Meditation For Dummies
I get a lot of strange looks when I tell people that meditating is my favorite part of the day.
In some folks’ mind, meditation is about one step removed from witchcraft, devil worship and communism all wrapped up in incense, magic carpets and flowing silk robes.
Be one with this, fat boy!
But the truth is meditation is simply a workout for your mind. Concentrating completely on the present moment and learning to observe, control and ignore all the thousands of random thoughts that pop into your brain every second of every day.
You don’t need to go to the mountaintop. You don’t need to light a candle. And once you’ve gotten a little practice, you don’t even need a quiet place.
I meditate most every day for 15 or so minutes on my deck in the sunshine. On a good day all I hear is birds chirping and the distant drone of highway traffic.
On a bad day one next door neighbor is having a roof installed by a dozen workers with 2 hammers each and no sense of rhythm. While the other neighbor has a landscaping crew over with 2 nuclear powered, turbocharged zero radius mowers and 3 leaf blowers with new and improved cyclone force power.
Either way, the process is the same and as simple as 1, 2, 3.
1) Focus solely on breathing in and out
Sit or stand and become aware of your breathing. Breathe deeply at whatever pace and rhythm feels natural. Concentrate on the breath entering your nose, filling your lungs, expanding your chest and diaphragm and then reversing course as your chest deflates and the breath exits your body. Concentrate on your extremities, your arms, your legs, your hands, your feet, your toes, your fingers and imagine the oxygen travelling all throughout your body.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
2) Gradually become aware of other thoughts and observations creeping into your consciousness
The dog’s barking next door. There’s a plane flying overhead. The electric bill is due tomorrow. That guy who cut you off in traffic this morning was a giant freaking asshole and he’s lucky you didn’t go all FALLING DOWN road rage on him.
And then there’s work. And your spouse. And little Johnny’s failing algebra. And a thousand other thoughts every second, every day in a constant, never ending stream.
And it’s easy to obsess on them. And it’s easy to get frustrated once you become more and more aware that they are always there and you’re supposed to be concentrating on breathing in and out and your damn brain just won’t shut up.
But there’s no reason to obsess or get frustrated. God gave us these big brains so we can have big thoughts. It’s completely natural for your brain to be broadcasting all the time. That’s what it does.
The point of meditation is learning to choose which broadcasts we listen to.
So when you become aware of the myriad of thoughts creeping into your head, acknowledge them, choose to ignore them and
3) Repeat Step One
Training yourself not to listen to every thought that crosses your mind, to not believe every thought you think will improve your ability to focus on one task at a time and get more done. It will improve your ability to control your emotions, your actions, your willpower and your habits.
No one would argue with the need for you to spend time exercising, with the need for your to train your body.
Your brain is the most powerful organism in the known universe. The human brain can create marvels and destroy civilizations.
It can make your life a paradise or a prison.
Shouldn’t you spend as much time training it as you do working on your biceps?