31 May 2013
When I started reading about self development, no matter the source - minimalist books and blogs, psychology papers, self help books, spiritual reads, japanese culture and history - the idea of meditation came up in a way or another. Meditation as a way to be more mindful, be in the present moment, know yourself better, reconnect to your body. However, I've always had this idea that meditation meant stop thinking, and I never could do that. Until I saw this TED talk.
Oh, I still can't stop thinking, especially with a personality like mine, spending so much time in my mind in the first place.
But for the first time, I am hearing that it is OK to keep having thoughts popping in my head while meditating. Because meditation is not about emptying your head "like a still pond", it is not lighting some incense sticks, sit on the floor and make weird sounds.
It is much more simple than that really. I think I have never implemented the meditation habit in the past because I have been impressed by the concept. Just like many people can be impressed by the concept of minimalism. In both cases, I believe the reason is linked to the strong stereotypes associated with these concepts.
Meditation seems either like bullshit, or like some unattainable perfect stillness of mind you can only reach if you are a buddhist monk living in Tibet. But after reading all this things about meditation, and seeing this simple TED talk, I now believe that meditation is a much simpler concept than the word "meditation" means to most.
Basically, meditation is the concept of mindfulness. The idea that instead of living your life in a rush, you spend some time reflecting upon yourself and the present moment, taking the time to feel what is happening right now.
As I mentioned above, my main barrier to start meditation was that I can't stop thinking, I can't stop having ideas, images popping in my head. Andy Puddicombe, in the talk above, lifted this barrier of mine by explaining that you can have thoughts while meditating. The goal is not to erase them, but to step back, and observe these thoughts the same way you observe your body sensations.
It may sound ridiculous, but it was a sort of epiphany for me, as if I suddenly understood the simple concept of meditation and minduflness. Now, I am thinking how and when I can implement a short 5 to 10 minute meditation habit into my life - maybe into the new morning routine I'm currently working on.
Anyway, I wanted to share this TED talk with you because it changed my views on meditation, so I thought maybe you'd like to watch it too. I will write a follow-up post in a few months to let you know whether I implement this habit successfully, and if I do, how it changed my daily life...
Do you practice meditation, or another form of mindfulness? How did it change your life? Or do you have, like I did, a sort of barrier, an à priori about the concept of meditation?