3 Musings on Meditation

You might have seen recently here that I've decided to dip my toes into the world of meditation. It's something I keep coming across both recently and in the past, thus far without getting particularly into it.

So I'm giving it another go. This time, using some guidance from Buddhist monk, Ajahn Brahm's book 'Kindfulness'. This is his method of kind mindful meditation and an overall kinder, more compassionate outlook on life and our experiences of it.

I've been giving it a shot over the last week and in tune with the teachings in my book, here's what I've learnt:

1. Priorities

So I did that post about exploring meditation, got myself all ready to really commit to it, had my book to hand and then, well, nothing really happened. I was thinking a lot more about how I should start trying it than actually doing it. I was putting it off til later or just not getting to it at all.

Like anything, if we genuinely want to achieve it, we need to prioritise it. We need to make space for it and incorporate it into our day to day. Even if that means just doing it mechanically until it feels natural, cultivating new habits will require us to create space, time and a place of importance for them in our day to day.

2. Compassionate Vs Controlling Mindset

Probably the most common (and frustrating) obstacle in meditation is trying to quiet the mind. I've found once I start trying not to think, I just think about how much I'm still thinking. Brahm addresses this saying, 'What if you meditated by treating your mind like a best friend?'

"Treating your mind like a best friend involves approaching it with warm, engaging attitude: “Hey buddy! Do you want to meditate now? What do you want to watch? How do you want to sit? You tell me how long.” When you treat your mind with kindfulness, your mind does not want to wander off anywhere. It likes your company. You hang out together, chilling out, for far longer than you ever expected."

3. Payday 

The third thing I noticed was the potential impact of impatience. Expecting quick results can put pressure on the process hindering our enthusiasm for it. Brahm resolves this frustration with a payday analogy, saying we have to work to earn our paycheck.

"Why can’t every meditation be a payday? During the difficult meditations you build up your credit, the reason for your success. In the hard meditations you build up your strength, which creates the momentum for peace. Then when there is enough credit, the mind goes into a good meditation, and it is a payday. But you must remember that it was in the so-called bad meditations that most of the work was done."

* * *

This week I want to ride out the difficult meditations and continue towards the meditative payday.

Have you had similar experiences or other challenges when getting into meditation? How have you overcome them?


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