Let’s talk Meditation! – Part 1
January 4, 2024 • Meditation
I’m starting the year by writing a 3-part series on meditation with the goal of bringing some clarity around it and dispelling a few myths. First things, first. Let’s get clear on terminology. This is important because we want to train our subconscious to understand the specific meaning of a word, in this case the word “meditation.” A “word” is defined as “a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing.” Based on this definition and for the sake of clarity, it is really important to have one meaning for a word and not multiple meanings. When we have multiple definitions of a word, it confuses the subconscious mind. We don’t want to do this.
Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean. If we give the command “sit” to a dog, it understands, based on the training we have given it, that it has to lower its hind legs and essentially sit. Now, if we start using the word “sit” to indicate that we want it to run, it would confuse the dog. Every time we say “sit,” it would not know whether to sit or run. But if we reserve one word for one action, then there is no confusion at all as to what we mean by it.
Our mind is no different. A lot of people will make statements such as, “Walking my dog each evening is my meditation.” I’ve heard others say, “Cooking is my meditation.” Then there are others who sit down cross-legged, eyes closed, spine erect, while consciously regulating their breath, and call this their meditation. Which is it? How can these vastly different acts that range from picking up poop, preparing a meal, and being conscious of breathing all be called meditation?
When we assign such varying definitions to one word, the meaning gets muddied, and it confuses our subconscious mind. Once it is in its confused state, the subconscious is no longer able to effectively help us. When the subconscious understands the meaning of a word and what it specifically represents, it can better leverage this understanding to guide us. So, let’s just assign one meaning to the word “meditation” rather than multiple meanings.
I describe meditation as a practice of sitting still (cross-legged or on a chair), eyes closed and systematically withdrawing awareness inward in a focused way. Based on this, you should eliminate saying things like “My whole day is a meditation” or “When I paint, that is my meditation.”
Now, let’s define what meditation is. Most eastern traditions have a meditation practice. The meditation that I teach comes from a Hindu tradition that monks in the spiritual lineage that I belong to practice. The primary goal of this practice is Self-realization. When a person speaks of meditation it is important to first understand what tradition his meditation practice stems from as the practice and definitions can vastly differ from tradition to tradition.
My guru defines meditation as “a quiet, alert, powerfully concentrated state wherein new knowledge and insights are awakened from within as awareness focuses one-pointedly on an object or specific line of thought.”
There are layers to the meditation practice that I teach. One of the initial steps is the process of systematically withdrawing energy into a central location within us. I often refer to this process as having a meeting with our energy. For those of you who are already doing this practice with me in my Introduction to Meditation course , you can refer to your meditation practice (or define it) as “having a meeting with my energy”.
Throughout the day, energy is always flowing out of us to people and things around us. After a while it is easy to feel like you are all over the place. Meditation allows you to withdraw that energy, gather it all in one place and get it on the same page so to speak. Not unlike what coaches do during a sports game when he finds his players losing focus and in a state of disarray. It even happens in businesses when a leader calls her team to gather for a meeting to set a clear point of focus and get them on the same page.
In subsequent parts of this series, we will talk about the importance of setting a goal, defining a path in meditation, preparing to meditate and more.
For those of you who are new to my work and would like to learn meditation from me, I highly recommend you check out my Introduction to Meditation course.
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