Lesson 12: Meditation
One of the most frequently asked-about topics I get on here is meditation. As spiritual people beginning our paths of awakening, we want to practice meditation in order to center ourselves and enhance our spiritual connection. But meditating is far from easy, especially when there are so many misconceptions about how we should go about it.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands and thousands of years across religions and cultures. It is most often associated with Buddhism and is a spiritual practice that allows one to calm their mind, charge their energy, and center themselves. Meditation is also an excellent method for contacting your angels/spirit guides and accessing your higher self. Through meditating, you can also have many moments of epiphany and self-discovery.
There are many, many forms of meditation and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for you. The thing that relates all of these forms to each other is presence. During meditation, you should be completely present. I always recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle to understand presence, but it isn’t some mysterious “concept.” Presence literally refers to the current moment, the Now. If you can place all your focus in the Now and live in this present moment, not thinking of yesterday or tomorrow or some hypothetical, nameless point in time that has nothing to do with what is happening right now in this very moment, then you can be present. Being present itself is a meditation. What’s also important during meditation is breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out is not only an easy way for you to master presence (as once you focus on your breathing, you’ve instantly become present), but it is also a method of relaxation. Breathing deeply allows you to breathe out negative energy and inhale positive. Deep breathing allows you to control your intake of prana energy.
- Meditation helps to make us feel peaceful. The problem many people have with this is that they feel they cannot control their minds. During meditation, they feel as if their minds control them and they don’t control their minds, so they cannot understand how to be still and meditate. This only happens when we aren’t present. When you live in the present moment, you choose to not think about all the “problems” or things you want to fix. You choose to not think of things that aren’t real; you choose to not think at all, and to just be in the Now. Presence is the key. Of course, many people feel that they aren’t “getting it right” because they’re still having thoughts. When you meditate, even if you’re present, thoughts are bound to come. But don’t think about those thoughts when they come. Don’t get frustrated that thoughts are still there and then try to chase them away. The point is to be still. Even in presence, thoughts will still come. Imagine your mind like the sky and thoughts are clouds. Clouds pass slowly and smoothly across the sky all the time, in a peaceful manner. The sky doesn’t try to chase them away, it just lets the clouds pass. It smiles at them as they go. The clouds do not disturb the sky’s being, they do not distract the sky from being the sky. The sky goes on and so do the clouds. Be the sky and let your thoughts be clouds.
- When you empty your mind during meditation, what you’re “emptying” is not the thoughts themselves, but rather your reaction to them or your interpretation of them. You’re silencing the inner voice that reads these thoughts in your mind. Just let the thoughts be and let yourself be. If you are striving to make your mind completely blank during meditation, you are going to have a passive experience and that is not the goal of meditation. Yes, meditation should be relaxing, but it should also be a spiritual experience that you are completely engaged in. Thoughts can actually be helpful during meditation. As I said before, meditation can help with self-discovery. The way certain things make you feel while you meditate can tell you a lot about what you need to let go of and what no longer serves you. A helpful practice is to think of one word, thing, place, or person while you meditate. Concentrate your energy on the one thing you’ve chosen and be aware of how your body and mind respond to it. This can help you to focus and also help to reveal certain things about you or your life.
- Breathing exercises are an essential part of meditation, especially in the beginning when you are trying to enter a meditation state. Here are some excellent breathing exercises you can try. Focus on the rise and fall of your breath when you begin meditating, and any time a thought crosses your mind, come back to your breathing. Counting your breath is also very helpful for presence.