Meditation. Now, there’s a word with a whole lotta baggage.
You probably know the many benefits. You have probably tried it… possibly more than once. You probably think you’ve ‘failed’… possibly more than once.
I get it. Meditation, in its traditional form, isn’t for everyone, for the simple reason that it is a practice designed for and by renunciates (aka people who had given up earthly pleasures and responsibilities in order to devote themselves to religious or spiritual life). Hours of seated meditation is possible if you have don’t have a job, a family and a To Do list as long as your arm.
I’m here to remind you that meditation doesn’t have to be a long, complicated or uncomfortable.
But first, let’s get back to basics and discover what meditation actually is.
Meditation is such an important component of the yogic path that three of the eight limbs relate to contemplative practices:
- Dharana is placing your attention on a single thing. Whether this is the body, breath, thoughts, an image or a mantra, this technique helps anchor awareness in the present moment.
- Dhyana is a meditative state in which there isn’t any real focus. Instead, the body and mind rest in stillness, silence and spaciousness. The effortlessness involved in this stage is sometimes described as simply being.
- Samadhi is often described as supreme bliss or enlightenment… which makes it seem really unattainable. Instead, my teacher describes it as a moment of natural, open awareness. Rather than something you strive for, it’s just something you allow and, more often than not, it arises when you least expect it. You might be walking on the beach, gazing up at the stars, listening to a beautiful piece of music or creating art. In that moment you have a feeling of really being alive and part of something bigger.
These are big concepts and the lines between them are blurry. I find it helpful to think of them as ALL part of the experience of meditation. Rather than getting tangled up in theory, I’d like to invite you to experience these states with a meditation based on the teachings of Jack Kornfield.
Meditation for open awareness
Lay down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.