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By Preston Maurer, School for Good Living Associate Coach
I first heard of what is considered traditional meditation in my high school humanities class. We were discussing world religions and I was assigned to write a report on Buddhism.
The topic was interesting to study, but once I’d given my report, I quickly forgot about it. Meditation had not been taught as a part of my own Christian religion, so it was still just a concept.
It wasn’t until years later—when I was seeking truths after my world was turned upside down by an act of violence that left me in a wheelchair—that I rediscovered meditation and the power within this simple practice. I learned that no matter your religion, or if you have no religion, mediation can be a part of your life.
What is meditation or mindfulness practice? You might think of it as a practice where you sit on the ground—legs crossed, hands oriented in a certain fashion—close your eyes and chant or sit in silence. You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong; some people practice meditation in that form. However, the real majesty in mediation is not so much in the method but in the continuous living experience of the present—the clarity, peace, and enjoyment in becoming a freer you.
With mediation, you are looking inward, deep within your soul, reconnecting with it in such a way that fears diminish. When you let go of your fear you become free and clear in thought. You come home.
In essence, meditating is prolonging the moment between your last thought and the next one. You become fully present in that moment, seeing it for what it is and the nothingness that comes with it.
When you first start a meditation practice you will find that your mind goes wild. This is not a problem. In fact, it’s a treasure, a signal that your mind is alive, and you are just becoming more aware of it. You have become quieter, so don’t give up. Continue your practice. Return your focus to your breath—the cool inhale and the warm exhale.
As you practice you will see that the chattering thoughts become more distant, as if you are standing on a great mountain looking out at the frolicking trees as the wind blows. You are not affected by it, but are present with the moment.
In this busy, modern world, we rarely give ourselves the time to really sit and be alone with ourselves, to meditate and become free, clear, at peace and present. Instead, we are constantly checking our phones and computers for the next update, message, or email. Or seeing how many likes our last post has.
Such a waste of time, and at the cost of our own mental health. In a way, we are putting ourselves into a prison, locking the door and tossing the key away. Isn’t it about time we unlock the door to our own minds, becoming free from the chains we clasp upon ourselves?
When you continue to practice your meditation, you begin to see things through a different lens. You see things more clearly. You see the fine line between illusion and reality. Your senses are heightened because you are present with them more often than not. You witness people differently and see things within them that you never saw before. You gain a stronger connection to the universe or higher power—the energy that flows within and without everything.
You become free.
You awaken the nature of your mind, your pure awareness.
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