I took this photo of my two year old meditating and the face he made was just priceless. All I could think was 'I feel your pain little buddy... sitting with oneself ain't easy.' And it's true, it can sometimes be straight up painful and ugly. I've been fortunate to partake in two separate Vipassana courses over the years. These are ten day silent meditation retreats offered worldwide, where a regimented schedule requires over ten hours of meditation each day, taught by my most influential teacher, S.N. Goenka. I can't lie and say it was easy, but radical life changing experiences rarely come without putting in the work first.
So, maybe a ten day meditation course in silence isn't for you.... not to worry, I've got you covered.
As many of you know, each of my yoga classes start and finish with seated meditation. And here is why...
In a world as manic and busy as ours, it is so important to take the time to work with our minds.... 'Exercise' it, if you will. We all know spending time and energy to maintaining healthy and fit bodies is so important, but what we need more than ever in our lives are healthy, fit, and ultimately happy minds; it's our most powerful tool at our disposal as human beings. The Eastern world has acknowledged this fact for centuries, and just recently has the Western world started to catch wind.
Don't overthink it, meditation is simply working with the science of the mind. And just like exercise is a workout on the body, meditation is a workout of our minds. (especially at first) As we sit with ourselves in meditation, we are creating the space to simply face whatever comes up in our minds and our bodies with consciousness, and awareness. As pleasant or unpleasant sensations or thoughts arise in the mind and body, we simple acknowledge the thoughts and sensations for what they are, sit with them, and gently resist the urge to react to that which arises. We practise becoming simply observers. Sounds easy right... wrong!! Years and years of neglecting our minds has left them wildly out of control, irrational, and quite frankly insane. Don't be suprised if a storm of emotion takes you over when you start to sit silently with yourself. But don't feel discouraged, you have meditation, and it is your tool to tame that beast!
As we practise our ability to sit with those things that are uncomfortable in meditation.... (an emotion, a feeling, a bodily sensation), the pull of the mind begins to have less and less of an effect on us. We begin to develop the tools to interpret these things more objectively, with less of a reactive emotional or physical response.
Yes, yoga is so so so sweet for the body, but as you deepen your practise, you'll realise how beneficial it is for your mind, making you cooler, calmer, and happier in your life.
Create the space for yourself.
For more information on Vipassana, please get it touch as I could ramble on for days. Here's the link to the Vipassana Centre in Ontario https://www.torana.dhamma.org/