Meditation is not something you do. It’s not just about closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. For many people, however, this is a good place to start. Meditation is a merging of the consciousness of the meditator and the meditation object. The union with the universal consciousness – mother, God, spirit, whatever name you choose to give – is the state of meditation.
We cannot talk about meditation or analyze it to really understand its effects. Disassembling meditation does not bring us any closer to the experience. And it’s not that the experience is the same for all people: it can be achieved in infinite ways. Some people bond by climbing, diving, writing, dancing, looking at the ocean, or being with their child. There is no right or wrong way.
I’ve spent years sitting cross-legged on the floor and focusing on my breath. Sometimes I get excited when my “monkey mind” bounces around here, there and everywhere. Sometimes I got into a state of extreme calm and stillness and felt the pulse of the universe.
The struggle, the varied experience, the challenge: this is the practice of meditation. The biggest misconception about meditation practice is that it is bliss. Years ago I went to a 10 day silent meditation retreat. Was I excited, floated, and communicated with God? No, it was exhausting. My knees hurt, my back hurt, and I couldn’t wait to get to meals.
But the lessons went deeper than just my physical needs and limitations. I learned as my ego or personality wastes energy through thoughtless speech and habitual reactions to people. I felt the juxtaposition of silence and loneliness and how connected and loved I felt instead of being in a busy city that was surrounded by people and felt alone.
When we sit still, we can observe the tendencies and madness of the mind. We therefore gain some perspective that our thoughts are actually separate from what we are.
But if we are not our thoughts or even our feelings, then who are we? This is a question that people have always asked themselves and that we must continue to ask ourselves.
Life feels so personal. I – my – mine! We connect and cling to our thoughts and feelings as if they were real. But how can something be so real when it’s constantly changing? If your thoughts are yours, what were you thinking at 2:15 p.m. last Thursday?
Sitting down to meditate means calming down the body and practicing letting go of strong bonds. It’s about identifying with the idea of who we are, who we “are”, if only for a few minutes.
Magic and beauty lie in gaps in thought. These are the moments when we experience peace and security, and when we are reminded that as we struggle through life and try to survive, we are not alone.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating on your day. Even 5 or 10 minutes of daily exercise will have a profound effect on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
The universe doesn’t want us to suffer. The universe wants us to wake up with the power, creativity, and joy that we are. The universe constantly invites us to remember that we are a soul in a body floating in a sea of consciousness through this grand and mysterious expression of life. Meditation can get us there.
Madhuri is a yoga teacher, clinical Ayurveda specialist, bioenergy healer and desire map facilitator. She created the Madhuri Method: Ayurveda Yoga Teacher Training for Yoga Teachers after teaching for 15 years and seeing the need to mainstream Ayurveda in yoga classes. Madhuri was honored to teach at: NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association); Wanderlust; Yoga conferences in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto as well as teachers and guides for many students in India, England, Mexico and North America. She has an Ayurvedic yoga DVD and is co-author of “Your irresistible life: 4 seasons of self-care through functioning Ayurveda and yoga practices”.