The truth is, for most of us meditation can feel like a daily struggle. We battle the monkey mind, the constant chatter of thoughts, never ending “do to” lists, and the uncomfortable tension in our aching muscles as we try to maintain just the right pose for thoughtlessness.
We try different techniques, concentrate on breathing the right way, thinking the right thoughts – or not thinking at all (what is it, again?), and dedicate ourselves to the “discipline” of self-mastery, but at the end of the day we feel frustrated with our lack of enlightenment.
We’ve put the work in, where are the results?
If you’ve tried developing a regular meditation practice and have yet to find your groove, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Meditation (and its many forms) is, in reality, a very simple process. Yet, as with most simple things, our minds want to complicate the experience. How can something so nourishing and transformative to the body, mind, and soul be so simple? Doesn’t it require hard work?
In my experience, it is this “no pain, no gain” mentality (so prevalent in our Western society) that often sets many would-be meditation practitioners up for failure.
The idea that meditation is a “discipline” is misleading. The word too strongly vibrates to thoughts of “hard work,” “exercise,” “self-mastery,” “commitment,” and other intimidating concepts. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with a “hard work” approach, the words create a sense of difficulty and struggle surrounding a practice which, at its essence is quite simple.
Meditation is not about “doing,” it’s about “being” – and being requires no effort. It occurs at all moments of the day, with or without your conscious awareness. Being is not something you are achieving; It just is. And meditation is simply becoming aware of your Being. It’s about Mindfulness. Observation. It’s the practice of consciously choosing to direct your focus in the flow of effortlessness.
In meditation we remove the “I” from our experience and see all that we think and feel from a Higher Perspective. It’s not about controlling our thoughts, feelings, emotions, or experience. It’s not about reaching some elusive state of bliss. It’s not about being more or less than we are. It’s not about bypassing the moment. It’s not about “doing” anything at all: it’s about surrender.
Surrendering to the moment is the essence of meditation. It’s an acceptance of all that is that brings about true freedom. Surrender is about non-judgment. It’s the ability to see our thoughts as passing moments and becoming Aware of the Universal Self that is present beyond the thought, beyond the limited perspective of our current expression.
To practice meditation one need not embark upon a “discipline.” Simply observing your breath is meditation, and you can do this right now, in this moment.
Breathe-in deeply and notice how the breath moves through your body. Become mindful of the fact that you’re breathing. Notice how you are sitting. Notice the moment created around you. What do you hear? What do you see? Taste? Smell? Touch? When you stop to observe the moment, you remove the veil of time and enter into the ever-present, Omnipotent now. In the now there is no past to regret and no future to obtain. There is no judgment in the now, only the experience of Consciousness.
When you become mindful, you expand the Cosmic Center of Consciousness in your very being– the center of your Universe. You allow the Universal mind to enter into the experience of your individual expression. You allow the Spirit of All that is to flow in and through you. You surrender to what is and release the chains of your elusive “becoming” to enter into the freedom of simply existing. You realize in every moment you already have within you all you need. There is nothing to do. In the ever-present now, you are enough.