Meditation has been around since the beginning of time, but has come and gone in terms of popularity. Presently, it’s incredibly popular. You can join meditation kulas (groups) online; download apps to track and guide your meditations; and learn about meditation from IG influencers, podcasts (like this one recently made by yours truly!), and even from brochures handed out by the wellness committee at work. Odds are, someone you know resolved to meditate as part of their New Year’s resolution. All of which begs the question - what is meditation?
...which means that meditation can look a wide variety of ways. Often we picture a person sitting upon the floor with folded legs - eyes closed and mind entirely blank. And while that image isn’t exactly inaccurate, it only represents one method of meditation, and it might not be the method that works best for you.
Indeed, if we heed the definition above then we can recognize any moment of mind-body synchronization as meditation. This can occur when walking the dog, when conversing with loved ones at dinner, when partaking in a favorite hobby… whenever you choose to fully embody an experience in moment-to-moment awareness.
...which has some big implications. Primarily, that we cannot believe everything we think. Just consider the thoughts that come to mind when you worry about something; often the mind creates all sorts of catastrophical -- and also fantastical! -- scenarios that never come to fruition. Often, however, we get caught up in these thoughts and expend a great deal of energy dwelling on them. For many, the best case scenario is that they look back later and say, “Oh silly me!” Many don’t even get to that point regularly, though, because they’re just too deeply immersed in the thoughts. Just imagine how liberating it could be to, on a daily basis, remember that you are not your thoughts.
We can practice this first in a controlled setting by taking a moment to sit in silence and observe the thoughts. Notice thoughts as they move through the mind, and on an exhale imagine those thoughts gently leaving the mind. They may enter back in 2 seconds later, but just keep repeating this process. More than anything, this practice reinforces that the thoughts and the self are separate; if the self can observe and dismiss thoughts, then it must be a separate entity altogether. In recognizing this we liberate ourselves from reacting so strongly to our thoughts as they come and, inevitably, go.
… and it’s up to you to find what works best for yourself. Consider using apps like Insight Timer to experiment with guided meditations versus sit in silence versus playing ambient music while you work through the process of observing your thoughts. No matter what method you choose, remember that you’re here to observe not judge.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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