When we think of meditation, we think of sitting in a quiet place and closing our eyes. We think about chanting holy mantras while counting the beads. But meditation is much more and much less than that. Meditation is an integral component of life and being meditative is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
It is said that we cannot really meditate, we can only be meditative. Meditation is all about maintaining “awareness” all the time. In our daily life, most of the time, we lose our “awareness” because our mind takes over. Our mind is so powerful that it hijacks our awareness in no time. But the truth is that mind is not our “true being“. Mind acts according to our past impressions and habits on behalf of our false being or “ego being”.
There are indeed different stages of meditation. No wonder the highest stage will give you visa to the ultimate place; the eternity if there is one. But lets forget about that for now. It is a long way. Lets focus into the basic stages of meditation that can be practiced in daily life to become a better person.
The essence of meditation is to live at the present moment or living in “awareness”. Because the only reality is ‘present’, neither past nor future. So the purpose of meditation is to bring the mind to the present. Only at the present moment, we can experience life.
One of the easiest way to be meditative is to be aware of your breath. Mind is the biggest culprit in meditation which wanders between past and future. When you focus on breathing, your mind naturally comes to the present. Many of the psychological and emotional problems simply go if we breathe in awareness. Breathing in awareness is also called as ‘Mindfulness Meditation‘ in Buddhism.
Being meditative is also about paying attention to life. Most of the time, we are living in our mind. We are at one place but our mind is elsewhere. Even when we pass by a beautiful flower, we miss it. If we were not living in your mind, we would definitely experience the fragrance and beauty of the flower. Life wants to experience beautiful things; it is the very nature of life.
When is the last time you noticed the moon in the sky? Moon shines in the sky for most of the days of the month. One cannot miss the moon if one is living in awareness. We should experience it even in those other days when the moon is not shining because it is still there. Don’t you miss your loved ones when they are not around you? See we cannot talk about life, we cannot think about it. There is no logic involved when it comes to life. We must drop our chattering mind to live life. Life must be experienced.
These days when we sit for eating, we talk the most. But living life means that we should only eat when we are eating. We must limit talking all the nonsense. We should pay full attention to the food we are eating. Only then the eating experience becomes beautiful.
Keeping the spine erect is also an integral component of meditation. Only if you keep your spine erect, the energy flows well within your body. The seven chakras of the energy body must be in a straight line for the energy to flow smoothly. So whatever you are doing, whether you are sitting or working, just be conscious and try to keep your spine erect. It will make a huge difference if you practice this in your daily life.
To be meditative, one should also control one’s physical senses (ears, eyes, nose, skin, and tongue) which gives rise to ‘desires’. Meditation is about experiencing the non-physical dimension. So unless one controls the senses, one cannot experience what is beyond the physicality.
Let’s say at a certain time of a day, you have a strong desire to have coffee. Now you should say to your mind, consciously, that you are not going to control me. I am going to control you today. Too much coffee is no good for my health, so no more cup of coffee today. Same for any other food. Suppose you went to a barbecue party in a friend’s house. The barbecue was so good that you really wanted to eat a lot. But now you say to your mind that no, too much meat is not good for my health. So I will only eat this much meat, instead, I will eat more vegetables.
Another example. Suppose, you are stuck in traffic and already 10 minutes late. Now you start panicking. When you reached your office, you got out of the car hurriedly. You forget to lock your car. You even forgot your phone in the car which you realized later. Now, instead of doing that, you do this. Say to your mind that okay I am 10 minute late today. I left from my home on time but I am late. It happened for a reason that I don’t know of or it was not in my control. So you just chill and go with the flow of life. You will have much better experience than panicking.
When being among people, many times we tend to talk too much. Everyone has something to say. But you can choose to be a listener. You can say something only if necessary. See when we say something, we only say something that we already know. But when we listen, we always get to know something that we don’t know.
Okay let’s come back to the main point. Being meditative is to live at the present moment. Only the present moment is real, past and future are merely the memories and projections of our mind. Getting meditative may be frustrating initially because our mind wants immediate results. But good qualities take some time to come out. A flower becomes a flower not in a bang. So let’s be meditative and start to live life. Life is definitely beautiful.