For over half of my life, my mind was consumed by two major endeavors. I sought to become as knowledgeable in my field of study as I was capable of and I sought to solve problems by critical thinking. My mind was a bustling cosmos of thought and thought processes. I assumed I could think my way out of any situation just by generating enough mind power.
There is no doubt that I was nourishing higher brain functions which is not entirely useless. But, I fixated on an issue and sought to think my way out of it, no kidding! I allowed my mind too much control over my life, over my happiness.
In my late twenties, I read a book about living in the moment. It was in reading this book, my perception of my mind made a drastic shift. Others have asked me about “this book”, seeking to understand what the heck I was talking about. I have come to understand that it is not so much the means by which I came to this realization, but that I was ready and open to it. This “aha”moment may have happened in an entirely different way, with a different book or even without a book.
I had come to that place in my life; the steam trailing from my ears, my head about to internally detonate. I was introduced to the peace and tranquility of a quiet mind and I was hooked. Never before had I experienced the bliss of a still mind. I had not realized it was even possible nor desirable.
Soon after, I began taking yoga classes with a Buddhist Monk. After each session, we sat in meditation for about 15 minutes. After each class, the benefits of this practice became more and more evident. I was less stressed, more focused and more at peace. Although, I had not mastered this practice in my everyday, every second life, I sought to quiet my mind as much as possible. I began to manage my thoughts more consciously and scale back on the control that any thoughts had on my life.
I wish I could blog that I practice mediation at sunrise everyday, but I also do not lie. However, as often as possible I come back to that stillness. My mind sometimes reverts to old habits, but it seems I am swifter to recognize it. Rather than my mind exerting ultimate control over my life, I seek to utilize it as an instrument in my life. I evaluate it objectively as a part of who I am, but not the authentic me.
My passion for writing has evolved into an instrument for this blog, a conscious decision to nurture this particular quality. Yet, when my fingers still on this keyboard, so too do I seek stillness of my mind. I crave a healthy balance of thought and creativity in my life.
I mediated at the beach yesterday. I did not sit in yoga pose to do so and I did not consciously decide, “Today, I will meditate at the beach between 3pm-4pm.” It was not until after some time had passed that I even realized that I had meditated. I recognized the feelings of peace and tranquility within me. This meditation was not a chant I repeated to the crashing waves, nor did I consciously focus my eyes on the skyline. I am grateful that meditating flows in my life spontaneously.
I stood at the water’s edge, the tide slowly going out. The rhythm of the waves embracing my toes, slowly sinking them into the soft sand. The warmth of the sun gestured to my shoulders and a cooling breeze teased the loose strands of my hair. My body only sensing, my mind absolutely quiet as I gazed at my children side by side in the cool water.
With each rolling, cresting wave they smiled at each other as they instinctively dove or body surfed to mother nature’s amusement. Emerging from each crashing wave, swiftly wiping their faces and searching for one another and then the next wave, I lingered in their joy and in their love. They continued in unison to smile, dive, emerge and laugh wave after wave.
After some time, a thought did come to me, “Now, I understand the appeal of surfing. It is meditation in action.” I was enthralled in this routine and the enjoyment they were experiencing together. I allowed myself to just melt into it; I meditated. I did not think, I witnessed and felt for as long as I was given.
The more everyday moments are recognized as gateways to meditation, the less daunting it will seem. Meditation is not solely a way of life for experienced monks, it is a peaceful way through life for the rest of us.