This post is about meditation. The concept of meditation often provokes strong reactions: meditation is difficult, meditation is just for the ones who have time, it is for spiritual people, useless or boring, “I am unable to meditate anyway”. And it’s also about this last aspect that I would like to write about.
In my case, meditation came without a warning, I did not really “start to meditate”. It has been a natural evolution, coming from my Asana Yoga practice and, more important, from my Pranayama (breath expansion) practice. So I did not wake up one morning telling myself: that’s it, I will now start to meditate. It just started happening during the moments I was sitting after doing my breath exercises. Then it started becoming a more conscious process that I kept on doing. But what is meditation exactly? Defining it is quite difficult.
To meditate is a verb, a verb that implies an action. In my very personal opinion, this is not entirely correct. That’s why I often say: I’ll sit, I have been sitting this morning. Also, meditation is a very personal practice, same as Pranayama. Meditation happens, we don’t really “do something” to make it happen. We can use techniques of concentration, poses that make our sitting comfortable, visualisation methods to focus, etc. But the “action” of meditation is something that “happens to us” and that we don’t really make happen.
What I can relate to at this stage, is that meditations is very useful and that it brings along many positive aspects. On a scientific level, it has been proven that a regular meditation practice has several positive effects on a physical and psychical level. On the other hand, I don’t really know what happens, plus I don’t really know if I meditate properly, if even there is such a thing as “meditating properly”. It’s really hard to describe the practice. Yet, I think that the simple fact of sitting (or you could also do it laying on your back, in bed, on a yoga mat) and watching what happens, trying to focus, stay present and tuned to your breath, is already very very useful.
So this is were sitting and watching can be practised by everyone, no need to be capable of doing it. Begin very simple, just 8-10 minutes a day. Try to focus on the air flowing in and out from your nose, feel it’s texture around your nostrils. Or try to follow the breath in it’s trip inside your body. You could also observe and feel your bones and muscles, let them become heavy. And don’t expect to shut down your mind and become thoughtless. Your thoughts are there, they will arise and even unfold more. Just watch and breathe trying to not take them too seriously, maybe after a while things start to change.