Strip away any preconceptions and think of this as purely practical. Anything else will be gravy; if you like gravy.
Reading and hearing good things, I still didn’t know where or how to start. Religion and spirituality would be hilarious if they weren’t so scary. I like hilarity, not dogma – so I wasn’t sure if I could relate to meditation.
Remove any associations which might limit you and think of it as stillness, a quiet moment and absence of thought. That mindset will also help you if you decide to try it. You don’t have to chant or shave your head with the kitchen shears – rename your cat Toby to “Riverdance” (although that would be awesome). You don’t have to absolve or consolidate your spiritual beliefs – you just have to sit fucking still in solitude for 20 minutes a day.
Its easier said than done. I still struggle to do it every day consistently. Its very easy to put off when life gets in the way. But when I do, things start changing in subtle but pretty profound ways. I’m not writing this to sell it, at a few clicks you’ll find hundreds of articles about the practical and potential spiritual benefits. This is rather just my experience. Maybe you’ll think its cool.
Walk around today somewhere where there are people. Look at them. Really look. Look into their eyes. You can tell everything from the eyes.
In modern living theres always background noise, a hum. But what really impacts lives negatively is the background hum of internal mental chatter and anxiety. We are constantly comparing, planning, projecting ahead, or reflecting on the past. Trying to skip to the future when we resist whats in front of us. We cant completely stop these things, its part of our intelligence – but they don’t make us happy. People are generally miserable with masks of happiness when appropriate. Weighed down by thoughts that don’t serve them. Life is what it is, until you make it what it isn’t.
You may have seen many Facebook wall posts of sunsets photos. Overlaid with bite-sized inspirational quotes in script font telling you something about being “present to the moment”. I’ve seen lots of those and they are just words. They are unrelatable until its personal. And if theres one overriding thing that meditation has brought more into my life, its the gravity and awesomeness of presence.
So what is it? You know it when you feel it. In yourself, in others. Theres little more intoxicating than looking deeply into someones eyes and knowing they are completely there with you. Meditating dilates perception. It allows the striping away of whats not important. The world is in flux all around around, constantly changing. People and experiences are blips of movement – sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly – the only constant is me. I’m just experiencing that movement for the brief little moment of a lifetime. I become more aware and grateful for the experience of a life.
It also allowed people to seem more and more incredible to me. I started to notice them more, see more of them. Judging less. Seeing them as they are and not what I would like them to be. Feminine energy became magnified. Seeing something in every woman thats worthy of great love.
And on a more provocative note, the moments after meditating are actually like a subtle version of the afterglow of sex. Obviously less fun, otherwise I’d never miss a day. After meditating everything seems better. Still. A feeling of connection. When you orgasm, thoughts stop. The awareness of your body, your euphoria and intimate connection are all of your existence for that brief moment. The world slows and makes more sense. The little taste of death.
I notice things I didn’t see moments earlier. Leaves on trees, soft sounds of the wind. The world is more beautiful and I am more grateful. Its not that meditation showers you in some kind of spiritual spell, casting the world in rainbows, but rather you start to notice what was there all along. The removal of the mental noise allows perception to open up just enough to notice it.
Like all afterglows, they fade. The TV might even go back on. But over time, that presence starts slowly cementing itself more and more throughout the day. Instead of blasting music on my way home from work, I might drive in quiet. I won’t think, I’ll just observe and feel good in my body. For me, mediation doesn’t stop thinking, but rather eases the unnecessary mental masterbation that is all our unserving guilty pleasure.