A Note on Meditation
The Dalai Lama speaking at a Buddhist conference at the Cathedral of St,. John the Divine in New York City said, ‘Keep up your practice, you will become aware of a change of consciousness. Do not become attached to your method, for when your consciousness changes, you will recognize that all the methods are intending the one goal.” It is this belief I embrace in regards to meditation. It is a DUH type of moment…the one where you kick yourself in the head and go, I get it, I should have got it.. a long time ago. I am profusely grateful to the Dalai Lama for remembering to tell us what so many think we already know.
There are many ways of achieving happiness and success in living a spiritual life. Meditation is one of those things that can aid us in our spiritual path. Traditional meditation has it’s roots in Eastern Philosophies. However, to many, the word meditation conjures up images of someone sitting cross legged in a yoga pose that many of us can’t even fathom reaching. Meditation does not have to be done in one specific way. There are many alternative ways of meditating. People that embrace any form of spirituality use meditation.
We have been trained to use our brains to think. Attention and awareness are brain functions that schools don’t focus on. Of course they do focus on it if you’re not paying attention they just don’t go the step further and help you in training that function.
The bottom line is, mediation starts with being aware of awareness, or awareness of being aware. I have found that once that idea of being aware of awareness “clicks” it changes everything. So how do we get it to click? Hopefully it just did. The click might not sound like a click, it may start as a hiccup in your brain. Reread the first sentence of that paragraph again.
At that moment when it clicks, we become mindful. Mindfulness isn’t a concept, it’s a way of being, it is being fully aware and awake. It is about now, this one moment. If it clicked for you, then thinking about being aware of awareness is one way to bring yourself into a mindful place to begin to meditate.
Watch a child in front of a television or doing a puzzle or when they’re painting. Their focus is so deep that they often times don’t, and probably can’t, hear you. Women, you have probably also seen this in your significant other as they watch television, or read . Men, I know there are times that women do that too, but I’m not giving that one away. We joke that it is “selective” hearing but what it is, is deep focus or mindfulness or attention on or to one thing. Noting these behaviors is a beginning insight on the path of meditation. Often times it is confusing to hear someone say “empty your mind.” Our thinking mind says…”right, there is always a thought.” But what happens when you start thinking about thought? Or thinking about thinking, or become aware of awareness? That is your start.
If you are new to the idea of Meditation Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Wherever You Go There You Are is a great one to read. It gets your mind warmed up to Meditation. From there one can investigate what kinds of meditation work best for you. Bringing your mind to awareness through meditation can change your life. To take a quote in Kabat-Zinn’s book from Walden by Henry David Thoreau “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
©Adrienne McLeod 2011