Insight from an interview awhile back on meditation
Why meditate? The brain is a muscle like any other muscle and it stays healthy by stretching it out. When we stretch a muscle, what we do is encourage elasticity where rigidity once resided. The elasticity that we create in the mind manifests as new ways of thinking, feeling and experiencing the world. We are able to look outside the very structured way in which we live and tap into spaciousness. Spaciousness is how we can cultivate happiness because it creates distance between us and our habitual tendencies that keep us stuck. Happiness is not possible when we are bound by self-defeating habits.
How do you meditate? As simply as possible. Don’t over complicate the process. Listen to the sound of inhalation and exhalation or physically experience its movement. This is the very first teaching the Buddha gave on meditation thousands of years ago. If it poses too difficult, which is not uncommon, then you can anchor the breath with a word or phrase. Usually, I mentally repeat the line, “I breath in,” as I breath in and “I breath out,” as I breath out. Some use the Sanskrit word, “SO” on inhale and “HUM” on exhale. Still others prefer to count the breath, starting with 1 and working up to 8. If you happen to lose count, start over from 1, with no judgement or condemnation.
I can’t stop my thoughts. You will not be able to stop your thoughts because that is the nature of the mind. The point of meditation is to bring compassionate awareness to it. Our mind is our greatest asset and allows us perceive the world, remember experiences, to learn and create. We should take advantage of such gems but also become aware of when they start to take over. The choice we make in meditation, is to avoid playing out every thought and story line that surfaces while we are sitting. Like training a dog, it is important that we keep our awareness on the puppy, but do not feed into its restlessness. Instead, work with its energy and harness self discipline.
How long should I meditate? Meditation should not be burdensome or emotionally depleting. With that being said, it does require some work. Start with 5 minutes in the morning and work your way up to a 30 minute sit. Give yourself time to build up a regular meditation practice and create a routine out of it – just like brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. A helpful acronym to remember is, RPM; rise, pee, meditate. Eventually try meditating twice a day both in the morning and night.
What if my schedule fluctuates? There are countless opportunities throughout the day to find stillness. Utilize the time you have and don’t be hard on yourself. The more that this sinks in as part of your daily routine, I promise you that the universe will create space for it.
If you are interested in more insight into meditation, contact Josh Blatter at email@example.com. Josh Blatter is a sought after yoga and meditation instructor in San Diego, California. He is best known for his artful sequencing, pacifying presence, depthless wisdom and unequivocal understanding of the human body and spirit. Josh yields a humble approach in the way in which he holds space and is constantly inspiring others to grow. His classes are a very dynamic blend that exemplify his background in the practice; imbued with vinyasa-esque flow, refined alignment, pranayama, mindful meditation and subtle body awareness.