PedramSThe idea of just sitting around seems very alien to us in the modern world. It seems boring- like a total waste of time. We've all got so much to do and not enough time to do it. So why sit around and already waste such a precious commodity that seems to be lacking in all of our lives? Why practice meditation at all?
Meditation is more than a technique- it is a way of life. It is a way for us to see the Universe and "hold audience" for the millions of bits of information that are passing through our minds in any given moment. We can all relate to that…noise everywhere…noise all of the time.
So how do we get rid of that noise? We don't.
We cannot make the noise go away. It is a reflection of all of the processes of life as the nervous system is firing and communicating with the body all of the time. To stop the noise is to stop life. You'd have to go brain dead and stop your heart. Last I checked, that isn't a leading wellness practice.
So what's all this talk about meditation and how it helps calm us down and "stop the noise"? The answer lies in the photo you saw at the beginning of this post. Meditation is about acceptance of Reality. It is about learning to observe phenomena come and go without reacting to them. To meditate is to maintain equanimity in all affairs and to watch circumstances come and go without getting mentally and emotionally attached to them. We cannot stop our minds.
Can we at least calm our minds then? Yes.
Meditation can help drive energy back to the parasympathetic nervous system which helps with digestion, immunity, sexual function, and, in short, the body's healing and self-regulating capacities. It helps blunt the release of the stress hormone cortisol and, in turn, helps regulate the hormones and stress response. This can help calm the body and mind and make it a lot more quiet upstairs but not all-together silent.
There is, however, silence to be observed. Music is the silence between the notes they say. In meditation, we learn to see the empty space between our thoughts as they come and go. We can observe it in the void at the bottom of a breath. We can see it in the stillness of the Universe which sits at the heart of all movement. Stillness with movement?
Think of it this way: If you are on a train and it is moving, you're moving with it so you don't really notice the movement unless you look out the window. Most of us go crazy in our heads because we're looking "out the window" for answers and see the world zipping by at too fast a pace. But what if you were to focus on the train itself? What if you relaxed into the ride and harmonized your breath with the very movement of the train? Then it can lull you to sleep- you move with it and it carries you. This is a way to look at how we relate to our Universe.
The Universe is in perpetual motion. Everything is moving at all times. Things are expanding while others contracting. Change is everywhere. Our fear of change is likened to us trying to fix our gaze on an object through the train window and freak out that is has left our visual field. We get up and run to another window to still see it, but, alas, it will pass and mourning its loss is the state of human affairs.
Finding stillness inside is about syncng up with the movement of the universe and moving WITH IT. Then, we can smile happily on the train and enjoy the ride. We can let go of needing to fixate on objects out the window and go with the flow. When the first monk tells the other that "this is it"- he's right.
This is it.
Close your eyes and feel the movement of the entire Universe and you won't know stress or strife. All meaning and purpose can be found in the living breathing present moment but we have to sit still and look within to get it.