“If there is no meditation then you are like a blind man in a world of great beauty, light and colour.” Krishnamurti
What does Meditation mean?
Meditation essentially means to train the mind and generally refers to time set aside for non-doing. It has changed my life in profoundly positive ways. The purpose of meditation is to develop and cultivate openhearted spacious awareness as well as a clear understanding of reality.
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life.” Sogyal Rinpoche
Jon Kabat Zinn prefers a broader description of meditation as … Living Your Life As If It Really Matters… That means being here for it, with AWARENESS and with a certain degree of SELF KINDNESS towards oneself and with an understanding of the deep interconnectedness of all life and of all beings.
That understanding doesn’t come from the intellect but, it comes from directly connecting with the totality of your being. So, it is experiential rather than an idea / concept.
“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; my philosophy is kindness.” The Dalai Lama
What does Meditation mean? Start by tuning into your body
Hence, the 1st foundation of Mindfulness is ‘the body’ so if we can learn to tune in, and see how responsive and dynamic our body is in relationship to other people, to various changing circumstances in our lives, in our minds…
….then we can learn to live a life that is the embodiment of clarity, wisdom, kindness and wellbeing.
Everything you do with awareness is meditation
So, really Meditation means awareness and whatever you do with awareness is meditation. “Watching your breath” is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation…
“[Meditation] opens the mind of man to the greatest mystery that takes place daily and hourly; it widens the heart so that it may feel the eternity of time and the infinity of space in every throb; it gives us a life within the world as if we were moving about in paradise and all these spiritual deeds take place without any refuge to doctrine, but by the simple and direct holding fast to the truth which dwells in our innermost being.” D. T. Suzuki
Its the awarenessing that’s important, just the befriending of the mind and the heart as they are, the cultivation of knowing that’s bigger than thinking. Settling into and being comfortable in silence and stillness that is so fundamental to our experience as human beings and also so foreign because we ignore it so much. Meditation is moment by moment knowing what’s on your mind, moment by moment knowing and feeling what’s in your heart right here right now.
The actual literal meaning of Meditation in Sanskrit is ‘to cultivate’, to become familiar with a new way of Being, with new qualities, with a perception of the world which is more attuned with reality. Not seeing the world as solid permanent objects but as a dynamic flux of interdependent ceaselessly changing conditions, even our consciousness is a dynamic stream that is constantly changing.
Meditation is really about cultivating a new way of Being…inner calm in the beginning, mindful breathing to let the thoughts subside a little bit and then not being caught in that constant steam and then from that state we can refine qualities like compassion even further. It is something that needs to be trained and practiced otherwise, the mind will continue to run all over the place.
“Meditation does not come easily. A beautiful tree grows slowly. One must wait for the blossom, the ripening of the fruit and the ultimate taste. The blossom of meditation is an inexpressible peace that permeates the entire being. Its fruit…is indescribable.” Swami Vishnu Devanand
This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness & Compassion at Work.
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