Meditation, in essence, is an art of just being and not doing anything at physical or mental level. It is one of the profound ways of transforming life and finding what we all desire deeply — peace, inner strength, lasting joy, and to love and to be loved. When our desire to evolve becomes strong enough then first realization that occurs is, its primarily us and our tenacious faulty patterns ( habits, mental & emotional reactions) which are coming in way of success and there is not any major hurdle offered by any circumstance or person from outside.
During meditation what to do is not so important but what we should not do is really what brings quality to our sessions. Simply put, know jolly well that any technique is just the external bit, and essential and more fundamental thing is to hold back from what we should not do mentally at that time. This ability to hold back from whatever should not be done in his view is a measure of one’s inner strength.
So, most important question, is how do we achieve this? The answer is, understand well the concepts of meditation — that will benefit in all areas of life as it puts you in line with yourself where after a time it becomes clear to one, who is practicing, where things are going wrong. Based on my experiments in past many years and learning from failures, masters, and colleagues I intend to give a simple not-to-do list for anybody aspiring to understand meditation mechanics or it are for someone who is tired of his uncontrollably negative and overthinking behaviors.
Feel free to take some help of any meditation technique but know that meditation is the most natural phenomenon and doesn’t really depend on any technique. It is our basic nature and uttermost relaxedness ever-present within us. Techniques are simply to keep ourselves busy so that we get away from interfering mode and let nature cleanse our minds in an uninterrupted way. So, techniques do help indirectly but it is all important to understand why and secondly what in it helps so that we can customize techniques to suit our make or drop it when we need to.
Choose a time when you are not in hurry or compulsively doing mode. Just sit comfortably and start with a small prayer for the peace and goodness for all.
Start easy with small duration and then increase week by week to stabilize up to 15–20 minutes in morning and 10–15 minutes in evening. Suitable time in the morning is as soon as we get up from sleep or just after taking bath.
In the evening, the suitable time is when our work routine ends or before going to sleep.
Meditation is not something in the dimension of doing but it happens to us if we allow and not interfere with Nature when it is cleansing our mind. The only thing we can do is to cooperate when it happens and not interfere.Unlearning our interfering tendencies is all the wisdom we need to gain in this regard. We are in control and can take a step back, remain as witnessing presence without meddling with popping in/out thoughts.
So, all we are doing here is preparing for being comfortable for some period with not-doing anything, nor thinking anything — good or bad, holy or unholy, about selfish needs or noble causes, nothing at all. Nor even holding tightly to the idea of not-thinking at all, we just have to intend to be without action and conscious thinking and then let go even this idea.
Now, let’s begin with our fundamentals/not-to-do list of meditation, keep reading this whenever you struggle during sessions. Gradually you would be pretty clear to yourself that the list to take care is small but conditioning in the wrong direction seems difficult. So, that will save our time from reading more or knowing more about meditation and direct energy and focus in unlearning properly what interferes in being natural and easy — which is one of the key purposes of this post.
Fundamentals of meditation
- Expect nothing out of meditation. Just know that it is essential to be at ease with not-doing and remaining still, all power, peace and rest we get to sleep when we don’t do anything. Take it as an art or knack to learn but don’t get into expecting mode. Just observe your struggles and benefits you see, fix your struggles by learning and feel encouraged for benefits but be firm to practice it anyway as it is something to do with our core competency — the ability to detach at will, to be without anybody, any work or any external dependency at least for brief periods and still at ease and happy. Our attention should be on the primary requirement of learning it. Through meditation at least you will be comfortable with doing absolutely nothing for some time. That itself is a great achievement as momentum to always do something or other and loneliness will not bother you anymore and you can be all by yourself if needed. And that much motivation is enough to start and sustain this unlearning habit life-long. Other advantages you will automatically have in your bucket on the way so no need to expect and slip into anticipation or complaining mode.
- When we do nothing actively then normally mental chatter gets active or rather we get space to notice it. The mistake that we do normally is we get attached to it in some way — either resisting it, liking it, pushing or not wanting it to have arisen — all this gives more value and power to thoughts and keep it going in our mental space for longer periods. Our fears may suppress it for some time only to appear later and gradually simple thoughts become our lifetime traumas as we do not deal with these in a noncooperative way. Sub-skills to build our detachment capabilities from thoughts at will are given below, same I call as an essential not-to-do list:
- Don’t trigger any thought consciously to suppress unwanted thoughts. Both are at different frequencies; what we do is shallow and whatever is happening is deeper and solution to silence deeper ones is to remain unattached when it appears and let it silence at its natural speed and know that it will silence for sure automatically. The reason why we get afraid is we don’t trust the fact that it will be silenced for sure and automatically. Triggering another thread is a mistake and leaks away a lot of mental energy in substitution and struggle to do so.
- Do not resist — let thoughts come and go. Resistance will persist the thoughts longer — remain neutral and indifferent to interrupting thoughts.
- Remain indifferent — Avoid fighting or struggling with negative thoughts, learn to ignore continuously considering it as non-existent in present itself, it just appears but is actually a memory of some past action/event or anticipation of planned task/event. Treat negative and positive with the same view of indifference. The sword of indifference will cut away all distractions without fighting with them.
- No need to witness thoughts. Witnessing is somewhat better than fighting with thoughts but it keeps some of our attention flowing towards thoughts and our relation to thoughts remain intact and alive, while the fact is that thoughts disappear uninterruptedly when we don’t attend to it at all. Our attention and sense of value for these fuels the momentum and keeps it alive for much longer periods than required. Witnessing, though less, but sustains connectedness to thoughts.
- Do not desire thoughts to disappear fast or your mind to be totally void of thoughts. Value yourself just being there and even desiring or being obstinate about not-doing will bring us into struggling mode with thoughts while effortlessness is one of the essentials to be adopted. Just intend and then let go, and don’t attach to outcomes or thoughts of outcomes.
- Remind yourself again and again not to react to any thought or attach to any bright idea, nor indulge in daydreaming. That will gradually draw you all in its momentum. Don’t be angry for foolish ones nor be pleased with right/bright ideas. Wrong and right is relative and down to our mental conditioning. Behaving through that is coming up with mechanical and boring responses. Be predominantly spontaneous in life and during meditation session value non-reactionary attitude more than anger or excitement.
- Don’t judge any thought as good or bad. The judgment of thoughts is a most severe form of silence violence for self or others. It gives the base for reactions and negative emotions. An introspection is a useful tool but while practicing meditation don’t do that too. Non-judgmental awareness has a quality awareness that accepts things as they are without the need to judge on any side or taking any mental form seriously.
- Do not identify with thoughts as mine — there is no need at all. We are never sure from where we have picked up thoughts floating in and out from various sources — readings, adds, TV, news etc. Thoughts are quite tangible entities like things and fundamentally separate from our real Self. This truth is bit difficult to grasp but for now just understand that our core identity doesn’t depend on thoughts and we can exist without thought and coexist as well with any thought and use it for all practical purposes and drop it when not needed, and in the process of using it there is no need to build identification to it as my thought. Treat it impersonally because personableness instills life in thoughts and our goal is to go beyond thoughts, to be able to use it when needed and to drop it when it is not needed.
End your session or day with thankfulness and a small prayer for good of all beings. Do not complain if things didn’t work out at expected speed. Remaining non-judgmental about the whole session and not evaluating it is equanimity which gradually gets transferred into our attitude and builds key success ingredient — grit.
How important it is!
Loose focus, low attention span, shallow work, fast context switching, not valuing what we know and still hankering for accumulating more and more information — all these issues take root in our lives and are sustained by our compulsive thinking — which is effectively handled by being good at the art of not-doing, not-thinking. It is very common for people to keep thinking constantly in search of solutions to their life’s problems or daydreaming, and never finding any real solution or fresh energy to fulfill their visions. Thinking too much depletes the nascent energy and keeping a check on overthinking is crucial for students, creative artists or anyone who wants to remain sane and at peace with self.
Important revelations and effective solutions to deeper life issues do not come by thinking alone but by turning away from it for some time. There is science to it when we drop thinking then our consciousness shifts to just being instead of doing and that restores us at the center of power, peace, and wholeness. Doing is limited and being is unlimited. After spending even few seconds in being-mode we gain better perspectives, fresh energy, and zeal to thrive in life. An easy example is a daily sleep which gives us all the vitality for next day. Meditation is kind of wakeful sleep and is more powerful than sleep as it brings self-awareness and restores our attention on the fact that all the completeness and independence of human spirit is in our own hands and no external circumstances can ever overwhelm us. Awakening to such a sense of independence independently is deeply satisfying and significant achievement.
Call To Restful Awareness
All this can become part and parcel of our life if we just not read more and more about meditation but start practicing it twice a day for 10–15 mins each keeping above not-to-list in perspective. Gradually what we practice in those 2 sessions spreads in other areas of life and working with joy and ease becomes our nature. Remaining undisturbed in all odd and even circumstances will make more sense to us than that of outside events happening for or against our wishes. We learn the knack of sustaining and securing our peace, energy and emotional wealth and not lose it in futile thinking, events or interactions.
Best wishes for learning meditation and integrating into your lives.
Love and Regards,