Meditation is meant to be a vacation. It is not meant to be “work.”
Meditation is your opportunity to gently put aside your daily concerns, worries, and To Do lists. It is your chance to breathe and rest.
Many people think of meditation in limited ways. They think of monks and nuns in long robes, sitting motionless for hours, smiling serenely. They think of the Buddha, sitting under the bodhi tree, totally blissful and enlightened. While these images can sometimes be beautiful, they are often the opposite of inspiring for those who are just beginning their meditation journey. Instead of being helpful, these images can often lead to disappointment, intimidation, frustration, or even alienation.
Meditation is, simply, a vacation. A time to reboot.
Furthermore, meditation is the ultimate rebellious act. It is a way of changing the way we experience the world, as well as changing the world itself.
As children, most of us were taught to use our analytical minds and to ignore our emotions and gut feelings. We were taught that we must be rational and logical. Rarely was intuition prized.
Our society rewards those who follow the rules and who don’t question authority.
When we meditate, however, we begin to create a space in our lives where we break out of these typical molds. We begin to rewire our brains in a different way. We say “screw it” to the world’s demands, and we take a vacation. We take a break.
The purpose of meditation is to begin to allow you to step back from your conditioned way of viewing the world. It is your chance to step back and question: “What is really going on here?” “What is life?” “Who am I?” It is a chance to feel you witness your own thoughts, and to see that you are more than your thoughts. You are, in fact, the conscious Presence behind the thoughts. You are the life force. You are Spirit.
As we experiment with meditation in our lives, we begin to realize, more and more, how controlled we have been. We realize the lies that have been fed to us. The media, our parents, our schools, our government, our institutions: all of these have been telling us that human nature is bad, corrupt. They have been telling us that the laws of scarcity, greed, and competition are the natural way of life. They have been telling us, both subtly and in overt ways, that we are separate beings in a jungle of struggle.
Through meditation, we bring ourselves into a feeling of connection. A feeling of peace and love. By experiencing the present moment through meditation, we begin to realize that life is not meant to be a jungle of struggle. Quite the contrary, actually—life is meant to be beautiful! Life is meant to be joyful!
In meditation, we are not trying to achieve anything. We are not trying to do anything other than drop our defenses and simply be. Simply enjoying breathing, simply enjoying stillness. We move ourselves out of the rational brain, out of the planning brain, out of the scheming brain, just for a little while—and we realize, to our great delight, that we feel more free. We feel more relaxed in our bodies. Our breathing is easier, deeper. Our hearts feel more open.
It’s true, meditation might feel like a huge challenge at first. Yet, over time, if we stick with the practice, and have patience with ourselves, the chances are excellent that we might actually begin to enjoy it.
When at first we might have viewed it as work or as a chore—as something our doctor told us we “should do” in order to lower our blood pressure or our therapist told us we “should do” in order lessen our anxiety—we now realize that meditation is something beautiful, uplifting, and even fun. It’s something we look forward to. It’s our break from the daily concerns. It’s rebellion. It’s a moment of beyond.
Next time you sit down to meditate, congratulate yourself for taking the time to do the extraordinary.
You’re a true rebel.