I recently read a fellow blogger’s post which described the benefits of meditation. In the writer’s view, the fact that his breath vanished when he tried to locate it brought a new realisation to him regarding the benefits of meditation. I thought this was curious but didn’t think much of it. Until NOW.
For my own practice, I know that when my mind settles and a new space is created – an empty void of pure consciousness – that’s when I’ve reached where I wanted to get to in my meditation. What is even more revealing in such precious moments is the contrast between thought and ‘non-thought’. Between how your “shit” looks when it’s staring you in the face and when you are in meditation. Ultimately, it’s a matter of choosing between which thoughts become your reality and which are allowed to drift away.
This choice I have realised is what ultimately makes meditation so powerful. Because if thoughts can become ‘non-thoughts’, then all those thoughts that we experience in conventional reality are merely an illusion. For if such thoughts can vanish, then they are merely a creation of the mind. The word creation itself comes from the Latin verb “creare” and means “
This realisation is actually quite profound. You see, so much of the problems today, whether they be in relation to political discussions (eg Brexit) or to full-blown armed conflict, are merely fabrications of the mind. I’m not denying their existence, but if we think about some of the decisions that are made in relation to them, often emotionally, then our responses to them and how we each perceive them are different; and there lies the problem to all of it.
Meditation then teaches us that we have available to us the greatest tool on earth – the ability to realise the true nature of reality and “tame” the mind. We have the ability to make better choices rather than, as if often the case, emotionally charged ones. In this regard, we are able to be truly mindful.
Easier said than done, I’ll grant you that. I am the first to admit that I often get caught up in my thoughts, which are sometimes unpleasant and anxious. But what my meditation practice teaches me is that I now have a choice: A choice to be impulsive when confronted with anger or stress, or a choice to be mindful and let it all go. I find this election extremely valuable when in the office environment and faced with everyday situations of conflict or stress. I can choose to react when my mind is agitated, or I can let the moment pass and choose to respond when my mind has settled and I am calm.
That little space that is created in our meditation therefore gives us a new perspective – the choice as to whether to allow our thoughts to become feelings and drive our behaviours, or to simply let it all go.
In this respect, mindfulness becomes mindlessness. However, all this is easier said than done, says he or she who has never practiced any meditation. For these people I say: when things get too difficult, simply anchor yourself in the body – by the act of conscious breathing, we bring ourselves back to the here and now. Each out-breath is an act of letting go.
Buddha said that nothing actually exists, and to this extent he is right. Think about it… but not too much! It’s far better, as Adrian from the Now Project would say, to “not think at all, and simply be”.
I finish with this quote which has been staring me literally in the face for years but I never noticed it. Until NOW.
It is not the place or the condition but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.