Over the years I’ve certainly fallen prey to the pretty promises of false gurus and to ideology that has pushed me to want to want for more for myself.
I have come to the unastoundingly quiet acceptance of the ordinary and have found more peace.
When we’re encouraged to look for the root cause, usually buried in our past…often we find more than we are looking for and open up a can of worms that come wriggling out of control. Been there and done that…and perhaps I owe my current state of content somewhat to those years of therapy and self-analysis, and looking for the root cause…but my honest appraisal would actually point me to meditation as being the best therapy I ever dove into.
There is a time and place for well-designed self-reflection. Not just any self-reflection will do. Especially not when it is fuelled by a desperate attempt to ‘fix myself’ because all of a sudden we don’t like what we see, or don’t like what we see in our past.
One of the things I have found most valuable in life is quite simply the ear of a listening friend, their shoulder to cry on and the space they allow me to just talk and be heard. The recognition that my thoughts and feelings are valid, or at least reasonable given circumstances, and the fact that someone cared enough to listen, gave me a sense of worth that uncharted excavation of the past never did. “It is better out than in.” Yes…as long as you pick an appropriate out – a trusted friend, a good therapist, your own journal. Don’t go rehashing your life story and problems ad nauseam to everyone at every opportunity. This only serves to reinforce your pain and perhaps demonstrates your very addiction to your problems…done that too! Kick that habit!
Digging into the dark corners of my life never brought relief…or even understanding. What relieved me of my suffering was acceptance…and it took me years to realise that I didn’t have to completely understand in order to accept. I just had to be ok with things not being ok…and this is the gift that meditation gave me.
The practice of meditation has brought to me the ability to switch focus…to put down my endless, often useless and futile, mind chatter driven by a desire to cling onto things with a mindset that had no way of making meaningful meaning out of circumstances that were too painful to navigate at that time. As Albert Einstein said “We can’t solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Meditation helps us shift our level of thinking…it can change our perspective…and often another angle is all we need to find resolution and ease our suffering.
Yoga provides clear instruction on HOW TO MEDITATE. Don’t force yourself to sit in uncomfortable stillness trying to empty your mind. You will hate meditation if that is all you try, and even find it creates more stress if this is your only parameter of it. Get good guidance. Mental Health issues may require specialised support when it comes to meditation…but are not a contraindication as long as guidelines are put in place.
Over complication can also be a turn-off. Meditation should not be complicated. That being said, it is not necessarily easy either. It takes effort, and practice with the right technique for you. This is where a good teacher comes in handy.
My students often ask me how they can ‘find peace’ or ‘release pain’ and ‘be calm like you’? My answer is practice. Practice the right things. Practice talking to the right person. Practice appropriate self-reflection, and practice appropriate meditation. And…if in doubt…meditate first.
For me, meditation has been life-saving, because it is perspective shifting and provides calm to my ever-analytical mind. Peace. That is what is really valuable. That is what is important. The ability to remain equanimous through the trials of life is a skill worth aspiring to. That is something to want to work towards and is available to us in the form of Yogic practices that are renowned for establishing peace.