Monday, December 31, 2007

Meditating on Meditation

I meditate. Right after I rise in the morning, before I know the day starts, and each evening before return to bed, I sit upright, cross-legged, eyes closed, and listen to my breath, with conscious thought totally excised. I don't meditate because I feel I am unhealthy of body or mind. I would probably live just fine without doing it daily. Also I don't meditate for the sake of doing it without a reason. I find, when I practice consistently, I am much more relaxed and aware of my surroundings. I hear new sounds (like the branches at the top of trees gently clashing into each other when the wind blows) or see what usually is passed over (the moon in the sky during the day time). Most importantly, I am more aware of myself, of my body, where parts of it ache, and of my mind, what thoughts I am thinking and to be able to control those thoughts. I can be lost daydreaming but still pull myself back into reality if I chose. Sometimes I notice I am getting bored, so I think of more lively things.

Meditation, on the one hand, is the practice of breathing, because your lungs moving up and down is usually the only physically moving part about you. During the day while immersed in our activities, we don't consciously think of breathing and it's possible we may breath incorrectly. We can actually forget to take full breathes if we are stressed out emotionally or worry.

On the other hand, meditation is supposed to be devoid of consciousness, mental thinking. It is like listening to the ocean ebb and flow or watching the stars, we are lost in the experience of "living" and the feeling of it. Sitting cross legged and listening to my breath coming in, noticing how I feel with the breath, where I ache, whether my mind is clear, I am absorbed in myself.

It is also a learning experience. Humans are complex and deep. When I meditate, I sometimes learn about images I recurrently think about but don't really control. The sounds of a popular song may come across my mind, I may see someone's face flash, disappearing as soon as it appears. When I meditate, I can see what thoughts I think about and learn of anything that bothers me. There is a sea inside all of us that requires exploration. Most of the time, we direct our eye outward and are consumed by the world. Meditation directs our seeing eye inwards. At first it is darkness as our eyes are closed. Then, I believe, there is understanding.

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