Learning to meditate, quiet my mind, and touch into the deep place of Peace and Embrace within my Self is the greatest gift I have ever received.
Meditation teaches the art of self-mastery, of learning to experience each moment with calm awareness and compassion. It helps us learn not to identify with our incessant thoughts and feelings, but instead to choose to identify with the profound peace that dwells within us.
This place of peace is available to all of us. And we all have a natural ability to find it. No one ever provided us with an owner’s manual for our minds, so most of us are not aware of this incredible potential within us. It’s by meditating that we develop our own “owner’s manual.”
Meditation also offers us an opportunity to sit quietly and, in the sacred Silence, come to “Know Thy Self. ” In coming to Know Thy Self, one is better able to appreciate and love oneself and others.
By meditating, we can connect at the deepest level with our soul and our higher self, and tap into our highest potentials. We can check in with that part of us that accesses great wisdom and creativity and is connected to infinite love, peace, and potential.
We learn how to identify or interact with that peaceful center by not getting caught up in our fears, worries, anxieties, responsibilities, etc. We do it by quieting our minds and opening our hearts. This allows that peace at the center of our being to flow into our awareness unimpeded by all our thoughts and feelings.
When we are not all “clogged up” with thoughts and feelings, when we empty ourselves of them, we allow stillness and peace to flow in and fill us up. We then enter a state of joy, peace, and love that is profound and liberating. This state is where we can eavesdrop on God.
Meditation is an antidote for the over-emphasis on “doing” and “thinking” that is so prevalent today. As Deepak Chopra said, we are meant to be human “beings” and not human “doings” or human “thinkings.”
We are meant to spend time with ourselves often, so we can get to know who we truly are. We can’t do this if we are always on the go, always doing and thinking and never having any sacred quiet time.
The goal is inner simplicity – maintaining a quiet mind in the midst of a busy life. Why? Because a tense mind creates a tense body and a stressed-out life; a relaxed mind creates a relaxed, healthy body and a happy life. Numerous scientific studies have shown the direct effects of stress on illness and decreased longevity. Meditation helps put us into a new relationship with our body, thoughts and feelings – a healthy one.
You can’t benefit from meditation just by reading about it. You must practice.
It all comes down to breathing
Many meditation techniques can help quiet the mind and open us to a true, lasting peace. Observing the breath is one of the most accessible and powerful methods. It is used by beginners and masters alike, and is often the first technique taught. To help you start, try this 5-minute Breath Meditation practice. It’s a simple one you can use anytime during the day.
Note that you can also do this exercise with your eyes open, such as while you’re standing in a line, waiting for a bus or an appointment, sitting in a meeting where you don’t have to be fully focused, etc.. After just a few minutes of doing this you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how balanced, relaxed, and grounded you feel.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced meditator, you can constantly use your breath as an ongoing frame of reference or “ground” for your being. Whenever you get lost in compulsive thinking or in doing too much, come back to an awareness of your breath. Your breath is always in the present and if you focus your attention on it, it will bring you peace.
We waste an enormous amount of our precious energy worrying about the future and reliving the past. Use your breath to come back to the present and revive your energies. And then use these energies to create joy and success in the present and to plant seeds for even greater joy in the future. This is the way to peace of mind. There is nothing more grounding and centering than your breath. Peace of mind is but a breath away.
Meditation takes practice, but everyone can do it. It is not easy at first to learn how to calm our minds, focus our thoughts, and concentrate on our inner worlds, but with patience and practice one can experience an incredible leap forward in one’s quality of life.
As Rousseau wrote:
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”