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Friday, January 13, 2012

Monk-y Meditation

Most of us have a very romantic idea of meditation. Seated in lotus on a green mountain top, eyes closed, all knowing soft smile, and then everything finally clicks into place and all makes perfect sense...You hear that sound? listen, listen carefully, are you listening with your whole heart? POP! It's me breaking your bubble. Sorry love, but this idyllic fantasy is so far from the truth.

I am slowly coming to dislike the word 'meditation', it seems like so much pressure, too many cliches attached. When was the last time I even saw a green mountain?! And then there is the notion that meditating yogis are so detached from the real world, almost unfeeling. I think it might become a pet peeve of mine. Could anything be further from the truth? You have finally opened your eyes and your heart to the truth, your truth, and learned to accept everything exactly as it is. Acceptance does not mean detached or unfeeling. It means you understand that things are what they are and are not and you consciously  choose to move on.

I try to encourage my yogis to breathe and to work on being still. For people new to being still, 'guided meditations' are a good way to start. Imagine you are a tree or a leaf, maybe you are at the beach, and so on. But this has back fired on me. In a class full of people you don't know intimate details about, guided imagery can be tricky. 

I once tried to do this meditation where you imagine you are at the beach, and you hear the sounds, feel the breeze and you feel a wave come, caress your foot and as it slips back into the ocean, it takes away any tension from your foot, you proceed to do this with the whole body. Personally, I would not have liked this meditation because I don't know how to swim, yes! I admit it! I don't know how to swim!! There are people in existence who don't know how to swim! and I am one of them! And so water coming up to my neck is not a very relaxing thought! But since everyone seems to love the beach, I thought, what the hell. Well, one woman had a horrible time because she kept imagining the tsunami that hit Japan. As I said, group meditations can be tricky.

Another time, I got everyone into Savasana, towels with mint placed over eyes, my soothing voice guiding them to let go and one lady burst into tears. She could not contain herself, I had no idea what brought it on. I asked her to go to the next room and to wait for me. When I went over, she told me that the music I had playing, Yanni, reminded her of how she used to be a massage therapist. The spa she worked in played it all the time. Well, one day on her way back home from work, she got into a terrible car wreck and her injuries did not let her go back to being a masseuse. There is no way I could have known something like that.  

I seem to have drifted away from my point. Here is a good way to understand meditation, imagine this: You are sitting watching tv, you want to change the channel, you get up, walk to the tv, start rubbing at the screen, the image is not going to change. The image will change when you use the remote. So you sort of need to reset or change  your way of thinking, receiving, giving and accepting,. You need to change it all from the inside, your internal remote, it is only then that your life, will change.

So how do I stop thinking? is the next question I get asked. You don't! No one ever stops thinking, not even the Dalai Lama and if anyone knows meditation its probably him. If you are having a hard time getting focused, a good way to go about your thoughts is to imagine yourself laying on the earth and watching your thought 'clouds'. Just watch them pass by, you dont judge them for their shapes or sizes, for how good or bad they are, you simply watch them drift away, you are just an observer, letting go is easy, you know how to do this.

My point is this, there is no perfect 'meditation'.

You have meditated hundreds of times without realizing it. Every time your parents hugged you, every time you ate your favorite food, everytime you made love, everytime you hugged your pet, caressed its hair in your fingers, and every time you looked into your child's eyes, you have meditated. You were also mediating when you were angry, when you were hurt, when you thought you would not be whole again. You meditated when you decided to move on, when you got into crow pose for the first time, when you cut that person off on the road, (you know you did :) and when you lovingly cooked your family's favorite meal. In all those moments you were completely present, no masks or facade, letting everything else slip away, you accepted the perfect and the flawed,  and you were at peace, that is real meditation. 

So don't worry about finding every answer or even the perfect answer, work on stillness, fight the urge to move or the urge to change something and everything.  Tune into your heart and your heart will show you your truth and with that truth,you will have found peace.

Me meditating with my gorgeous lion head bunny. Sara is a part of my love and peace.


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