Oct 31, 2015, 11:15AM

Meditation: Not Thinking at All

Mindfulness rises out of mindlessness.

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Meditation is an ongoing process. It’s not about body posture or types of thinking: it’s about not thinking at all. This is all you need to know. Meditation is a natural human exercise. No religion is required. Religion is thinking. The aim of meditation is to clear the mind of all thought and cultivate calmness. This island of calmness is its own reward. Belief systems, ideologies or other convictions have nothing to do with meditation. Meditation as a process is about developing an inner calm that nurtures confidence about life. It’s not necessary to believe anything. Belief is thought and meditation is about not thinking.

Mindfulness rises out of mindlessness, not the other way around. Meditation is not about thinking. We come with a conscience. It is accessed through the quieting of thought. Once interior chatter stops there are no more filters between you and what happens to you. Suffering is the mental anguish associated with contemplating a bleak future. Pain is what is actually felt. Meditation reduces suffering which aids in pain management. This is available for all. Free. The cause of suffering is the ego. The ego is that interior chatter our mind uses to establish an order upon things. Ego is our thought. Ego will always find persuasive arguments to keep you from mediation because meditation is not thinking.

Clear 20 minutes where you won’t be interrupted by anyone. Make yourself comfortable enough to last those 20 minutes. Don't worry about correct posture or folded hands. The object is to acclimating yourself to not thinking. Just like the body requires sleep the mind operates at maximum efficiency with regular meditation. Meditation is awake sleep in that it facilitates in the brain what sleep does to the body at night: sorting and emptying the brain's daily log. It’s a cleansing and a refreshing act. Less clutter is always desirable. Meditation is a cleansing spa experience for your mental health. The residual calmness will gradually infiltrate itself into your day, surprising you with a new set of more measured responses to the old hot button issues. You should feel clarity in your thinking. The non-stop mental headlines begin to lessen.

Thoughts come and go. This is natural. Don’t get drawn into the thoughts. Think of thoughts as pedestrians passing you on the sidewalk: people over which you harbor no judgment or control. For your 20-minute meditation you will avoid all attachments to stray thoughts. Judgment, control, and attachments are products of thinking. Meditation is never about thinking.

When I began to meditate decades ago I expected an LSD trip. My expectations were roadblocks. Everyone will have roadblocks. That's natural. Expectations are products of thinking and learning meditation is about learning not to think. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth at a steady comfortable even rate. The inward breath lets in serenity and calm. The exhale releases thought and expended energy. This is less a rule than an efficient approach to breathing. Meditation is your time. Why not use it to full capacity?

The calm is its own reward. Variously known as the still point, Relaxation Response or the Zone in sports, calmness describes a point in human activity absent of thought. Heroic acts are often executed in this state. Daily meditative exercise will influence and change how you react in a positive way. Once you learn to free yourself of the tether of thought you'll soon agree that humans think too much. The body loves meditation. The mind doesn't. The ego perceives any quieting of thought as a personal threat and so contrives reasons not to meditate.

Breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. Most people can relate to an epiphany. We've all had them. It's that inexplicable calm that overtakes you just before your car hits a phone pole. Or it could happen on a fishing trip triggered by being a speck on a vast and beautiful ecosystem. An epiphany overwhelms our tiny problematic existence with the magnitude of existence.  This is what a good meditation is like: clarifying and comforting. It is not about thought or problems. Those things remain. Meditation is an experience. A return to our original selves before thought cluttered our lives.

Breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. Humans are energy and energy enjoys expansion. Constriction is expansion's opposite. Breathe deeply into your areas of tightness. There's nothing mysterious about this. Breathe into your neck, shoulders and stomach. These are typically the areas that constrict. For 20 minutes you are breathing into your sore spots, feeling your face relax as your breath enters your lungs and distributes this peace throughout your body. Your body loves meditation like a spa visit. Your restless mind does not.

Breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. It costs nothing, requires no lengthy journeys; you can do it mostly anywhere. Invariably, meditation becomes a positive influence in your life. Once a day may grow to twice a day. There are no rules.


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