I have been interested in meditation for many years however bringing it into my life in a committed way still remains a challenge. It has made me think about why there are things we want to do and know are good for us, yet struggle to maintain in our lives. In a world where choice is overwhelming and access to possibilities through the internet are creating a culture of obsession with connectedness, it becomes harder to stay focussed. Through this hyper-connectedness to the external world, we are losing connection to ourselves.
Meditation offers a space to unplug from the incessant stream of information and noise, be that external or internal, and be reminded there is a place to reside that is beyond time and beyond needing to get somewhere else. A friend of mine recently described a profound moment of witnessing his grandmother pass away. He spoke of the strangeness of watching another human being take their last breath. I worked in palliative care many years ago and was also profoundly intrigued by this final moment. When watching someone exhale for the last time this whole life thing can seem like a bit of a cruel joke. So much time spent working, creating, building, worrying, planning and in the end you breath out and it doesn't matter what came before you. As I write this there may be those who pull away, it all sounds so morbid, but in fact the Buddhist practice of meditating on your own death is a profound way of bringing you into the immediacy of your life. We are reminded of this immediacy when someone dear to us passes or we hear some news of someone's diagnosis of cancer. Meditation brings us close to the simple miracle of consciousness without needing a tragic shake up to get there. How often do you stop in your day and bring gratitude to the mere fact you can see? Did you actually taste the last meal you ate? Were you really listening to the last friend that was speaking to you or were you already thinking about what you wanted to say next?
But why does all this matter? It matters because losing connection with yourself and your life's purpose puts you at risk of depression which is predicted to become the second largest health problem in the world by 2020. Meditation is an antidote for the gravity like force that is technology. As technology is expanding us, meditation can help to keep us earthed.
There are many myths around meditation. There are also many different forms of meditation. One thing that is common no matter what meditation you do, is that there is no such concept as a good or bad meditator. It is the world of duality, the good and the bad, that meditation helps us transcend, even for a few moments. Next time you sit to meditate and think you are doing it 'badly', pose a question: who is thinking the thought "I am doing it badly"?. This 'I' that we so strongly believe to be ourselves, that we so strongly identify with, is like the frothy pollution that floats atop the vast, expansive sea of our consciousness. As meditation deepens we take a deep dive beyond the superficial mind chatter and reach a place that is peaceful, content and grounded. Exhaling as if it was our last breath we are brought into the miracle of being alive. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to be.
Would you like to bring meditation into your daily life and contribute to a global cause? Mindful in May is an opportunity to sign up to join others around the world commit to a daily meditation for one month in May 2012. www.mindfulinmay.com and www.facebook.com/mindfulinmay