Meditation is a topic that seems to cause much unnecessary grief and consternation. Many hold to the false notion that meditation is “quieting” the mind. Well, the mind will not be quieted! Our mind is always in motion, right now your mind is regulating all the various systems and organs in your body, making thousands of silent decisions about hormone levels, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, digestion etc. All taking place without any conscious thought on our part. Therefore, to be clear, the mind is never quiet, meditation reorders our conscious thoughts, allows our mind to naturally find true focus and in focus lies peace.
When a new student first begins meditating, typically they begin with a picture in their minds eye based of some actor’s portrayal. Even documentaries usually get it wrong since those doing the reporting usually have little or no personal experience with meditation. So, let us begin at a simpler level. First, lay aside your conceptions of what meditation is or isnot. Meditation is a tool and there is more than one tool in the tool chest.
Reflective Meditation: Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for 15 minutes or so. Avoid if possible, telling anyone what you are about. Pick any spiritual tome that appeals to you and read a few lines, never more than two paragraphs. Then take three cleansing breaths: breathe in gently and deeply through the nose and then gently exhale through the mouth. Now, with eyes closed, reflect in your mind’s eye on what you just read. Consider each word along with the overall import of the passage. Do this for 15 minutes or so. When done perform another cleansing breath, thank Source (God) for time spent and go about your day. If in the course of the meditation your mind begins to wander, gently bring the focus back to what was read. If it wanders again, take a cleansing breath, thank Source (God) for time spent and go about your day. Note: Do not struggle or condemn yourself in any way if you are unable to spend 15 minutes in the beginning. No marathon runner started out running marathons. Additionally, do not set a timer or wear a watch or have a clock in your field of vision to peak at. In time, this will not matter but when first starting out it is a distraction. Your body has a wonderful natural clock; allow it to do its job. Do be consistent. Spiritual exercise is the same as physical exercise; we only reap the benefits if we are consistent.
The purpose: to give the conscious mind a break from the cacophony of thoughts and the information deluge we are subjected to. In time, a short time, you will begin to look forward to these quiet breaks (not quiet mind). You will begin to feel renewed and refreshed after these short sessions, your mind and thoughts more ordered, with less mental energy expended needlessly.
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