Meditation is a state of being where you are not identified with your mind or your body, not reacting to feelings or situations or ideas; where you are simply being. A watcher, a witness to whatever is moving within you, around and about you, in that moment. You are aware, conscious, relaxed and alert; there is deep stillness at your centre and you are fully present, alive. The ‘You’ has momentarily disappeared.
Emerging from this state of being you may feel softer, stronger, and more peaceful. You might have greater clarity, colours may look brighter, you may feel that your eyesight has improved. You may feel energised, playful, joyful, blissful. Your voice might sound more resonant, from a deeper place. You may seek solitude more often.
You may want to speak less and the words that you do speak seem to arise and flow through you, with greater impact. There is a sweetness to this state of being, a sense of expansion and deepening at the same time, like rings of waves rippling across a pond when a stone falls into the deep, still water. These waves of silence, this vibration that you have settled into, may also be palpable to others. With no effort on your part, it can move out into the world with you like a fragrance – and quietly, softly, soothe and heal, not only you but others around you as well.
You can’t ‘do’ meditation, just like you cant ‘do’ orgasm. It happens when the conditions are right and you allow it. You stop trying to be in control. You can watch it happening and you can lose yourself in it, even if only for a moment.
Sitting in a particular posture, following a technique, chanting, breathing, eating mindfully – these activities are not necessarily meditating. However any such techniques, when chosen with compassion, to support the release of body-mind patterns that you are currently operating with, and practiced in a committed way, can greatly assist in establishing the conditions for meditation to happen.
For example because many people in the Western world are so tense, busy tired, and wired, it is a big ask to sit silently in a full lotus position for hours, trying to become a meditator! Some people can push through the pain and find a way to relax into this practice, I am not here to judge anyone else’s practice if its working for them.
My point is there are many ways to come into a meditative space – such as:
- Dance practices (I personally love the 5 Rhythms method),
- Active meditation techniques using breath, body, voice (Osho’s Dynamic, Kundalini, Nataraj and other techniques are excellent for this)
- Micro-techniques such as the ones I have recorded on my recent mp3 series. For a free download click here. These micro techniques offer simple ways to open up new levels of awareness, temporarily stop the chatter of the mind .
- Kirtan – a group meditation using singing and chanting of scared mantras
- Simply whirling As a child I often used to whirl spontaneously without having ever (at least not in this lifetime) studied these practices. Later I discovered that the Sufi Dervishes, George Gurdjieff and his followers have found whirling to be a wonderful vehicle to invite the gift of meditation.
- Simply sitting doing nothing
- Any kind of activity where you are fully absorbed and in a state of devotion or surrender can become a meditation practice.
And as we develop the capacity to regularly make ourselves available, to surrender, to suspend the auto-pilot and its illusion of control, opening up to the whole, it becomes easier to connect with the state of being that is meditation. Eventually, with enough practice and awareness, one can simply switch.