A meditation student went to his guru and said, 'Every time I sit down to meditate, my mind goes crazy and I can't calm down. My mind wanders and it does not seem to be doing any good.'
The guru responds, 'Don't worry, just wait two weeks.'
Two weeks later, the student comes back in and is soooooo excited and exclaims, 'My mind is calm. I'm finding bliss and peace every time I meditate. This is the greatest thing ever.'
The guru calmly replies, 'Don't worry, just wait two weeks.'
My meditation challenge has been exactly like this. It goes in ebbs and flows and brick walls and stops.
I've practiced many different forms of meditation since January 1st. Guided meditation, Zazen meditation, moving meditation, sleep inducing meditation, and holy crap has it only been 5 minutes mediation.
I've learned to let my mood and day choose my meditation style for the day. If I have an idea of what I want to do and force it on my practice that day, I WILL STRUGGLE. As I prep for my meditation, turning off my phone, etc., I ask myself, 'What is going to work today?'
So, Lesson #1 of meditation,
Let it flow. Do not force it.
People have been asking me how long I meditate.... The answer is a bit complicated. It varies. Some days I'll meditate for almost an hour, the next 10 minutes. The goal is to meditate with full intention, not time. The Zen meditation practice of Zazen is very structured and regimented. You sit for a specific time in a specific posture. I have done this style, but I started rebelling against the time restrictions. For 25 minutes, I would be in bliss and peace and then I would feel like my meditation was complete, but I would still have 25 minutes left in the time. I would then sit in frustration and lose what I had gained.
Lesson #2 of meditation.
Be flexible on time. Listen to your body and mind. However, challenge yourself every once in a while and do a longer timed meditation.
My New Year's Resolution was to meditate every day. By a bit of luck, I put no other conditions on it, like time or style, which is not normally my style. I have missed a few days, but not a lot. Ironically, it's on the quiet days, that I have a tendency to miss. On crazy, busy, hectic, stressful days, I crave my meditation.
Lesson #3 of meditation.
Make a habit of it. Consistency is the key to this.... You'll survive the brick walls and stops, if you just keep meditating.
The best part of my meditation has not occurred during my practice. It has occured in the rest of my life. My critical inner voice is calming down--you know the one that says you can't do this..... During exercise, I am able to find that quiet space in my mind and just let my body do what I set out to do. I am also sleeping better. And on those nights that I'm not sleeping well, I do a guided meditation that sends me right to sleep.
So, the final Lesson of meditation. #4
Enjoy the results. Enjoy the silence and bliss.....
Since I've started this, friends and family have been sending me quotes and cartoons about meditation, so I will leave you will this final thought.
If you do not have time to sit in silence for 30 minutes,
you need an hour.