As I sit at my local coffee shop writing these words to you I feel joy.
I do not know where this joy comes from nor do I care.
It’s in moments like this that I take a step back, breathe deeply and relish in my current environment — because no matter where the mind decides to travel, I can only be here.
As of late — moments of joy arise quite often.
These moments have nothing to do with:
- Adopting a plant-based diet.
- Hour long sits in Vipassana meditation
- Giving up almost all caffeine and alcohol
- Taking cold showers
- Minimalistic lifestyle
- All the spiritual and philosophical books I’ve read.
Although these have served as insightful tools to help me understand my species and the world better — they have not brought me joy.
Although it’s important — meditation is more than just sitting in one place for extended periods of time.
Let’s explore this together — because it’s a way for us to make sense of this.
How does Spirituality play into Meditation
The term spirituality has taken on many forms of thought, but the term is much simpler than most suggest.
The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus which means to breathe. It could be said that to be spiritual is to be a breather.
Fundamentally, meditation is being aware of your breath.
To be aware of this is the foundation of spirituality.
Breathing is something we do unconsciously everyday.
Similar to how we drive to work, eat our food and many other things that require little to no energy — our life has taken on a degree of automaticity.
In these blank moments of routine behavior we have replaced the mind with thoughts of the past and future way more than need be.
The past which doesn’t exist and the future which will never come has become of battle of the mind of not accepting what was and expecting what should be.
Meditation is not for the faint of heart
It’s easier to think about the past and future, but it takes tremendous concentration and awareness to be in this moment.
I’ve become somewhat of a counselor to many friends and family members over the years and listen to their issues with sincerity and love, but…
I do see see the same problems of them not wanting to accept this moment.
Venting your problems to someone is healing, but it’s putting a band-aid on a wound.
Meditation is deep surgery so the problem never arises again.
I still vent my frustrations to others from time to time — but it’s a lot less because I’ve developed tools over the years to keep the mind at bay.
Past and Future — The Struggle is REAL
We have complex minds that remember and enjoy forecasting — but how much memory and anticipation of the future is healthy?
I wish I had a uniform answer for this, but the truth is we’re all different with varying degrees of issues that impede our progress to live in joy.
The past is useful so we can perform work duties and it also serves us in dealing with future situations better.
The future is important to plan for what we want to accomplish, but how much is really necessary?
Being mindful of the breath can be a tool that will come in handy when unsettling times take form so we can bring ourselves back to NOW.
I’ve listed some tips that have helped me.
They are practical but take effort.
Tips to Practice Meditation Right Now
- Spend 2 minutes and just breathe deeply in and out before going to work
- Look at things without judgement, and if judgement arises — acknowledge it
- When communicating to another, listen attentively. It might take you awhile to respond back. This is because you’re formulating a thoughtful response
- See if you can spend 1–2 hours today without any technology. If you’re mind runs wild — just breathe
- Try eating a meal in silence. Chew your food and savor each bite
- Whenever anxiety, worry or any other feeling that elicits the past and future comes up — just take a 5–10 deep breaths and notice how you feel
- Smile because you exist (actual odds are 1 in 10 to the 2,685,000 power that you’re here — YES that’s a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes)
- Take a few moments daily appreciating what you have — and not what you don’t.
It’s not easy to be 100% engaged in meditation, but if we can reserve 5–10% of our day to being present it will do a lot of good for ourselves and others.
When in doubt, come back to the breath. It’s a constant reminder that you can’t be anywhere, but here.
To think otherwise is trivial for the spirit.
Meditation is when their is absolutely no discernment between what we see physically and what we think psychologically.