I have been practising meditation for many years. However, bringing it into my life as a daily practice can still be a challenge; especially when things get busy. This has made me wonder why we struggle to maintain those things in life that we know are good for us. In a world where choice is overwhelming – and access to possibilities via the internet are creating an obsession with connectedness – it has become harder to stay focused.
It is through this hyper-connection to the external world that we are losing connection to ourselves.
Mindfulness meditation offers a way to unplug from the incessant stream of information and noise, be that external or internal, and be reminded that there is a place to reside that is beyond time and beyond needing to be somewhere else. Meditation brings us close to the simple miracle of consciousness without needing a tragic shake-up to get there. How often do you stop in your day and feel gratitude for the mere fact that you can see? Did you actually taste the last meal you ate? Were you really listening to the last friend that was speaking to you, or were you already thinking about what you wanted to say next?
Why does all this matter? It matters because losing connection with ourselves and our life purpose creates stress and puts us at risk of depression which, according to the World Health Organization, is predicted to become the second largest health problem in the world by 2030. Mindfulness meditation is a way that we can stay anchored to ourselves. An antidote to the rocket-like speed of technology, which is a wonderful resource but can also be an insidious distraction from the moment.
There are many myths surrounding meditation. There are also many different forms of meditation. One thing they have in common, no matter which meditation you practice, is that there is no such concept as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditator. It is the world of duality – the good and the bad, that meditation helps us transcend, even for a few moments.
Next time you sit to meditate and think you are doing it ‘badly’, pose a question: Who is thinking the thought ‘I am doing it badly’? Where did that thought actually come from? Try turning your attention for a moment to the space from which thoughts arise. The space of awareness.
It’s tricky at first. Bring a thought to mind intentionally, like ‘this is the mind’ or ‘banana’. Keep your attention in this space and watch as the thought dissolves back into that space of awareness. A space that is beyond thoughts but is still you.
This ‘I’ that we so strongly believe to be ourselves, that we so strongly identify with, is often like the frothy pollution that floats atop the vast, expansive sea of our consciousness. As meditation deepens, we take a deep dive beyond the superficial mental chitchat and reach a place that is peaceful, still and grounded. Exhaling as if it were our last breath, we are brought into the miracle of being alive. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no-one to be.