If I had $10 for every time someone has said that statement to me, I wouldn’t be talking to you, I’d be lying on the beach on my own private island!
Some people think that meditation is only for a particular type of person and almost always the thinker isn’t in that category themselves. Some tell me that meditation is more suited to women, to strong minded people, to intellectuals, to slow thinkers, to peaceful people etc but guess what – it’s never suited to them! None of the above is true. Anyone and everyone is capable of meditating and enjoying the physical and mental benefits that meditation gives us.
The truth is these people have completely misunderstood what meditation actually is, or what it requires of us. I also think that some people regard meditation as a switch that they should be able to turn on whenever they wish. And if they can’t find or activate the switch they must be defective in some way or the wrong type of person.
Let’s get it straight meditation isn’t about stopping thinking. I would suggest that stopping thinking is impossible and even if we could achieve it, it wouldn’t help us anyway. Meditation also isn’t about thinking of nothing. Again – not really possible and of no value to us.
The objective of meditation (if we can say there is an objective!) is to recognise that we are caught up in thinking and to let the thought go. In order to let a thought go we have to become aware that we are thinking and that awareness is what we are trying to develop.
The activity of dropping the thought and embracing the awareness is the action we practice during meditation. The more times you do that during a meditation session, the more trained your mind becomes.
Try it now: Close your eyes and focus all your attention on the sounds you can hear both inside and outside the room. Initially this is quite easy but you’ll notice that your mind quickly becomes bored and intrudes on your awareness, saying something like ‘This is useless, let’s get back to what we were doing before’. That is a thought. Your job when meditating is to recognise this as a thought, let the thought go and revert to being aware of the sounds you can hear.
When your mind is busy you’ll find you get lost in thought over and over again and when you mind is quiet, thoughts come along less frequently. Neither is right or wrong, good or bad. We are not judging the number of thoughts we have and we are not trying to eliminate them. We are just noticing that we are thinking, dropping the thought and going back to awareness.
Now you can probably see why I suggest that anyone and everyone can meditate. If you’d like to know some of the benefits of developing a mediation practice have a look at this blog post.
Feel free to send me a comment or a question below: