A dear friend is just beginning her Yoga journey and she asked a question about meditation. She wondered if listening to music could be meditation. It’s a great question. Don’t we all wondered at the beginning of our journey how the hell we are ever going to be able to ‘sit here’ in meditation. The mind wanders away, off to ‘God knows where’ and you can actually feel your eyes looking around (even with closed eye lids) and you desperately want to tap your fingers or wiggle your toes, it’s all you can think about! OK maybe that was me, but you get my point. Meditation is hard! But I also believe that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Meditation comes in many forms.
We always picture it as a guru sitting in lotus, fingers in a mudra, being completely still and totally quiet – Well that’s one way.
Dance (asana practice) is meditative, singing (mantra), breathing (pranayama), walking a labyrinth. All can have meditation like results – You have to ask yourself “what is meditation”. Meditation is the practice of ‘stilling’ the mind, allowing the mind a deep, quiet space where nothing distracts us. Meditation is about relaxing, but relaxing so that you can hear what is being said; To you, from within you. Pretty powerful stuff.
Swami Rama says….” In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.”……. I believe that we can be ‘doing’ and still be in a meditative practice. If we are singing, dancing, ect ect and that is our single focus, the only focus of our mind, is it not then an inward focus? Are we not fully engaged and alert to that one thing we are doing, not focused on the outside world? Well then that is a kind of meditation. And in our world we find it very difficult to completely quiet the mind, at least when we are beginning a meditation practice. So these other ways to practice meditation are a good beginning, the beginning of learning to cultivate stillness.
What is meditation to you?