The Art of Meditation

Over a year ago I was miserable & I didn’t know why my life was so lonely.
So, I decided to make changes. I had had enough of being so low and sad all the time. I had moved away from the place I had grown up, and away from everyone and everything I knew. It turned out this wasn’t such a bad move because the life style I have there was aiding the depression.

I decided to start up my art work again, and started to teach myself to learn how to play a guitar. I am a creative soul, and get bored very easily, starting up hobbies and spending time in nature to keep myself busy was the start of my path.

After the beginnings of a new relationship with my boyfriend in America I needed more things to occupy my mind from missing him. His best friend and I quickly became friends and she told me I should try yoga; I researched different types of yoga & found that it is a type of meditation in itself. I began yoga practice each day in my sitting room as there are no classes around me and it started to make me feel a lot more stable in my life, I was hooked. I wanted to feel this all the time.

Having more things to do and stopping drinking was a huge change to my life (but that’s for another post).
The half an hour of yoga I was doing each day was helping to tone my body & balance my mind & emotions, I loved this feeling, the silence & concentration, so decided to try meditation.
Meditation was/is so difficult. I lit candles, and sat with my Buddha statue in front of me, I created myself a ‘safe place’. However tasks I needed to do, random thoughts and goodness knows what else would pop into my head, I just couldn’t clear my mind.
I gave up and went online to try and find any helpful tips I could get my hands on – the internet is a wonderful thing occasionally. I read a short piece that said you should not get angry or frustrated when something comes into your mind, just recognize it has risen, and then clear it from your mind. Also that focusing on your breathing is meant to help.
Back to my safe place to try again. It really was a trial and error task, reading different books and trying different methods, to see what would help me – practice!!

I have recently read a book called ‘What The Buddha Taught’ by Walpola Sri Rahula. This book is a must read, it teaches all of what the Buddha himself learnt and taught, the most important part for this topic is it’s whole chapter on meditation. This was the ultimate help for me.
It speaks about a lot, along with how you should focus on breathing (which I had already figured out did not work for me), it also speaks about how difficult it is to start with and how it will take you a long time to be able to clear your mind, but with each time, you will improve. This was -and still is- a major relief for me and stopps me from being so hard on my over active mind.

My Meditation Theory:
I believe that everyone meditates, even if they do not realize it. everyone has an escapism and my main one is yoga, this is ok that it is not traditional way of meditation because it helps me clear my mind and focus on the present moment.
I did however still want to sit in a calm place and be silent. I agree with what Buddhists follow in the area where you should meditate everyday – this helps to keep your mind clear and focus on the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying over the future. Even when you cannot find the time to meditate, I really do believe you should find 5 minutes, even when you first get up or, just before you go to sleep. The Buddha says you should meditate twice a day, even for 10 minutes each time – in the grand scheme of your day; 20 minutes really is not that long to take time for yourself and your sanity.

My Meditative Practice:
So now, I have created my place – I think it is important to have a certain space that is your own, no one else can tamper with the energy, or touch you when you are in your place and meditating, it is yours. I then play either some Mantra music, a singing bowl or soft music I can find on YouTube. This for me is an easier thing to focus on rather than my breathing. I sit on a blanket (so not to get a sore bum!) with my legs crossed in front of me – stretching so eventually I will be able to comfortably sit in the lotus position before it hurting after 2 minutes.
Although I believe in what the Buddha teaches with meditating twice a day, I do not follow this – mainly because having a long distance boyfriend, with an 8 hours time difference leaves us with very limited time where we are both awake & both free – this falls as soon as I wake up. I do not have time to speak with him, meditate and then get ready for work. This being a personal choice, I meditate every single night, I do yoga for 20-30 minutes and then I try and sit for 10 minutes in silence and appreciating the stillness.

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Go a head, give it a try. Feel your life calm around you.

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