Meditation, the word used to bring up cringe or simply a annoyance at the mention of the name. How can people sit for hours, not just hours but days in meditation it always confounded me how people can just sit and be focused on nothing. Ever since my early twenties I have tried meditation with utter complete failure and always gave up after a couple of weeks of just trying to sit and do nothing. Of course in my twenties I was always gravitating to one thing or another trying out the latest and the greatest until invariably I would always get bored and put my toy away and search for something else that could distract my mind so that I did not have to face the things in my life that bought my unhappiness. Who in there twenties is thinking about mindfulness? The years passed and I would try again now in my thirties and I read books,lots of books on meditation and how to meditate on a Mantra,on an orange,on my breath,on a candle but again I would make a noble attempt with the same result complete failure and just put it down that meditation was simply not for me. I realized I am a woman of action and the idea of sitting down and doing nothing was just a waste of my time when I could be doing something more productive like I don’t know!
Now in my forties and gosh twenty years later I would take a trip to the Indian Himalayas where I met lamas and monks in their mountain top temples praying and meditating incomplete harmony with themselves.They looked so darn happy yet they had so little in the terms of material wealth that finally on one such trip to a monastery at 14,000ft I understood something about myself and my mind for the first time. I wanted distraction I just did not know it until India and now I was beginning to understand emotions and reactions and how easily I would get upset someone and stay like that for days repeating in my mind over and over the in justice I felt and then to make myself feel better I would always go out and buy something or have one many glasses of wine and here’s me thinking I was being the good consumer.When all this time it was a way of escape and avoiding the calling of my heart.
After I came back from India I was determined this time to practice meditation and stick with it. The one thing I saw in the monastery’s were monks saying out loud a Mantra “om mani padme” which I saw written on temple walls,rocks and prayer wheels in Ladkah, India.The monks would also have Mala beads in one hand whilst saying the mantra.
My first night of meditation after India was a practice in procrastination. My mind soon got me busy with distraction of little things. After about an hour of wasting time doing nothing I finally sat down in a room that I set up for meditation. I had a cushion to sit on and the lights were off and I closed my eyes and soon the mind began having a conversation with me.”‘How long do I have to sit here”, “I have to get gas in the morning”,” I could be doing other things right now”. Finally I opened my eyes and looked over at the clock and I had closed my eyes for two minutes. What! really that’s it! I felt like Julie Roberts in Eat,Prey, Love when she went to the Ashram and went into the meditation room and all she could hear was her mind just chattering away blindly as if she was not there, that was my mind.
I was determined to work on my meditation but I did not want to set myself up for failure like I had done in the past and so I made no time limits on meditation and at first started out twice a week. After a short while I began to notice changes within myself. I felt calmer, no longer being swayed by the mind so much. My meditation practice went to a deeper practice when I started Yoga on a regular basis. I would get so tired after yoga that my mind stopped chattering and I was able to go into meditation and go well beyond just a few minutes. It was not until I went to a Baron Baptiste yoga teaching training bootcamp that my meditation would come into perspective. See every time my mind would resist going further into meditation my mind would tell me that’s enough for tonight and I would open my eyes but I always felt I was missing something and that I was afraid to look around the corner to see what was there.
One night I was determined not to give into what my mind wanted. It all started off great I went straight into my meditation and said my mantra’s and was able then to just focus on my breathe. I am not sure how long it was but the mind started to talk. “It’s time to open your eyes”, but I did not! a few minutes later my mind was saying I was tired and it was time for bed. Still I ignored my mind and ploughed on going deeper into the minds dark caverns. At this point I was also noticing that I was getting angry, I mean really angry when all of a sudden I started to shake and tears were coming down my checks but I still would not open my eyes and re-focused on my breathe but it felt like my mind was having a temper tantrum and internally I was screaming from the top of my lungs when everything just stopped. My breathing came back to normal and the screaming of my mind was replaced with a peace so quiet, no chatter, no noise just quiet. It was the best meditation I ever had and I was hungry for more.
After all these many years I have grown to love my meditation and when the outside world has been nothing but noise, chaos and craziness I can come to my cushion and find quiet of the mind and I find happiness in these moments. I feel I come into my natural self and I no longer need the outside distractions to keep my mind busy from things I do not want to face. I want to face the fears within so that I can hear my heart speak to me as she does now.
By Sharon Page All Rights Reserved 2012