The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: consciousness

Oh, Just Meditate!

Imagine the deep blue ocean covered by a thin layer of ice. Imagine a whole world of inhabitants living their life on this layer of ice scarcely aware of the limitless expanse lying directly beneath them. Imagine people looking up into the sky, desiring infinity and wondering how to experience it… when all they need to do is dig a tiny hole in the ice and dive down, inward.

This is as good a description of the meditative state as any and as apt an explanation of the waking state of consciousness.

Meditation is the exercise of diving into the deep blue ocean beneath the icy layer. The ocean is the meditative state of consciousness and no, it isn’t on another continent or planet; it is underneath our daily existence, close and accessible. Which is why, anyone and everyone can meditate. Each one of us can experience the deep blue expanse and dive to its silent depths, marveling at the shiny fish floating by, gazing in awe at the shimmering coral reefs and admiring the massive blue whale that glides majestically.

We use the term “good meditation” rather loosely, although the truth is that no one can tell. The experience of meditation is far beyond what we can perceive through the intellect and the senses. Sure, you may feel pleasantly rested after a 20-minute meditation. You may feel reborn. You may feel like you want to take a nap afterward. You may feel riotously happy. You may wonder how time flew by. You may feel ceaseless thought flowing through the mind. You may question the “efficacy” of your technique.

I have experienced all of the above (except the last one).

I am nowhere qualified to dispense advice of any kind on meditation but here is what I have to share. Who is a good “meditator?” The one who emerges from meditation in a blissful state of awareness? The one who glows with an inner radiance? The one who reports a state of thoughtlessness?

No, no, no.

Meditation

Meditation

The only definition of a “good meditator,” if there exists any, is a person who is sincere and committed to his/her practice. The one who sits to meditate every day, gratefulness and sincerity in her heart. The one who perseveres with the practice despite the so-called lack of visible results. “Whenever I sit to meditate, all these thoughts come rushing to my mind!” Yes, battling the doubts and ‘I-am-not-doing-this-right’ suspicions and ‘what-is-the-point-of-this-exercise’ questions and still committing to the daily practice.

That, and that alone, is the definition of a good meditator.

Just meditate, really. All that is needed is a simple intention, a little wish, a basic technique. And the magic unfolds in the mind, in the heart, in your life, in the world, in the heavens…effortlessly.

The Only Method to True Relaxation

Beach_SantaMonica

Beach, Santa Monica

The truth is that the only real method for the brain, mind and all faculties to get relaxation is meditation. Or sleep. Sure, you may fervently believe that watching trash TV all evening or talking on the phone with the BFF for four straight hours are relaxing exercises but the sad truth is that they aren’t. Relaxation, meaning rest, meaning rejuvenation, meaning a breather for the mind and body and senses… This can be gained only in the sleep state and in the meditative state. For us mere mortals, that is. I am sure that many evolved beings walk this planet for whom the waking state is lived at an elevated level of consciousness. So, I’d think that they are in a perennial state of rest.

Coming back to relaxing… meditation is the real deal. Actually, people experience relaxation amidst activity as well. Creative projects, spending time in Nature, listening to music, immersing oneself in dance, etc. can bring in a state of tranquility and rest too. The real reason why that happens is that one experiences the subtle meditative state while being deeply engrossed in these activities.

So go ahead and watch mind-numbing television for an hour or so, gossip with an old friend, read a trashy novel… sans guilt or regret. You might feel drained at the end of it but hey, did you think it was going to be relaxing?