I’ve met so many people who tell me they just can’t meditate. Some say they don’t really know how, some say they tried it and they just didn’t get it, and some say (this is my favourite) “it didn’t work.”

Here’s a little secret about meditation. Actually it’s a big secret that most people don’t know…

There is no secret.

Whoa! Crazy. Wasn’t expecting that one? If you are already a meditator, I hope you know exactly what I’m talking about. The truth is, there are so many forms of meditation. The whole idea of these is just to bring us to our purest, natural state; and that’s a state of JOY. The state of just being joy is what we are and what we deserve.

I’ve explored many different types of mediation, calling it mindfulness, energy, presence, etc. There are so many ways to label and present these ideas which are actually completely incomprehensible to the human mind.They’re all pointing to the same thing. We are all such different, amazing, beautiful unique creatures with our own journey and own story to tell.

 

There are so many things that make up who we are right now in this moment, ideas resonate differently from everyone’s personal experience. We learn the same ideas differently. For example we see this in nutrition and diet fads. Diets effect everyone’s body differently as a result of their unique genetic makeup, and on top of that, conditioning from all of their individual lives leading up to this point. At one point the big thing was to be vegan, then raw vegan, then sugar is a big no-no, now paleo is the way to go… It’s pretty amazing really because they’re all pointing in the right direction, the goal of living optimally in a healthy body. But what works for one person might not work for the next, so the intention is to simply take from it what resonates with them, what works for their body. It’s all the same thing, but we’re hearing it from a new source, a different perspective. We process all of it, feel into it, then make it our own.

I once had a very deep discussion with a dear friend of mine about this. We have both studied Vedic meditation, in which you are initiated with a Guru and given your own personal mantra which you repeat over and over 20 mins in the morning and evening. The intention with this form of meditation is for the brain to begin to let go of thought, when it slips into only thinking of this one mantra or sound. It’s like putting yourself into a trance. After years of practicing this and other forms of meditation, I’ve started shifting in between all these different ‘techniques’, I guess you would call them. Really they are all just ideas of explaining the same thing. Getting back to a state of love, a state of oneness with everything that simply is. Some may call it universe or God or some other spiritual energy, but those too are just different words to describe the same thing.

Then we started talking about simply pondering and I find it incredible how much that effortless idea inspired me. How often does anyone just sit and ponder? Even those who don’t meditate… yet. These are my people that tell me they just can’t do it, that it “didn’t work”, this is for them! In this world we live in of instant connection, it’s so easy to become lost in always being occupied in our minds. Everywhere you look someone is texting while they’re walking, music blasting in the car or in your ears on the metro, then our time is probably filled with working, socialising, eating, and then you sleep and do it all over again, so where’s the time for YOU?

No, I’m not talking about singing in the shower ‘you time’.

Meditation is about sitting alone with yourself. Allowing ourselves to go through all of these human emotions, so our thoughts, feelings, anything happening to us in our lives can actually be processed, and we can ultimately be free of it. It’s like stepping back and looking at the big picture. The more you do it, your perspective gets clearer and clearer. There is also this interesting misconception that there is some sort of mastery of these practices, much like modern yoga.

There is no mastering yoga, or meditation, or mindfulness.

There is a reason they are all called a practice.

We may have been told as children that ‘practice makes perfect’… But there is no perfect, and you are always practicing. We are constantly growing into ourselves, who we are deep down every single day. Even on a physical level, our bodies are in a constant state of flux. Every second cells are dying and new cells are being created. So continuing even deeper than this, our spiritual energy too is constantly shifting and growing.

What meditation does is put us in touch with that deep inner self. Sometimes we call it gut instinct, but really there is a great fire, an energy burning inside of you. When we tune into it, we can move with instinct instead of from our thoughts. Our thoughts aren’t real, and fear is just an emotion that keeps you out of a state of joy. This intoxicating love-state can be accessed simply by sitting with yourself.

Lately in my practices, I’ve been playing around with combining all different techniques I’ve learned throughout my journey. Flowing from one version to the next as I sit, and sometimes I even simply ponder. It’s okay to think. I know that this is another intimidating idea of mediation for those who feel like they don’t ‘get it.’ The goal isn’t to shut your mind off completely, it’s to understand that the thoughts aren’t real, and being able to sit back and see them as the observer; the bigger picture. We will always have thoughts, it’s our reaction to them that makes them real. We have the ability to decide how much power we will give to them, how much power we will allow our ego to have over us.

So next time you decide to try, simply allow yourself to be. Even if you don’t explore and seek out a teacher and decide to learn a specific practice, simply close your eyes, and sit with yourself for 5-10 minutes a day. Studies have shown that even doing this basic practice, without any specific ‘technique’, will lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.

Now, who doesn’t want to relieve stress right? That’s why we try yoga, and meditation, and all these different things to help support our growth in a self-loving way. So we can better nurture ourselves. We deserve to take care of ourselves and our bodies, our bodies do so much work for us! Honour your body, take even just a few minutes to yourself. Even if you have a million thoughts come and go, when you come out of it… hey you meditated.

We get good at what we practice. Practice the art of self love, little by little, every day. Who knows, you might just find yourself leading a more joyful life… and everyone deserves to FEEL JOY.

Story by Ashley Storm of FeelingJoy.or

om@feelingjoy.org