Learning to meditate
Meditation is one of the activities that benefits our physical and mental health the most in all manners. Inner contemplation, silence, relaxation, or if preferred, visualization of pleasant scenes and images, provoke a great sense of well-being when done regularly. However, what does exactly meditating mean? How does the making your mind go blank work? Do we really have to stop thinking about anything to meditate? How do I know that I am doing it correctly?
Meditation is a practice that gets better over time, but for those who have not started yet, these questions are common. Is it hard to meditate? Do I have to practice yoga or any other discipline to do it correctly? The answer is no. To meditate requires nothing else but you, a comfortable place and time ahead in which nobody will disturb you.
Make your mind go blank
It is said that when meditating you need to make your mind go blank. It is actually quite hard to shut down the incessant chatter of the mind that generates thousands of thoughts non-stop. Our identification with those thoughts keeps ourselves all day long immersed in a constant mental noise, as a computer processor that never strops executing instructions and elaborating ideas. If we could shut off our mind, get rid of it for a moment, or at least ignore that entire buzz created in our head, we will be close to the so-called “make your mind go blank.” However, this is not entirely necessary at first, and besides it is quite hard to achieve. It takes effort, patience, practice. It requires discovering that tiny space that exists between one thought and another, in which there is nothing, and concentrating on it, making it bigger and bigger, so that, in the end, all that matters to you is that blank, empty space that happens between idea and idea.
To reach this level, to pay attention to nothing else but that emptiness between thoughts, to disconnect your mind if possible, and separate it from our real consciousness, from our essence, is the aim of those who perform meditation as a form of personal introspection.
Our mind, ally and enemy
As we had commented before, the mind generates more than 65,000 thoughts per day, or at least those who have calculated it say it. It is a machine that processes data coming from all the senses of our body that stores them, manages them, makes decisions, give orders, etc. The mind never stops, and for that very reason, sometimes it is more our enemy than our ally. The mind is the central computer of our body, using the brain as its processor, but it is not the entity that controls it. That entity is us, your inner self, your essence. If the mind stopped, there would only be you, the “true self,” who dwells this body that you are now using as a means of expression in the world.
Additionally, our mind is the “holder” of what we could call our “ego” program, which is responsible, by fragmentation of consciousness, of making up our personality. The ego is not the being that inhabits this body, but the energy (more like a computer program installed in us) that shapes the mental processes received and generated, and manages our entire psyche and hence our reality. The ego has many personalities generated from incoming data over many years: feelings, emotions, thoughts, traumas, problems, joys. Hence the different facets of the ego and its archetypes. Nevertheless, neither the mind nor the ego is us. And when we want to meditate in depth, we need to set both of them aside and focus on the inner being that we truly are.
How to meditate
To begin with, meditate is to live the present moment and instant. If the mind and ego always live in the past and in the future (try to find a thought inside your mind that is not related to something that has happened, or something that you expect to happen), the inner self, your true self, only knows the present. To live in the present, as it is sometimes said, is to live taking full awareness of this moment, the sounds, the position, the touch, the environment. Exactly what is going on right now, and keep us there. When we are capable of keeping our attention constantly focused on the present, in what we are doing now, with our five senses alert, we are executing the meditation process. We can meditate when cleaning up the dishes, climbing the stairs or ironing clothes. The important thing is the mental activity, where the focus is set, and who has the control, your mind or your inner self. The more time you permit the latter to guide your life, the easier it will be for you to enjoy it.
Creating a ritual
In addition to focusing all your attention on each of the daily activities so that the mind is neither in the past nor in the future, and everything that comes through your senses is the “now”, creating a ritual of regular meditation, in a particular place, helps the process to set inside ourselves and to get integrated in our daily routine. The only important thing is to choose a moment of the day that we know we are going to be relaxed and that we will not be interrupted. We can create our special corner at home, put incense or candles if we want, or relaxing music. Doing it regularly in the same place creates a habit thanks to which it will be easier for us to get into a state of mental relaxation.
What are we doing when we meditate?
Sitting down to meditate could be used for many things. It could be used to communicate with your inner self, your intuition, soul, or however you name it. Try to get answers to questions or concerns, listening not to your thoughts but to what may come from further inside. It could be used to completely relax the body, help it to heal and to recover, it could be used to visualize our goals and desires that we want to become real, etc.
Neither should we fight against that mind that keeps sending thoughts and distracting us, but become pure watchers of the same, because if you identify with your inner self, you can position yourself as an observer of what your mind is creating and manipulating, and not be fooled by it. Because you are not your mind or your ego. And meditation is the practice that could help you to light up what is behind it, within you, and consequently obtain the benefits that it can bring to all areas of our life.