meditation alongside yoga practice and pranayama techniques to help support the meditations.
Both sessions take place 3-6pm at Seasonal Yoga Academy, Glasgow