|Written by Gina Lake|
|Monday, 06 September 2010 06:07|
The most important thing you can do to quiet your mind and find the peace and happiness at your core is to meditate regularly. When this suggestion is made, many argue that their mind is too busy, that they don't like to meditate, that it's too hard, that they don't have time, or that they can't sit still. These and other excuses are the reasons people give for not doing what will take them where they really want to go. The mind comes up with these excuses to avoid meditation and sabotage it when it is attempted. These excuses, which are just thoughts, are offered by the ego, which doesn't want you to meditate, because when you meditate, you drop out of the false self. Since it is just a thought, the false self can't exist in the Now, where thoughts are not identified with but fall into the background, while other things that are arising out of the Now come to the foreground. The egoic mind, therefore, won't encourage you to do what will result in its own demise!
But something else is here that wants to awaken and be freer and happier, and it knows that there is more to life than the ego's perceptions and values. You have probably encountered people who seem freer and happier than you are, who are not phased by the comings and goings of life, and who are, at the same time, very loving and engaged with life. You know that being freer and happier is possible, and you want to know how. Your desire to be free and happy brought you here, and it's what will take on a practice of meditation, if that seems to be the way to freedom from the egoic mind. When you really want something, you don't let anything stand in the way. That's where many of you are at now. You want more freedom, happiness, peace, love, and contentment, and meditation is the most effective tool for attaining these positive feeling states.
Meditating is like exercising a muscle. It strengthens your ability to observe, detach from, and see the truth about the egoic mind. You can observe the mind as you go about your day, but it's much easier to do this without the distractions of daily life. In meditation, you set aside time to practice being in the moment and not in your mind. Practicing this in meditation will make being in the Now while you are going about your day much easier. Not meditating will make being in the Now more challenging in your daily life. Eckhart Tolle and others have opened people's eyes to the importance of being in the Now, but doing that can be very difficult without practicing it in meditation first.
Meditation is actually very enjoyable and pleasurable once you've done it for a while and become good at it. You'll look forward to it. Meditating only seems difficult initially because the mind doesn't want to be ignored by you, and it will do everything it can to distract you and get you to do something else. Meditation strengthens your alignment with the "you" who is aware, with the Witness, or what I like to call the "Noticer." Before a practice of meditation, most people are run by their egoic minds. Meditation changes this. It puts you in a position of being able to choose whether or not you will follow your mind.
Who is this you who can choose to meditate despite thoughts that say, "I don't like to meditate. Meditation's boring. It's too hard. I don't need to meditate. It doesn't do any good"? Do you see the duality within you? Our thoughts, which we usually identify with, say one thing, while something else—the Heart—pulls us toward happiness and freedom from the egoic mind's limitations and negativity.
Notice how your Heart, or Essence, doesn't convey its intentions through thoughts, but through a deeper sense, through your intuition. Intuitions may later be thought about and expressed in words, but the Heart's drives don't show up initially as thoughts. Essence speaks to us more subtly, through our intuition, urges to act, inspiration, knowings, and other silent communications. Essence moves everyone toward greater freedom and happiness in their lives.
Those on the spiritual path are heeding Essence's call, and the egoic mind will argue with this, distrust it, and try to sabotage movement in Essence's direction. The ego doesn't want to be demoted; it wants to remain dominant. That would be fine if only the ego were a wise and benevolent ruler, but it's not. The ego doesn't have the wisdom to guide our lives, nor does it know what will truly make us happy; only Essence—our Heart—does. When we are identified with the ego, touching into Essence can feel frightening. But that is the ego's fear of dissolution. Our spiritual evolution is about moving out of ego identification into alignment with Essence and expressing Essence's qualities—love, peace, joy, acceptance, wisdom, compassion—in the world. Meditation facilitates this natural process of growth toward freedom, love, and true happiness.
From Gina Lake's DailyOm.com 8-week online course "How to Quiet the Mind." To find out more about this course, go to dailyom.com.