When you begin to truly pay attention and concentrate the mind, you may be surprised how little time the mind actually lives in the present. Our emotions romance the mind into the past or future. We agilely identify with our emotions and where they take us. In meditation, the aim is not to engage the mind in the emotions, or thoughts, but to be an unattached witness. When we detach from our thoughts, actions, and emotions without judgment or ego, we recognize that they still exist but they no longer control us. In meditation, the mind acknowledges emotions without entrapment or judgment.
The Result: Life Awareness and Clarity
Meditation involves becoming more aware and more sensitive to what is within you. Regardless of what you experience during meditation, you should be aware of it. Failure to experience peace of mind, mental clarity, bliss, or other ideas you might have about meditation is not a sign that you can’t concentrate or meditate properly. What you experience is not important; what is important in meditation is that you are regular with it and that you make an effort. Remain with the object of concentration during your practice, even if your mind wanders. When you see it meandering, gently bring your concentration back to the object.
You need not use any of the above options to meditate. You may be more inclined to find a quiet place, a comfortable position, close your eyes, and relax. Others find walking in nature or viewing a sunrise or sunset a peaceful form of meditation. Whatever meditation technique you choose, remember that it will require some patience, practice, and perseverance. In the end, meditation is what it does for you, not for someone else.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Meditation is not about a particular feeling, and there is no one way to meditate, but there are several different techniques. Meditation requires perseverance and patience regardless of which technique you choose. People practice Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness meditation, chanting, gazing at objects, and simple breathing techniques. No longer thought of as New Age quackery, today meditation techniques are incorporated into the programs of numerous health institutions because of meditation’s healthful, life-enriching benefits.
As you can see, both yoga and meditation are highly personal practices. In today’s world, yoga is increasingly becoming less gender-specific, as you will see in the following chapters on yoga for women and for men.