The process of peace.
That is what meditation can be to us all, it is a process and a practice. Not something that can be perfected, but something that can enhance every single aspect of our lives. Whether you are an athlete or an office worker, meditation is what will bring presence into your everyday life, what will allow you to experience life fully, and what will enlighten your journey.
More than what you think
We all have a preconception of what meditation is, but it is usually a misconception. In our modern society meditation is a cross-legged, long-haired hippy chanting "Om" on his way to enlightenment. However this is an incorrect interpretation of what meditation is, in fact meditation is infinitely more applicable to everyone than what our society interprets. When it comes down to it meditation is the simple act of breathing in and then breathing out, it is as simple as being aware of the breath and being present within it. One of the biggest misconceptions of meditation is that you are making your mind blank. This misconception is actually extremely dangerous and can negatively affect those practicing meditation or attempting to, it can make those interested in this process come to dislike it. Meditation is not blanking your mind, meditation is being aware of the chaos of our minds and letting that chaos pass on by. When approaching a meditation sitting know that thoughts are inherent, they're going to happen, but what we must do is be aware of their existence and let them go on their way, do not get caught up in thought.
Ancient origin, modern Application
Meditation has existed for thousands of years, all forms of religion practice a form of meditation. Praying the rosary in Catholicism is a form of mantra meditation, silently focusing on a verse is a form of meditation, a pilgrimage (like the Islamic hajj) is a form of walking meditation. Whatever form religion may call it, it is meditation, however meditation is secular by nature and can be applied to modern everyday life. It can be a tool to raise our ability to be who we truly are.
Breathe in, breathe out. That is the entirety of the process, nothing more and nothing less. Meditation can seem confusing and unattainable, but it is in fact simple. The breath is where your focus must lie, by focusing on the breath mindfulness will arise. However, this is not a perfect process, thoughts will arise, but it is not something to worry about. You are watching the thoughts, not engaging with them. Take a step back, focus on the breath, when thoughts arise be aware of them, and then let them go. While it can be described in this way to you, meditation is still a skill to be honed. You're not striving for perfection, instead strive for practice.
- Dhammapada (I recommend the Eknath Easwaran translation due to its wonderful introductions and commentary. I also enjoy the Gil Fronsdal translation)
- Tao Te Ching (I recommend the Stephen Mitchell translation)
- Bhagavad Gita (I recommend the Eknath Easwaran translation due to its wonderful introductions and commentary. I also enjoy the Stephen Mitchell translation)
- Upanishads (I recommend the Eknath Easwaran translation due to its wonderful introductions and commentary.)
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (I recommend the Sri Swami Satchidananda translation)
- Dharma Punx, by Noah Levine
If you have any interest in learning or talking more about meditation, send Jarod an email. This is and will be a conversation, a connection, so please do not be hesitant due to any concerns related to cost or accessibility. These talks will be donation based, because there should not be a prohibitive wall against peace.