You name it.
The Meditation Solution to Every Problem
The other day, my husband asked me the common question, “How are you today?” I noticed my mind start to parse through my experience in order to answer that question. In an instant, my mind went to the challenges I was facing, the news headlines I’d seen, and the frustrations of daily life. I caught myself and instead stopped the thoughts and answered, “I’m great if I don’t think.”
Some may think that not thinking is actually an avoidance of life, and it certainly can be. When we fill our lives with external voices, activities, and entertainments, we are definitely avoiding what’s inside. That’s not the kind of “not thinking” I’m referring to. I’m talking about the practice of becoming quiet, frequently referred to as meditation.
This solution to the overwhelming problems the world faces may seem overly simplistic and ineffective against the evils we face. Many may read and dismiss them with a snort, “Yeah, I’ll just meditate the political filth away while the rich get richer and future generations are enslaved.” But that kind of (fear-based) response is because many people are still entirely focused upon and entrenched in externals., disconnected from who they really are. If we only understand life according to the world we see around us, then meditation is an ineffective ritual equivalent to shutting one’s eyes and hiding under the covers.
A Deeper Reality
But there is another world inside. And while it may be subtle and difficult to feel (at least at first) and express due to the limitations of language, that doesn’t make it any less valid. In fact, the more one spends time there, the more one generates grace and the more one realizes that stillness, silence and spaciousness offer a truer reality, allowing us to access the deeper drives creating the world we see around us.
For example, we can often be in a mental state of alarm over something ‘out there’. There certainly is no shortage of threats these days. Our minds may toil to understand according to past experience or find routes of escape or resolution in the future. But if we close our eyes (or even leave them open) and come into the present moment, chances are you’re not being chased by a lion in the immediate. You likely are breathing, heart-beating, clothed, sheltered and possibly even well-fed. There is stillness underneath the rise and fall of your breath. There is silence under that throbbing heart and anxious mind. There is space in which one can float, free from the grip of thought. That’s your reality. And solutions can only arise…well, good solutions…can only arise from that place. Otherwise, decisions are either snap and arising from fight or flight or are overthought, leading to second guessing and paralysis. The habit of doing anything to avoid the fear can even mean trusting people you absolutely shouldn’t. This perpetuates the cycle of suffering.
The challenges to meditation are twofold. One) we have to be willing to sit and be fully present with the fear that is generated by our thoughts. And that is miserably uncomfortable. We may feel the urge to bolt, to get up and get busy, or be led by our minds right back into thought. And two) we have to be willing to go beyond the mind that tells us if we don’t think, if we don’t solve the problems here and now that we’re being irresponsible or bypassing our reality. Going beyond the mind with which we’ve come to greatly identify over our entire lives is no easy task and exchanging what seemed like tangible reality for a less comprehensible one can at times seem like an exercise in futility. But, if we just STAY, we can incrementally or even all at once discover that NOTHING WE THINK IS REAL. It’s simply a narrative of what is real.
Granted, it is exceedingly difficult (if not completely impossible) to meditate when under real threats unless you are some kind of enlightened master already. That’s why you have to start now. Practice, practice, practice. It’s not a quick fix; I’ll give you that. But it is a fix. It’s really the only true and lasting fix.
About the Author:
Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing Yoga, Mirror Meditation, E-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:
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