Meditation has been explained many ways, but the simplest might be that meditation is learning to rest in what is. We spend so much of our time trying to manipulate reality – perhaps most often by manipulating other people or circumstances – that you might say that we spend very little time inhabiting that reality.
In our fast paced, technology driven society we are encouraged to multi-task, to attend and respond to multiple stimuli at once, and in doing so we believe we are more productive. Are we really, or are we just fooling ourselves? Most of us have had the experience of driving home and on arrival realizing we aren’t really sure how we got there. We have conversations with friends and loved ones and after they are over we aren’t quite sure what we talked about. When we are at home we are thinking about work, when we are at work we are thinking about our next vacation, and when we are on vacation we are worried about what is happening at the office while we are away! It has been said that the future isn’t here yet so we can’t impact it, the past is gone and we can’t change it, so all we have is the present moment – but in most of our present moments we are somewhere else in our minds! We face the very real possibility of facing death without ever having lived out lives!
While there are many benefits to meditation, perhaps the most important is that we learn to be here, right now, in the present moment. We learn to listen to those we care about – really listen, without formulating our response while they are still talking. Our practice involves actually noticing the beautiful things in life because we learn to pay attention to them. When we read the newspaper, we only read the paper. When we spend time with our family, we give them our complete and undivided attention. Does that sound impossible? It does sound impossible to many people, but is isn’t impossible at all. As we learn to be fully present to ourselves as we meditate, we learn to apply those principles in our lives. In fact, we don’t even have to think about it, we just do it. Of course, we don’t change overnight. All change is gradual, but the benefits from the smallest amount of change will amaze you.
All you have to do to get started is decide to start. No special equipment is required, no special location is necessary. What could be easier?