The very first time I meditated I was five years old. I remember laying on the grass. I watched the cotton candy clouds floating by slowly, peacefully. I closed my eyes and could feel the vibrations of the ground beneath me. I remember feeling connected to my body and the Earth. I felt my heart beating and I sensed my entire being from my head to my toes. My mind rested.
Of course I did not know I was meditating or even what meditation was, but looking back that is totally what I was doing. I was listening and observing my body; my internal world. I was simply being.
What is meditation really? There are many ways to meditate and there are countless ways we experience meditation. For me, the common thread is bringing our awareness to our internal world without judgement. We observe our thoughts and our body with sweet curiosity. The Yoga Sutras say, “yoga is the mastery of the mind’s fluctuations. When the mind is steady and calm then we know our true nature.” I’m not sure if we ever actually “master” our roaming minds but I think it’s pretty delicious to experience the glimpses of stillness. In those glimpses I find my true nature.
I have heard many people say, “I am just not good at meditating.” And I totally get it! That was me. With my sugar coated ideas about what it meant to meditate, I thought meditating meant no thoughts and a completely still mind full of inner peace. So funny looking back on it now. This is not meditation at all. Meditation is just a fancy word for being aware and observing, listening.
Try this: Imagine a delightfully flowing river. Next imagine a lush forest of trees. Now imagine a candy red triangle. Then notice that you are not a river or a forest or a triangle. You are not the images your mind can pull up. You are also not your thoughts. Even harder to believe, you are not your emotions. When we feel sweet delight, anger honey-coated with envy, or other overwhelming emotions we need to understand that we are not, our true nature is not, those feelings. You are not your emotions.
You are the one observing your thoughts, your emotions, the fluctuations of your mind. So in meditation you learn how to be in the space of the witness. Just observing. And this practice brings so much clarity.
Everyone experiences meditation in one form or another even if they do not label it “meditation.” We can connect to our internal world while cooking, swimming, walking, dancing, drawing and the list goes on. We simply need to take the time to bring awareness into our lives and become intentional in how we live. So no matter what your jam is, my hope is that you find something that brings you joy and peace.
Think back on a time when you truly felt peaceful and alive. Maybe laying on the grass watching the cotton candy clouds. Or cooking a delicious batch of cookies. You were in the zone, aware of every movement, every breath, every thought. And just maybe, you were meditating. #RealMeditation4RealPeople
-Lora and Tiffany
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between. Shout out to Tiffany Stewart for help with the writing.