As the years roll on, some of us are forced to learn hard lessons, become more humble, recognize how minimal our ability is to control life, and start searching for a deeper, more reliable form of happiness that's independent of conditions. Meditation now becomes more relevant.
NOW the entire world is in turmoil: Covid 19 crisis / financial meltdown / climate crisis / direct or proxy warfare / refugee crises. "Normal" times have evaporated, possibly forever. It's time to wake up & engage with life CONSCIOUSLY, WISELY.
Einstein said that we can't solve a mess with the same level of consciousness as the one with which we caused it. We MUST evolve / mature to a higher level of consciousness. Now meditation practice is a vital asset.
The various mindfulness meditation (MBSR) practices all have us concentrate our awareness on an object of meditation, in real time. The physically-felt details of our object of meditation (eg breath in our belly) are to completely fill our awareness. No part of our awareness should remain with which to be anxious, sad, to obsess, or daydream. Stable, one-pointed concentration - absorbed only on one "object" in silence & stillness (without metal chatter, without physical / emotional restlessness), in and of itself, feels pleasant & can therefore be effortlessly maintained. Profound mental rest & therefore stress relief are relatively easily & quickly obtainable.
But initially, we ALL behave according to our lifelong training - unconsciously follow our deeply conditioned habits. So we follow the instructions in a "half-assed" way, "just going through the motions," remaining lost in our trance: self-talk about "the story of me," continuing to catastrophize, wallow, or daydream. Then we quickly jump to self-judgment & want to quit meditation "because we're no good at it."
Our greatest obstacles are: 1) Lack of practice, 2) Impatience, & 3) Expecting dramatic results.
1) A regular daily meditation PRACTICE must be established to replace our old outdated conditioning with new more appropriate conditioning / training. The more we practice wisely, the better we become at it. Without this disciplined approach, we derive ZERO benefits, no matter how much we read & talk about meditation. As with skiing, tennis or golf, we improve in direct proportion to the quality & quantity of our practice.
2) IF we PATIENTLY persevere, and accept our old conditioning (untrained, distracted mind), treat ourselves with incredible patience, gentleness & kindness - holding ourselves in safety & unconditional love - carefully following the meditation instructions - zooming in on the details with curiosity, we WILL INEVITABLY SUCCEED.
Our mind is the organ of change. Wise, consistent training invariably transforms our mind to work FOR us (instead of against us). We will turn our life right around. From feeling helpless, vulnerable & needy, we gradually shift to embody the source of safety & unconditional love first for ourselves, and subsequently for others.
3) When we stabilize our awareness on a physical sensation (even for 10 seconds), we release our habitual shallow level of consciousness ("noisy ego") and become our deeper intelligence, experiencing peace, stillness & silence. The first few times, we tend to get either bored or all excited and so pop right back up to the shallows & start blabbering to ourselves, which of course immediately ends the experience.
If we expect meditation to deliver fireworks & levitation, we might actually overlook the subtle quality of profound peace, stillness & silence, and judge it boring, a waste of time!
If however we have suffered, or are now suffering from a lot of emotional anguish, then experiencing profound peace, stillness & silence will feel absolutely heavenly. Gradually, we do learn to feel comfortable & stabilize in this profoundly peaceful, still, silent, loving space of deep intelligence where we are deeply connected to, engaged, intimate with ourselves, others, the environment, life itself: http://www.johnlovas.com/2020/03/appreciating-subtle.html
Let us PRACTICE regularly, wisely, patiently, kindly every day, formally and informally. We've created a desperate mess with our noisy ego. Now we must clean up this hot mess, but can only do so by embodying our deep intelligence. We know how; we can do it!