I have done my first meditation in 2017 and it’s been 4 years since then. I will not say that I have meditated every single day in these 4 years but I had successful months, unsuccessful months, days when I felt deeply present, and days when I felt like I just don’t want to do it.
In this journey, I have read tons of books and learned from so many great meditation teachers. In this article, I want to share with you all those big learning that made my mediation practice more fulfilling and fun.
Definition of Meditation
So meditation can mean something different for different people. For me a simple definition of meditation is
Seeing the thoughts going through the mind(good or bad) and just observing them with curiosity and compassion.
So as you can see there are multiple things that this definition is telling us. How to observe bad thoughts? What is compassion for our thoughts? let’s try to answer these questions.
Curiosity: First Ingredient of Meditation
Let me try to explain it with an example. Read this paragraph very Carefully.
So you are reading this paragraph. Can you notice these black and beautiful little letters written on this white screen. Focus on this single letter S. It’s shape, color, brightness. Did you notice your eyes got little bigger when you were doing this and you were only thinking about letter S and nothing else.
This is curiosity. Looking at things and wanting to know a little bit more. What it is, what it’s trying to say to me, how it feels?
You have to look at all those pleasant and unpleasant emotions, thought, and sensations with curiosity. For example when anger arises in your body “Oh, anger! how does it feel to be angry? What it’s saying to me? Oh my, jaws are getting clutched and my shoulders are getting tight.”
You will ask me that why it’s important to look at thought and emotion with curiosity? The simple answer to that question is when any emotion arises in our body(like anger). We become that emotion(I am angry or I am sad). Then, we start reacting to that emotion, and then it leads to another similar emotion(or thought) and then another and another. We become restless very soon and it becomes really difficult to even sit for meditation.
Curiosity provides us with some space in which we can observe our mind and see all the emotion and thought from a third-person perspective and then it losses its grip over us. We still feel that emotion but it’s easy to manage. Slowly when we do it again and again the mind goes to the state where all the thoughts and emotions feel like waves in the ocean, coming and going and we are sitting on the beach looking at them.
Allowing: Second Ingredient of Meditation
I bet you have heard this in your lifetime.
Don’t be sad.
So you must be thinking what is wrong with this sentence? Let me try to explain this with an example. Suppose you had a fight with your partner. You are feeling really sad and can’t concentrate on work, there is a very intense feeling of sadness and restlessness.
You called a friend of yours and tell your story and then he replied “ Don’t be sad.” What happens after that? did you stop feeling that sadness?
From my experience I can tell that sadness does not go away in fact it becomes even stronger. previously, you were just sad and now you are sad because you are sad. You are trying to resist that feeling of sadness and the more you try harder it gets.
So in meditation, it’s really important that we don’t fight with our emotions and thoughts. Sometimes the emotion that is present in your body may be difficult one but it’s all you have at that moment. So try welcoming every emotion when you are meditating even the difficult emotions like anger, jealousy, fear, sadness, etc.
A very interesting thing happens when you welcome these emotions, They feel seen and in turn, you feel seen. When you feel seen even those difficult emotions soften up and you can accept them as clouds moving through the sky. Maybe a darker one, but just another cloud. 😉
Self-Compassion: Third Ingredient of Meditation
Suppose you have finished this article and followed all my advice. Does your mind will never wander off after that? Will every meditation will be perfect?
For me, the answer has been No. Even after knowing all these things, My mind wanders off in every meditation, and on some days the mind is so busy that it’s even difficult to finish the meditation.
But I would say it is perfectly fine. The mind will wander off from time to time but your job is just to bring it back on the breath again and again and again. What is most important is that you forgive yourself every time your mind goes to thinking or you are not able to concentrate.
You can try something like this when you notice that your mind has wandered off and it’s thinking about something else “hey mind! I see you. Imagine that you are touching the mind with a soft feather and inviting it to breathe again.
Showing Up: Final Ingredient of Meditation
If you want to take away one thing from this article then take this.
Show up for your meditation everyday. If you miss 1 day, show up next day. It is like mucle building, The more you practice, the better you get.
yes, there will be some days when you will not be able to meditate but it is perfectly fine. Talk to yourself with that self-compassion.
“hey me. We have done the pratice 10 times this month and we are getting better at it. Yes, we did miss it yesterday. But it’s alright we can try it today.😊”
In this article we have learned about 4 key ingredients of meditation curiosity, allowing, self-compassion, and showing up. I hope this will help you in your meditation practice and if you haven't tried meditation yet, it will help you in getting started.
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Thanks for reading. Take care!