I thought I’d write a post on meditation because it’s a topic I believe many people are interested in, but few really understand.
Imagine you’re an alien exploring a new planet, who has never heard the term “meditation” before. You walk into a room with a bunch of humans who are literally just sitting straight up, very still, with their hands on their knees and their eyes closed. The room looks welcoming and warm, there doesn’t seem to be anything scary and the people look peaceful, but you’re still looking at them like, “What the hell are you doing?” You have a slight tinge of fear and think that maybe this isn’t the planet for you after all.
That’s how I envision people walking into some of the meditation events I have participated in, in India, Bali, and even here in Scottsdale. Add in some sanskrit chanting and weird breathing techniques and most people are probably wondering what planet they are on, pushed way out of their comfort zone.
I happen to love that breathing and chanting stuff. The weirder the better. The more awkward you can make me feel, the better. The more you can push me out of my comfort zone, the more I feel like I’m growing. I’m kind of weird in general though – and I actually don’t even think it’s weird anymore. It’s just life.
SO, what the hell is meditation anyways? To think about it from a very physical, blunt perspective (like from an alien’s viewpoint) it’s kind of a funny concept. It’s like you’re body is taking a pause from life; you take some time out of your day to just sit and close your eyes.
But that’s exactly what it is: taking time to check IN with yourself, come back to the PRESENT MOMENT, evaluate what all is going on in your head/body, and find stillness. Sometimes people refer to their workouts, or activities they enjoy doing, as a meditation for them because they are taking time to step away from their “lives”. Using it as a time to check out. While this is great and probably necessary to “blow off some steam” – it’s not necessarily meditation. Meditation is not a time to “check OUT” of reality, but more as a time to check IN. See how everything is going. Bring the awareness internal. Am I thinking generally positive thoughts? Or am I worrying and stressing? How do I feel as a whole?
A big reason why it’s super challenging for many people, is that they DON’T WANT TO FACE all the shit that’s going on inside. And they end up masking it. With anything external they can get their hands on. Food, drugs, desire for more money, excessive alcohol, sex, overall busy-ness. Basically anything but slowing down and meditating. You see, if you meditate regularly for long enough, you’re forced to come to realizations about yourself, the way life is, relationships, whatever. Realizations that can be positive or negative. And then you have to take responsibility. Dammit.
And that’s just the beginning of meditation!!!! I probably just confused a lot of people by saying you’re going to observe your thoughts. But yeah, I said it. You’re going to think during meditation. And that’s okay! I think most people should just be working on taking a moment to slow down before focusing on trying to attain higher states of consciousness.
At first you’ll be thinking a lot. But then you’ll want to try to lessen the speed of those thoughts. You do this by focusing on breeaattthhinngg. You can consciously slow down your thoughts by consciously slowing down your breath. Breath slower and longer. There are other breathing techniques but I think I’ll save that for another post (this one is already getting long!!- SEE, this is why I had to write a damn book rather than just blog posts!!) Then you try to let go of what you’re thinking. Try noticing what you’re thinking about (without judging) and letting it go, by imagining you’re driving on a highway and reading billboards as you pass by but just continuing to drive. Your thoughts are the billboards going by.
As you begin to slow down the speed of your breathing and therefore your thoughts, you bring your awareness inward and focus your attention on ONE particular thing. Whether that be a word, a mantra, an object like a flower, a god, whatever – just pick something. When your focus is concentrated on that ONE thing for an extended period of time, this is when you’ll have these super states of stillness and freedom and joy and overall YAY LIFE IS A GIFT and fear is nonexistent and I am so grateful to be alive and I want everyone else to experience this freedom!!! It’s also basically gamma brain waves. The energy in your body is moving freely and your able to see EVERYTHING in life with more clarity: What matters. What makes sense. What’s the point of being a human. What it means to be YOU. Because that’s the ultimate goal. We all have a purpose on this Earth, and finding what makes you, you, is freeing. It’s not easy and needs to be accompanied with other tools such as a clean diet and regular exercise, but it is SO worth it! Especially with the rapidity of the way the Earth is moving today.
When my book is out, you’ll be able to read more in depth experiences of what it all means/ feels like, rather than this just this short little cliff notes/ sub par explanation of everything, but I’ll leave it at that for now:) There’s a lot more to it for sure.
Dani Butterly 🙂