I have a deep interest in meditation since December 2015. However, just these past three months I am committed to meditate for at least 30 minutes a day.
What is meditation?
Meditation is to have full awareness and focus on present moment!
yes, meditation is not the time when you think about your past or planning your future in your head. It is simply being aware of present moment. Having awareness of your breathing, inhale and exhale, being aware of the sensation of your body, maybe there is an itchiness on your cheek or numb on your right leg. Simply being aware of those sensation, embrace it. Be in present moment.
What makes meditation challenging?
The speed of our mind is faster than the speed of light! When we meditate, our mind tends to wander a lot (for beginner, most of the time we don’t realized that our mind wanders! oh no..) If you think meditation is just as easy as closing your eyes and sitting up straight, then try to do that and focus on your breathing (inhale and exhale) for five minutes without getting your mind wanders about the memories of your past experiences or your future desire.
Why we should meditate?
Our mind is a good servant but a bad master. Most often, we let our mind control our words and actions and we do not have the ability to take charge of our own mind.
All the crime news we heard from newspaper and TV are the result of people who cultivate negative thoughts long enough in their mind until it turns to criminal actions which causes harm to self and others.
Negative thoughts produces negative emotions and those emotions will produce negative actions. So, the root of all problems comes from our own mind!
So I strongly believe, world could be a better place if only people have full awareness and taking control of their own mind.
There are 3 life-changing benefits I enjoy from meditation:
I become a happier person
It is so easy for me to be happy all the time even in difficult situations. Practicing meditation makes me aware of my own thoughts, words and actions.
As a normal human beings, it is normal to have negative thoughts towards self and certain people. For example, sometimes I think that I am not good enough. Imagine if I let this thought running around like a ninja in my mind for days, it must’ve making me feel so miserable and I ended up doing miserable things like getting drunk, stress eating, or become cranky all the time.
However, I choose not to entertain those thoughts! When that thought arises, it is very easy for me to be aware that I am having the negative thought, and I acknowledge the thought (without punishing myself) and gently switch my focus on my breathing until the negative thought disappear (usually it takes less than 1 minute). Living a positive state of mind makes me happier which in result, I produce more positive emotions and actions and it is strongly related to my happiness and others.
2. I become kinder and gentler to myself and others
During meditation, when our mind wanders, we are trained to quickly acknowledge the wandering minds (without getting involved into the story, we look at the wandering mind as third person point of view), without putting any judgment, and gently bring back focus into breathing. By putting no judgment to our thoughts, we look at negative thoughts as it is.
For example, when Ally meditates, her mind wanders of the moment her boss scolded her in front of public, she thought of how much she despises her boss for treating her badly, she wanted to make her boss pay for his actions. Then Ally detected that there is negative thoughts arises, she has two options:
A. She gets involved in the story and judged her own thoughts
Result: She might be recalling the past event of her and her boss without being able to control her mind, imagining all the bad things she would do to harm the boss and only to realized she is such a bad person (self judging alert!) and pull a conclusion that she is a mean person without realizing that negative thought does not define who we are. For God’s sake, it is just a thought!
B. She acknowledges the negative thoughts as it is, understand the nature of mind, and slowly bring back her focus into breathing.
Result: She understands that it is normal that mind have the capabilities to produce negative thoughts, without putting any judgment or making the thoughts as reference to define who she is, she learn to be gentle and kinder to herself and understand human’s behavior. Just because her boss scolded her in front of public does not translate her boss is a bad person, maybe at that time her boss has lack of awareness of her own actions. From this understanding, it is easier for Ally to be gentle to her boss and others.
Another good example. I believe you met people who define themselves as easily angry person. Do you know why they label themselves as “an easily angry person”? Because they associate their feelings and emotions and make those reference to define who they are.
When you are feeling angry, instead of saying “I am angry!” (which is so wrong in so many levels), it is better you take mental note and acknowledge, “There is an angry feeling arises”, without trying so hard to make the feeling go away (because it will disappear eventually) simply embrace the feeling like a good old friend, observing the feeling and notice how the feeling is slowly fading away before you could take any actions to express your anger.
3. I gain wisdom
During my meditation practice, I am simply observing my breath, breath in, breath out, in.. out.. in.. out.. When the painful feeling arises for sitting with leg crossed for too long, I observe the pain and slowly the pain fades away. When my mind wanders, I bring back my focus on breathing and the wandering mind disappear. These exercises of observing sensations and thoughts come and go teach me a valuable lesson, everything is impermanence.
By understanding that changes is the only constant thing in life, I learn to accept changes and be comfortable with uncertainty. It makes me ready to embrace changes like a good old friend because this is the reality of life.
In this life, there are 4 changes in life that we will experiences:
- Our healthy body is getting sick and we don’t possess the same stamina we had.
- Getting old and wrinkle
- Separate from what we love
- Stuck with what we hate
On October 2017, I had a health issue that requires me to take injections two times a week for 4-6 months. I am so scared of injections and the injections are extremely painful and at times, even painkiller does not help. What keeps me still having positive attitude is the understanding that even this sickness is impermanence! And let me enjoy the pain of injection cause I know, this too, shall pass.
In meditation, we are trained to see our thought as it is, painful sensation as it is without putting any judgement and any story inside. Thanks to this exercise, we also trained to look at life as it is. We understand the nature of life. Life is a balance of pleasure and displeasure moments. When it comes to bad moments, we have the liberty to choose how we should think and feel about it. By understanding that everything is impermanence, we could be a wiser person and embrace all moments with our heart’s wide open.
On my next post, I will share to readers my meditation techniques. Stay tuned.