The topic of meditation has recently come up in conversations with friends. Some of my closest friends have been going through some trying times for a while now and you know what that means: you swing from phases of frustration to believing things happen for the best, and then back to frustration. Those calamities in our lives are the fortunate or unfortunate tests of our patience and true faith in the divine wisdom.
Don’t get me wrong: with everything I say and practice, I’ll be the first one to admit to falling completely apart and having my spiritual tantrums when life presents challenges and disappointments.
So, I Meditate.
Meditation is a lighthouse our soul builds to remember how to navigate through stormy seas of life. Yet, no one can convince you to meditate until at some point you decide you need to give it a try. Hence, you begin the search for your own lighthouse.
I believe that meditation is not just about sitting down for 30 minutes a day for a formal practice, but is largely about maintaining a meditative outlook throughout the day – all the while, truthfully observing yourself and your reactions. Yet, there is still a lot to be said about the discipline of meditation. It is the 20, 30, 60 (or whatever you can do) minutes you dedicate to center yourself and to let go.
Meditation Takes Preparation, Patience And Introspection
My friends tell that me meditation is not easy because stopping the mind is next to impossible. It’s true -- to stop the mind with mind control is impossible, and that’s not what meditation is. It took me years (decades?) to get to a point where meditation became a natural state of being. Meditating takes perfecting like everything else in life, and you can perfect it by listening to yourself and following your intuition. That may not come naturally right away but that’s where patience comes in.
I spent many challenging years trying to meditate without much success until I finally gave up and began practicing reflection and awareness. By “practicing” I mean becoming reflective and aware. The process of becoming takes away the implied impermanence of “practice.” Increased reflection, awareness, and consequently a higher state of surrender and aspiration helped me tremendously and, after a while, I returned to meditation refreshed and better prepared. Meditation and I finally clicked.
It May Be Difficult At First But Don’t Give Up, You Will Find Your Way
So, to my friends and to others who say meditation is difficult – don’t give up. Start somewhere. Think outside the box. There are no rules here: if sitting down to meditate brings you discontent and frustration, try something else like a walking or guided meditation, reading, reflection, visiting a spiritual place.
Online sources, although overwhelming at first, can provide you with thousands of possibilities. I would cite sources, but I realized one truth: guided meditation is like a meal – some people will like it and some will not. You have to like the voice, the music, the tone and watch closely how you respond.
So, take some time, be patient and go through the resources available to you (YouTube, etc.). Start with something short, maybe 10-15 minutes, guided or just music (although I do recommend learning some guided relaxation and imagery techniques for beginners such as Yoga Nidra).
Find The Right Time For It
They say you can meditate anytime, anywhere, but I somewhat disagree. If you’re going to meditate, try not to be overexcited, overtired, hungry, full or hyped up on caffeine. Yogis prepare themselves for a meditation because the quality of it is largely tied to your physical and mental state of being.
Try to meditate when you’re fully rested, rather than before you sleep. Yet, if you fall asleep during meditating, don’t agonize over it – in the beginning that is what your body may need. Eventually, you’ll have to learn to stay awake but that’s eventually. Until then, find a place, time, and feeling that will let you easily tune in to your Self, and listen to what it has to say.
By Olga Kogan - Olga meditated for as long as she can remember. She has had some amazing experiences as well as some difficult ones, and believes in sharing one’s journey in hopes to make it a little easier for all of us. Want to contribute as a member of the DoYouYoga community too? Submit your article right here!