The other day I was talking to a friend and happened to mention my interest in meditation.
“Oh,” she said, “a great excuse to have a nap.”
She couldn’t be more wrong, but sadly, this is a view shared by many people who know little or nothing about meditation, and even some who meditate regularly seem to think it is more about resting than stillness.
Yes, I hear you say, ‘You are still when you sleep.’
Actually, no you are not. I’ve talked before about the tiny percentage of the brain given over to the conscious level of the mind. Up to 10%, so what is happening with the rest of your brain and when, if you like, does it come out to play?
Yes, it does take over during sleep, that is where your dreams come from, but it also prevails during meditation.
Do you allow it to have a free rein while you meditate, well you should know the answer to that by now. And of course the answer is ‘no’. So what do you do?
In a limited amount of time you use it the same way you might when faced with a problem that appears to have no solution. While your conscious level of your brain is working on whatever you are doing during the day, when you have a problem and give it time to ‘cook’, you often suddenly find the solution to your problems will ‘pop up out of nowhere’. In reality that’s not true, while you have been concentrating on other matters, you’ve given your subliminal mind permission to work on the solution at a deeper level without the emotional baggage you might load it with at a conscious level.
Meditation is the deliberate calling upon the subliminal level of consciousness to work on the project you give it at a certain time and in a certain way, while you deliberately put your conscious level to one side.
You only have to remember how hard it was to remain focussed on counting your breaths to know how much effort goes into meditating, and striving for that inner stillness that grows within us until it becomes part-and-parcel of who we are.
So, next time someone says to you, “Oh, yes I could do with a good rest.” Just smile , or nod and encourage them to join their local meditation group.