Teaching meditation is like trying to teach someone to sleep, it’s impossible. It’s impossible because both of these states are so natural. We cycle through sleep daily and meditation throughout each day wether we are consciously aware of it or not. These things are already inside of us and they are personal, they vary from individual to individual. Although there are tools out there to assist with both of these states, at the end of the day it is about us and works for us as an awesome and unique individual bundle of conscious matter.
When it comes to sleep, we don’t put all that much thought into it. It just happens, it is part of our daily rhythm and not something we tend to think about all that much. We ALLOW for it to happen and it usually does. Of course we all have those days when sleep is sparse, sporadic, short, etc., but even when that happens, we trust that tomorrow will be better and we move into the next cycle paying no mind. We just do. It’s a natural state that we regulated when we were babies and now as adults it is there for us each night.
Meditation is becoming more and more popular and because of that two things have happened. First, the awareness of this amazing practice has exploded. Meditation truly heals us and in turn our world and the fact it is becoming such a buzz is literally THE BEST!! Meditation needs more awareness (like most things). But with this reward of expansion comes misconceptions. We seems to have lost the ease of meditation and the idea of allowing it to happen. We have idealized this state with an image of perfectionism and force rather than it's natural ease and flow.
When we can’t sleep, and we start trying to sleep, we all know it just gets harder. The same thing happens with meditation. With the practice of meditation growing in society, we seem to have idealized this natural state and put it into a box. We see meditation as this version of sitting cross legged in lotus entering into this metaphysical state of ascension. And don’t get me wrong this version of meditation is legitimate, but it doesn’t work for everyone the same way at least right off the bat. We can't force what our minds and bodies aren't ready for, it takes personalize practice just like going to the gym. Meditation is not cookie cutter.
Just as we had to learn to regulate our sleep, we need to learn to regulate our mediation. We have always been able to sleep, but our parents got us into the routine of sleep. We have always been able to meditation we just have to find a routine which will help us soak up the most benefits.
Keep it simple. Meditation is ANYTHING (key word: anything) that brings us presence in our lives. Anything that takes us away from thinking of the past and future or living in our depression or anxiety respectively is meditation. So for some, this may be the version of closing your eyes, sitting cross legged, breathing, and focusing the mind through mantra and intention. But for most of us, we aren’t able to start here, we can get there in time but we have to figure out what helps get us there first.
So maybe your meditation practice starts as walking your dog. Walking your dog is what brings you peace in the present moment. Your version of meditation may be listening to your favorite song and dancing because you forget your worries for just that moment. Maybe your access to bliss comes in the form of movement of any kind. It can truly be anything. Everyday things that we love that snap us into contentment is mediation and this is happening all day long, we just don’t notice because it’s so natural.
Literally… stop trying so hard. And stop trying to be perfect. Just allow it to happen for you and stop forcing this image you’ve created of what meditation ‘should be’ to happen for you. BECAUSE IT ALREADY IS!!! Your only job is start noticing. Notice what is already bringing you peace, notice what brings you santosha (contentment with who you are, where you are with no need to change), notice the little moments of pure bliss you already have. This is the practice. And the more you begin to notice the more it will happen, and the more it happens the more you can start to guide it and regulate it. We can’t control our thoughts or states of being, we can notice our thoughts and states of being, and as we learn to notice we can decide to bring ourselves out of the thoughts and states that don’t serve our better good.
Today, don’t try and meditate. Just try and notice all the moments, no matter how small they are, when you are already in the state of meditation. And just like sleep, persist. Trust enough that even when it's hard, to move into the next cycle with faith. Trust that it will come because it always does, never in the way we expect and always in the ways we are aware enough to see.
- Brit Kish
"It is better to follow your own essential responsibility, though imperfectly, than another's even if done well."
- The Bhagavad Gita