by Ross Bishop
There have been millions of words written and spoken about the importance of meditation in spiritual practice. I want to add my support to what has been written. A practice of daily meditation is the single most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your life. It can actually extend your longevity!
One thing that is often overlooked is that what we commonly call meditation is really practice for meditation. We learn meditation in a quiet environment where we will not be disturbed, so that we can get good at it and then go out into the world and practice real meditation.
Real meditation has become popularized as “mindfulness.” It is the practice of remaining calm and peaceful, paying attention to what is going on around us, watching our breath and carefully listening to others, where before we were mostly focused on ourselves and our fears.
And odds are, you have tried to meditate and failed, perhaps several times. And this is one of those places that when we delve into it, has much more significant implications. Meditation isn’t the problem. It has been practiced successfully all over the world for thousands of years. And people have failed at it for all that time too – because they weren’t ready to address what they believed was at their core.
In the first place, meditation does an end run around your ego. Now we can say, “that’s great!” but you sit there trying to be centered and calm while all the while all of your internal alarm bells are going off because you have entered forbidden territory! It’s not a good formula for success.
This is because meditation puts you on a direct line to the unresolved needs you brought in this lifetime to work on. And we generally avoid making that connection because although on one level it is wonderful, at another, it brings up your unresolved emotional issues. We feel that those unresolved needs are defects of character, that they are there because we are flawed beings, and that is why all of the ego’s alarm bells.
So the challenge is not to quit in resignation, but to use the experience as a tool for learning and growth. What are the alarm bells about? What were you afraid to look at? What would happen if you got really calm and got in touch with your feelings? And what are those feelings about?
And the lesson for all of us (don’t miss this point!) is that once you allow yourself to surrender to the truth, you realize how utterly false the beliefs about yourself that you have carried around your entire life, were. You are simply not the flawed being you have always thought you were.
Yes, you get scared and angry. And yes, your behavior is not perfect, but that is just how you (and all of us) sometimes act. That is not who you are. The resolution of your feelings are the reason you have come to earth. So in connecting with what is underneath them, you open a doorway to your essential healing.
But, without proper guidance, it can be like sticking your finger into an electrical socket! There is a lot to explore there, but we have been trained to bury our truth by people who weren’t in touch with their own feelings and were often threatened by someone who was.
Remember also that walking away only means that you will be confronted with the same issues in some other way. Only next time the experience will be more painful.
The are many meditation techniques. Find one that you feel comfortable with and either go for it or hit the wall and learn from it. Either way, you win.
*(Excerpted from my new (as yet untitled) book.)
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