To Meditate or Not to Meditate
A lot of people have asked if I meditate regularly. The honest answer is “sometimes.”
This happens to be one of those times. A friend brought up meditation at his book club Meetup and we started reading (hold on, it’s a mouthful…) The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness by John Yates (“Culadasa”).
Now, don’t get me started about this particular Dharma teacher’s personal life. Ahem. No, we’ll leave that out of this particular discussion. The book is actually pretty interesting, whether you agree with it all or even want to give the specific methods a try. There are a zillion books and material on the topic of meditation, of course, and you may have to try several options but chances are high that if you are motivated to really give meditation a try, you’ll find a style that works for you.
The point here is that yes, I now have a regular seated meditation practice, once in the morning and again in the evening, that I will likely maintain for the foreseeable future. At this time, I typically only meditate for 15-30 minutes at each sitting. Throughout my day, I also try to remain as aware of the contents, preoccupations, and habits of the mind as much as I can. In my experience, the latter becomes far more possible because of the former.
I know meditation can do wonders to reduce stress, manage insomnia, lower blood pressure, or address and alleviate many physical, emotional or psychosomatic difficulties. My personal reason for meditating is because I find it to be an excellent way to train my mind to be still, plain and simple. The ripple effect that has on my day to day life is remarkable. I observe more nuances about my mental and emotional patterns and I’m able to stop chasing thoughts, getting triggered and having emotional reactions. In other words, meditation prepares me to be able to respond (rather than knee-jerk react) to life by dropping into silence in the most chaotic and the most ordinary of moments and situations.
At this stage in my journey, I find regular meditation is to my mind what drinking plenty of fresh, clean water is to my body. I consider it essential to my personal path.
Only you can answer the question “To meditate, or not to meditate?” But I do hope you’ll give it a sincere try!