5 Guidelines to Stay the Course,
and my story of how I got Started.
I did the on again, off again approach to meditation for about 1.5 decades; that is a long time to be on a roller coaster. Why was I so inconsistent? I understand it to be some combination of:
- Life is pretty good – why add more?
- Life is bad – I’m too crazed to focus!
- Life is unpredictable – no time, energy or ability to engage!
What I see now, is that all of these ‘reasons’ at the heart of why I wasn’t a consistent with meditation, can also be understood as reasons why one is best served to meditate consistently. Because, if you meditate daily, you will:
- feel good, better, and even great, more consistently.
- respond gracefully to hardships, with more clarity and focus.
- be more centered, flexible and accepting of all things unpredictable
Why is meditating daily important? Well. like teeth brushing, it’s more effective. It takes care of the daily clutter, and during times when life is relatively easy, it can serve to resolve the backwash of psychological junk. It’s all about mental hygiene.
And really, you can’t know the benefits of the practice, unless you try it out and ascertain for yourself. So what is important to consider?
How do you Get on Board, and Stay the course? AKA not be a Drop Out?
The 5 guidelines: I’m listing 5 significant components, but will only dive into the first one for the remainder of this article. The List…
- Start – somewhere, some time.
- Keep the Why Alive
- Have Support
- Be willing to Evolve the practice as you evolve.
- (My) Start: In the early 1980’s, as a new university graduate with a biology degree, I landed in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. My life was starting anew on all fronts; I was meeting people through work primarily, but there was a lot happening on the ‘granola’ front; spiritual bookstores were a hub for New Age ideas. A poster advertising a meeting to practice spiritual teachings caught my eye. I was curious – I am inherently interested in all things esoteric. So, I joined this group studying and engaging in practices from the book: ‘Meetings With Remarkable Men’, by G. Gurdjieff. The reader is introduced to a handful of spiritual teachers the author encounters in his travels to remote regions of Central Asia. These characters, like Jesus, had powers and wisdom surpassing my comprehension, and I quested for access to this realm of universal knowledge. The teachings and practices we in the group engaged, initiated me onto a path towards spiritual evolution; I learned that meditation was at the heart of advancing my consciousness. During our meetings, we practiced inward focusing techniques, including candle gazing, and sitting with open eyes, in soft gaze awareness. Taking the practice further afield, I recall a type of ‘walking meditation’ that we did. Maybe 8 of us in total, would walk slowly, as a group, around a few city blocks, with a soft gaze, no conversation, attuned to our bodies, each other and the environment through an open, expanded mind approach. I recall clearly being aware of both the physical surroundings, the presence and disarmed energy of onlookers and the group floating along together. It was my first exposure to a realm outside the usual space/time reality I’d been taught and known up until then.
These practices opened a door enabling me to question the reality I heretofore believed was the only reality. I learned that meditation shifted focus from external sensory information, to internal awareness, with a very different space/time experience. The reverse of the usual direction of attention, aligns us with, what I now call, the ‘witness consciousness’. It was a marvelous introduction to Meditation, and all it’s possibilities and promises. I was sold – I knew meditation was a practice that I wanted to pursue. That was a long time ago, and information about meditation is pretty ubiquitous…I’d love to know your inclinations & experience….
So if you do meditate, what started you on the journey?
If you don’t, what about it sparks your interest, maybe enough to START?
I’d love to hear your personal exploration of ‘Starting to Meditate’, whether you have been meditating for years, or just now contemplating the possibility. Please share… maybe you will research and find something that will compel you to ‘give it a Go’, so you can discern for yourself the worth of meditation from your own experience… obviously that is the most empowering reason of all to Start!
Reply to share your experience and thoughts.