Meditation: the habit of being present
If you aren’t present here and now, then where are you?
Meditation is the practice of being present.
Meditation is not clearing your mind. That is exhausting, unproductive and impossible.
The trap people fall into is thinking that the benefits of the practice only exist during the 10 minutes you spend a day doing it.
It is a dynamic process that carries over into everything you do.
It is the habit of being present.
Meditation makes you aware of how fleeting the states we perceive truly are. They simply rise and change and pass away.
Being aware of your current state enables you to feel how thoughts can color perceptions, for better and for worse.
By examining the nature of the various thoughts, images and sensations that make up what we can only refer to as consciousness, we can see that they flow endlessly.
Changing your perspective from first person to third person.
Instead of being the thinker of the thoughts, you understand that you are the observer of thoughts.
This has been tremendously helpful in managing my thoughts, instead of condemning myself for having them.
Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean you have to think it.
You can observe the thought as a thought and watch it pass away.
That simple distinction changed my entire life.
Being present, not dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, enables you enjoy the taste of your food, the sound of your loved ones laughing and the gentle caress of the breeze.
When I am cooking, the sounds and smells and feelings of cooking are enhanced because I am grounded with them.
Meditation is not the cure for anger, but it significantly reduces the time you will spend being angry.
That is the subtle difference that most don’t fully consider. It is not a panacea for all life’s problems, but a way of managing them so that they don’t consume you.
Just being aware that you are angry allows you to change the way you are acting instead of simply reacting to anger.
But I did not adapt this habit until I was ready to learn. When you are ready to learn, you want the best teacher.
I have used Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier and Waking Up.
My personal favorite is Sam Harris’s Waking Up app. His daily meditations are all 10 minutes long.
He offers concise descriptions of the nature of mind and what consciousness is.
Hearing the way he pairs words to concepts is enlightening within itself, but within the context of meditation it is powerful.
He also has lessons about different topics that relate to meditation and the nature of being. These lessons have changed the very foundations of my understanding of the mind and reality.
I invite you to try his app and integrate this habit of being into your life.