After your first few attempts at meditation, you might have started to ask yourself , ‘What is Meditation?’ The following might sound familiar.
You find somewhere quiet; you sit down in the cross legged position and you close your eyes. You try to clear your mind and relax but your head won’t shut up. The more you attempt to clear your thoughts, the more they keep coming.
Some people suggest repeating mantras, focusing on your third eye or even watching your thoughts like a film. So what is meditation? How should you meditate? What are you supposed to feel? And why meditate in the first place?
What is meditation?
For me, meditation is about being totally engaged and focused on something. In some respects, when you worry or dwell on a problem for days at a time without thinking about anything else, you’re meditating.
Meditation could also mean becoming engrossed in a piece of music, enjoying a sunset or practising a sport you love. I’m sure you’ve experienced losing track of time because you were totally engrossed in something. We’ve all had moments where we feel lighter, more present and connected to what’s going on around us; this is, in some respects what meditation teaches us.
But what is meditation in a spiritual sense? How would a Buddhist or a yogi define meditation?
Osho, the Indian Yogi and spiritual teacher says this:
“This is the way of meditation: encountering the present in all its tremendous beauty, just being in the present. Inside, the mind stops. Outside, the world changes totally. It is no more the ordinary world you have known before. In fact, you have not known it at all. Your mind was distorting everything, your mind was creating fantasies. Your eyes were full of fantasies and you were looking though those fantasies. They never allowed you to see that which is. If the mind is gone, even for a moment, suddenly the whole existence explodes upon you.”
The quote above was found on the website Oshophotos.
So, how are you supposed to get to this point? Some people suggest stop trying. Some suggest you find a teacher you respect and learn from him/ her and other people say that meditation is a step by step process which takes time. In reality, there’s no right or wrong which can be confusing.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to stay curious. Everyone’s meditative experiences will be different so try not to hold too many preconceived ideas. Even asking your unconscious mind, ‘What is meditation really about?’ might help.
Alternatively, just question why you’d like to meditate. Do you want to feel less stressed, more relaxed or less angry? Do you want to feel more spiritual or learn to forgive someone who wronged you?
Once you’re clear about why you’d like to meditate, you can find guided meditations or specific information related to stress, spirituality, anger…What works for one person might be totally useless for someone else, but I’m sure intuitively you’ll find something that works for you.