Do you have a meditation practice? One that you use every day? What often deters people is the belief that the mind is like a monkey, jumping from branch to branch, never settling down. I prefer the analogy that the mind is like the ocean. The majority of the world identifies with and experiences only the upper crust, the wave patterns, moving up and down. However, if one were to drop down into the depths of the ocean, they would experience the calm, the peace, their own vastness. The waves may still be moving, but would appear like a cloud passing over the sun. The question becomes, are we viewing only a surface perspective, or are we finding a more expansive view?
When we come into this life, we are born with an innocence, or one might even say a blissful state of mind. This is our Natural State. This state allows one to learn quickly. Have you noticed how children simultaneously learn to operate the body, to understand and speak language – maybe even two or three at the same time, all while learning the customs of the people around them? As we journey through life, we also begin learning habits to deal with (or not deal with) life, as well as stress. As experience of life accumulates, we take on the habits, beliefs, emotional patterns, etc. of those we observe. Most people live in a reactive mode to life rather than actively creating what they want.
The practice of meditation allows the mind to take a more expansive view. It returns the mind back to its Natural State of functioning – the way we were born to live, in ease and harmony with Life. The mind actually experiences a fourth state of consciousness (as opposed to the three most people experience – waking, dreaming, and sleeping). As the mind begins to experience its Natural State, the body begins to relax and rest. Beneficial hormones and endorphins are released that are infrequent in non-meditators.
Studies show meditators have improved quality of life. The mind is calmer and more alert, thinking is clearer and energy levels are increased. Corporations and even the National Institute of Health in the USA have brought in meditation classes to improve the productivity and well-being of their employees. A study of 2,000 people over five years, showed hospital admissions were 87% less for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, 55% less for tumours, 73% less for respiratory disorders, 87% less for neurological problems, and 30% less for infections amongst meditators, compared with the control group.
The most important factor in choosing a practice is finding one and using it. The benefits of practice are accumulative. To receive the most benefit, it is vital to use your practice twice a day, everyday, a minimum of 20 minutes each time.
Secondly, find a qualified teacher to teach you the practice. An adept teacher will be committed to that practice and will have experience in giving feedback to the beginner. These are invaluable in saving time and taking one quickly into the depths of the practice.
Thirdly, a simple practice is all that is needed. In western society, we are taught that everything worth doing requires effort; the harder we work at it the better. The opposite is true with meditation. Meditation does not require any force or effort, simply a “just do it” attitude.
A consistent, regular meditation practice can be life changing. As one begins to drop into the depths of their own Being to experience a vast ocean of resource and strength, life is forever altered.
Jyoti Ishaya has been teaching Ishayas’ Ascension since 1998.