This is not an advice for you to start meditation. I know that it is futile to advice anyone on anything. I have been talking or writing a lot about walking , running indirectly which in some sense does benefit my physical well being and I wanted to share my experiences about mental well being.
I have been in the camp of ‘Why’ meditation for long. I had argued to my own self if I am in union with whatever I am doing, then I am generally in a meditative state.
However I shifted to the camp of ‘Why Not’ few months back and I want to share my personal experiences on that. Let me clear myself on one thing. If you ask me “Isse, kya hota hai” (What is the use of meditation, can you show me), please feel free to pause here and continue to do whatever you do. I can share what I have experienced or experiencing, but I cannot pass on that experience to you.
Let me make some things clear.
Meditation has been probably made to believe bigger than what possibly it is.
Our parents, grandparents did it and still do it without fail. They used to call it ‘Prayer’.
I have not seen a single day where my parents , my wife, her parents , have missed a daily union with GOD.
They may go without food, but not without prayer.
I cannot think of prayer as anything but a daily silent union with your own self and time of contemplation. Some do it imagining a form that gives the greatest comfort to them and everyone of has their style.
A few styles that I have observed are as follows
My father – Silent
My mother – Passive aggression. She will have all her fists and eyes so tight like she is getting into battle with someone.
My wife and her dad – Violent – Once they are in prayer mode, the vibration can be felt everywhere and the whole apartment knows a prayer is going on.
Me – A quick ‘Hi Chief!’
I think prayer was given needless religious overtones and I failed to pass on the baton to my generation. Unfortunately, my kids are not into this in an auto-pilot mode.
To summarize the pre-amble, prayer has been effectively changed into meditation and successfully re-christened also as mindfulness and being effectively marketed in those words and for the purpose of this short ramble, I shall use meditation so as to maintain neutral tones.
Quite frankly, I think people would get into endless debates about how these three are very different and I do not want to get anywhere near that debates. Everyone has their opinion and in a democracy I am entitled to have mine.
- Let me begin.
Meditation is a very selfish thing. If anyone is saying begin meditation and you can change the world, I think the premise is wrong. The world does not need fixing, it is possibly me who needs fixing.
Please note that I share my experiences only when I have had a significant go at it. So meditation is something I have been in and out of for last seven years, but in the last year one of my close friend and my sister nailed it on me permanently. I owe my gratitude to them for putting me in this path.
So how it has been helping me.
A daily ritual of self-renewal. I think we take ourselves too seriously and get worked up on our stress levels needlessly. But when I sit in the morning and make that peace with myself, I start my day with the feeling of I am prepared to deal with anything that comes my way.
A way to watch my thoughts. There is an explosion of thoughts inside when I sit for this ritual , but the only thing you have to get used to watching is the only thing that matters and that is your ‘breath’. I watch all my thoughts, but I kind of tell them, “Folks hold on. I am not going to entertain you now.”. Being continuously at it has given me the ability to pause between a thought and my reaction towards that thought. For example, my nasty sense of anger has not gone, but I am able to realize that I am going to explode and still explode any way. However, I think before that explosion, I do realize I have a choice of responding rather than reacting. In other words, I am getting simply to be more aware of possibly my own messed up zones.
An increased ability to focus – Generally, I am not bad at this even before starting this ritual, but now I seem to summon this ability at will. I can shut down from everything around me and focus on a single thing for an extended period of time. I do not need to constantly peek at my ubiquitous mobile screen.
A reduced sense of craving for food– Well, I still have not conquered the smell of street food. I still stop my vehicle and rush towards that masala vadai and masala poori stall. However, I can see the compulsions of having something in particular are waning down, including the need for morning cup of coffee or tea. If it is there, it is good. If it is not there, it is great.
Better quality of sleep – To be frank, this never was a problem at any stage in my life. If I decide to sleep, I sleep . However I am able to live with a reduced quantum of sleep, without the energy levels going down.
I guess you may think I may be over selling meditation, but all I am making is a case for you to be slightly selfish and start with just spending ten minutes for your own self. If you want to do it with the ubiquitous screen , then there are wonderful apps like Headspace and Calm which can initiate you into that.
However rediscovering prayer in the form which our parents and grandparents taught us might not be such a bad bet!
Please do make an attempt to get back that time and space for yourself and in that daily silent communion with your own self or a self greater than your own self (based on which belief camps you belong to), I can assure you will find your sweet spot and a slow but sure transformation that shall pleasantly surprise you.
I said this is not an advice, but seems like I ended up giving one!.
Bear with me.
Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)