For a few years now I’ve been in a road of self improvement. One that started long ago and won’t stop as long as I’m breathing. In this road, I’ve met several obstacles, had to face myself at almost every corner and was forced to changed by circumstances; external as well as internal.
In every step of the way, one thing helped me more than anything else: meditation.
Meditation is to many people a monster, they say they can’t possibly clear their minds like they picture meditating to be. I’m here to say that well, I can’t clear mine either. Just about nobody except for people who have been diligently practicing it for years can achieve this state that most people seem to think is a prerequisite to meditate.
Meditation isn’t about calming your mind completely, meditation is about letting your thoughts do as they please, and sitting beside them to watch. It’s really not any more complicated than that and anyone who can sit beside a river and watch the water flow can sit beside their thoughts and do the same.
Just two weeks ago I got over final’s week. All the while my flatmate was going crazy, studying a lot and not being able to concentrate. The test would come and she would lose time because she couldn’t focus. I sat her down and told her to meditate, like I had done dozens of times throughout this year already.
And for the first time, she took my advice to heart. She lay down and meditated for ten minutes. She didn’t try to stop herself from thinking, but she allowed herself to think and feel as much as it was necessary to her at that very moment. When she got up, she got back to studying and was more effective than she had been the whole year.
Meanwhile, I was trying to understand how I felt about a personal problem I had going on. More often than not when I’m going through something complicated, I’ll sit down and write. Evernote and my pocket notebook are full of ramblings and me going “so I have this thing going on…” but that time, I decided to lie down and meditate on it.
I allowed the feelings to come to me, allowed the noises in the background to come to me, allowed the thoughts to pop up in my head and didn’t try to understand them, didn’t try to make sense of everything or to control them. I just allowed them to be.
And no, when I got up I hadn’t miraculously understood why I felt the way I did, but what did happen is that I got up and had felt everything I needed to. Understanding emotions isn’t the goal, feeling them is.
In some cases, trying to be rational is only gonna work against us, and that’s when we lie down and say “okay, come to me. I’m open.”