I met a Buddhist monk at ITB Berlin 2018, who had been engaged by Incredible India, and was available for 30 minute exploratory session about meditation. I took on the offer (because I desperately needed to rest my feet) along with two friends, and sat down for an eye-opening, yet painfully obvious, conversation.
Just so you know, I don’t meditate. I feel like the forced quiet triggers my mind into hyper activity, and it runs in 20 different directions. It is more exhausting than relaxing. But why do people meditate to begin with? Why do I want to meditate, he asked. I couldn’t tell him that my heels were killing me, so I pretended to ponder.
The conversation steered to objectives and motivations, and patience and peace came out as winners. I could use both, and now I was actually listening to the man in a bright orange garb.
With meditation, like most other things in life, purpose is of prime importance. If you don’t have a clear reason, you won’t be motivated enough to spare some time every day for meditation. Therefore, step one is to find a reason. It doesn’t have to be an objective, as if you set a prize to the journey, you might not reap the benefits of the exploration. Define a reason, a purpose, and take the leap.
For me, patience and peace are the reasons.
Next, how do you begin? Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. If you can manage to cross them side by side, instead of on top of each other, it will be more relaxing. Otherwise, feel free to support your form with pillows and blocks. I bought myself a yoga block from TK Maxx when I was trying to do yoga, and it helps keep your posture right.
Talking about posture, make sure your spine is straight and upright against the floor. Slouching or curving your shoulders will create more problems than cure any. So, sit upright, with an almost defiant demeanor.
Then, find a small particle, such as a speck of dust, and focus on it. Continue looking at it until your surroundings begin to fade and the particle seems to come to life. It requires patience, and perseverance. You know you are heading in the right direction when you start to feel even the smallest activity in your body, such a breathing. You will feel the inhale and exhale, a lot more pronounced and obvious. This is the route that will lead your body to attain stability and self-awareness.
He suggested that we start with 15 minutes a day, and meditate at the same time every day. You can increase the frequency and length if you feel the exercise is worth it.
“But I can’t seem to quieten my mind! I can’t sit idle for 15 minutes, without thinking about something,” I complained like a whiny 10-year-old brat. Need to work on my impromptu responses.
He smiled, like a gentle father, and explained the root of all my problems. He said that we give our problems so much attention that without realising it, we blow them out of proportion. It is similar to the speck of dust. The more you concentrate on it, the larger it seems, until you feel like it has a life of its own. Whereas in reality, it is only a speck of dust that you didn’t know existed until you acknowledged it.
This is the same cycle for problems in our lives. “Let it be,” he said. Let it go. The more you invest in it, the more it will demand of you. Analyse, from a distance, and soon it will fall apart into nothingness like a house of cards.
It is such an obvious solution, but one that I needed to hear to acknowledge. I think, overthink and over-overthink until my mind makes up situations and circumstances so far off reality that it could be used for a plot for next Marvel movie.
In a nutshell, don’t overthink your problems. Analyse, and then, let it be.