Meditation is not a vacation from yourself. It isn’t about self-improvement.
One of the most difficult obstacles new meditators often have to the success of their practice is believing that meditation is somehow designed to enhance something about ourselves or some kind of exercise in self-improvement.
What drives you to meditate?
Is it a feeling of unhappiness about some aspect of your life? Your job? Relationship? A feeling that there’s just got to be more in life than the way you’re currently living it? Or is it that your life has become so chaotic and stressful that you are just trying to find something - anything - that will help give you a vacation from yourself and your life?
Meditation is not about self-improvement but rather about self-acceptance.
It’s not a vacation from irritation but rather a process of unlearning the habitual patterns that drive our behaviors.
You’ll find that when you sit in the stillness to meditate as a beginner, your mind really doesn’t want to let you rest. Instead, your mind wants to distract you into thinking about all of the things left on your “to do” list, the people you’re supposed to call, the groceries you forgot to buy - anything but allow you to be still.
One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that we are supposed to stop thinking. It’s not wonder so many people abandon meditation after only a few attempts if that’s the case!
Meditation is not a vacation from yourself. It is not about stopping your thoughts. That’s not possible.
Meditation is about NOTICING your thoughts as thoughts and allowing them.
There are several methods of meditation you could use to help settle your incessant internal dialog. Once you notice that you’re distracted by your thoughts, you could return to focus on your breath. Or you could use a mantra to guide yourself gently back to stillness, try visualizations or any other of a variety of other techniques. However, it’s not the technique that will make the difference to your success.
It’s your ability to accept yourself just as you are right where you are, right here, right now, in this very moment.
That in and of itself may very well be one of the biggest breakthroughs of your practice.
Once we’re able to accept ourselves, we will begin to see and hear the messages that will wake us up.
Every day events will become self-existing teachings.
The quieter you become, the more you will hear
As we strengthen and deepen our meditation practice, it will bring our neurosis up to the surface rather than hiding them at the bottom of our minds. This then is when we can then use our everyday experiences as our greatest teacher.
Feel free to join us at Satsang House or contact Maggie directly at 858-248-0488 for more information.