What meditation is not.
During my time away teaching classes in Bali, there was a big emphasis in the teaching on meditation practice. To wake up in the quiet of the morning, before all the distractions of the day, and sit quietly in meditation is a huge gift and my greatest teacher and it's something that I believe we can all benefit from.
One of the major obstacles that people encounter when they try to meditate is that the think they have to stop their thoughts and make their mind quiet. There is a mistaken perception that it should feel good all the time too. But in essence, meditation is a pathway to know ourselves more fully. And this learning can't happen through force of will, it requires surrender to what is.
If you have ever tried to sit for meditation and control your thoughts through willpower, you will understand that this is about as simple as trying to calm a screaming two year old who is in the middle of a full blown tantrum. The more you try to cajole or reason, the louder the struggle. In fact the only way to go with a 2 year old tantrum and in meditation, is to learn to ride the waves.
As one meditation teacher said, you can't calm the waves but you can learn to surf. When we understand that out role in meditation is to become an impartial observer or witness to our thoughts, then they no longer hook us and drag us along for a wild ride. Instead if we show up everyday with some compassion for ourselves, we can watch the comings and goings wth a gentle, curious awareness. And when we do find we have been swept along into the tidal pull of our thoughts, we recognise and return to our primary object, what ever it may be. Our breath, sensations in the body, sound, mantra etc.
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