Other people constantly bombard us with their descriptions of the world—teachers, preachers, parents, and friends, to say nothing of a 24/7, all-consuming media that showers us with opinions.
When we allow ourselves to conform mindlessly to someone else’s dogma, we fall asleep in the matrix of an agreed-upon reality—rather than discovering what is true for ourselves by honoring our own inner perceptions.
When you know that you know, you feel it.
The question becomes: how do we encourage these feelings of intuition, instinct, awareness, impulse, insight, and clairvoyance. How do we cultivate that certainty of knowing?
The answer is: we quiet the mind, breathe into our hearts and listen. It is in stillness that we discover the vastness of who we are beyond our obsessive thinking. It is in stillness that we experience ourselves as a presence who knows.
When we release the mental chatter and mindfully enter the present moment, we enter a space where the soul can speak.
Thinking and Being—Finding Balance
I came to meditation late in life and I thought I was terrible at it. I had a very busy mind. I loved thinking. My entire self-esteem was wrapped up in how clever I thought my mind was.
When I first started, I would sit on my cushion, maybe light a candle, maybe listen to some Gregorian chants. I’d close my eyes, focus on my breath and I was lucky if I could score mere seconds without a thought. This situation went on for years.
Sometimes, I’d be lost in thought for I don’t know how long. And then I’d wake up, realize I’d strayed from my original intention and refocus on my breath.
After a while, I began to crave that blissful communion with air. I realized that every time I returned from thought to breath, I was flexing a muscle. I was being mindful of when I was thinking, how much I was thinking, what I was thinking, and I was mindfully refocusing my attention in the present.
Still yourself, breathe into your heart and be here. That’s it. That’s the start of a practice. Before long, you become aware of your thinking throughout the day. Before long, you enjoy bringing yourself to the present moment in one blessed breath. Being here, observing, discovering—before long, you begin to restore balance.
Meditation creates space between YOU and your thinking and in that gap you are free to know nothing and discover everything!
Beginning a Practice
Find a special place in your home. A quiet space where you can be alone. You may want to include a pillow to sit on. A candle. Maybe a crystal, flower, stone, or shell. Make it simple, and make it your own.
Begin by committing to meditate ten minutes a day for the next month.
Whether you are sitting on the floor, in a chair, or cross-legged on your bed—sit upright and relax your shoulders back and down. Send your tail bone toward earth—and the crown of your head toward the sky. Create space by gently moving them apart. You will feel this in your solar plexus.
Close your eyes, and breathe into your heart.
Inhale: I breathe in stillness.
Exhale: I breathe out that which I no longer need.
Repeat for ten minutes.
When thoughts come up, note “thinking” and go back to your breath. There is no wrong way to meditate. Every time you turn your attention from thinking back to your breath, you are being mindful. Like flexing a muscle, you are strengthening your ability to bring the best of yourself to the present at will.
In the present moment, there’s no need to know. In the present moment we observe and discover for ourselves. This is how we learn who we are. Nothing could be more valuable.