Meditation: the Secret Superpower of the Mediator
Mediation is about serving as a go-between or translator of judgmental language into a more pure essence of communication. It helps to build a connection or a bridge across differences, from heart to heart. Meditation is about going within one’s own self to experience the profound peace, joy, unconditional light and life of the soul. Meditation can literally “warm the air of the room” where a tense mediation is about to happen.
I’ve been helping people to learn about both mediation and meditation for decades. Although this blog’s main focus has been mediation through NVC, I’d like to dedicate this entry to meditation. Many of the most skilled, successful mediators have a secret superpower: they meditate daily. In fact, they sometimes meditate immediately before meeting clients who are in conflict. Meditation creates an atmosphere that’s supportive of bring people together in harmony.
You Find Meditation Impossible?
Advanced meditation practitioners enjoy the experience of stillness with little or no effort. Many others, especially beginners, say it’s impossible for them to be very still.
To that, I suggest they take another look at the word impossible. It’s comprised of “Im” and “possible.” Add an apostrophe and you have “I’m possible!” One needs a positive attitude in order to enjoy meditation and make some progress. The Jack Sparrow pirate character played by Johnny Depp once made a powerful comment. “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
Meditation Variety is Overwhelming
There are countless styles and approaches to meditation these days. From the very dawn of my spiritual awakening, I was drawn toward a simple, silent technique. I need no music in the background, no audio or video. My favorite meditation focuses on the 3rd eye aka the 6th chakra. Many meditations focus on the breath, but the third eye is a bit above the breathing center in the body. Thus it can potentially open your inner vision to higher regions of consciousness
Today there are walking meditations, running meditations, swimming meditations, even dish-washing meditations. My own personal opinion is that these can all be done in a mindful, meditative way. However, they simply don’t fit the basic, classical definition of meditation. Taking a meditative approach to your daily walk, jog, swim or chores is an ideal adjunct to your core meditation practice. It just isn’t a full substitute or replacement. One exception would be if you’ve achieved the highest levels of consciousness such as nirvana or perpetual enlightenment.
5 Easy Steps that Improve Your Meditation
It’s very challenging to start and continue a core meditation practice every day. Sometimes people make time for it, sit down to meditate and then get distracted after a short while. Here are some brief indicators that may help you to remedy your meditation challenges. They will also help to keep your practice more fruitful and on track.
1) If you find yourself fidgeting or struggling to relax and be still, you may need to:
A) Exercise gently before you sit for meditation. Blow off some excess steam or burn off the energy of restlessness.
B) Find a more comfortable chair. Choose a position where you can sit with your back straight but not stiff, and both feet flat on the floor. Or sit cross-legged if you prefer the classic Eastern easy pose, half-lotus or full-lotus pose.
C) Observe a mountain, or a picture of one, noticing how majestic and perfectly stable and still it is. Pretend you are a mountain and be just that still.
2) If your mind is racing relentlessly from one thought to another in a wild way, it may help to:
A) Read some mystic poetry or spiritual prose to give your mind something more uplifting and centering on which to chew. Listen to some very calming music before you sit for meditation, turning the music off when you begin to meditate.
B) As you repeat your mantra, start repeating it silently in the back of your mind at a more rapid pace. This rapid pace will match the speedy rate at which your mind is churning out thoughts. Then gradually decrease the speed of your repetitions. Do them more and more slowly until you bring the silent mantra repetition down to super slow motion.
C) Remember that when 100% of your attention is focused into your inner gaze, then and only then there’s no attention left for the mind to send thoughts. Each time you see that thoughts are being generated, thank them! Your thoughts are proof that you’ve focused less than 100% of your attention into what you’re seeing dead center right in front of you. Raise the level of your focused attention to 75%, 80%, 85% etc. Eventually you can get up to 100% of your attention focused and riveted before you, even if just for a few moments. Then, you’ll notice the mind will immediately stop generating thoughts.
3) If you’re not having the kind of spiritual experiences you’d hoped for:
A) Get clear on all the preconceived notions you have about what meditation should look or feel like. Let them go completely. Let go of all expectations, demands and preconceived notions. They will only get in your way and cause endless feelings of frustration.
B) Practice beholding what’s right in front of you, even if it’s only darkness, an empty space or void. See it clearly as you focus in only on the very center of what you see. Practice observing closely and carefully without evaluating or judging what you see. You can also practice this in the outside physical world by gazing at a series of varied pictures. Remain vigilant to only see them without evaluating or judging what you see.
C) Develop a sense of effortless effort. Yes, of course you are making some effort to set aside a quiet time, a comfortable position, and to practice a technique. That all takes a certain kind of effort. In your actual meditation sitting, however, let go of all trying. Let go of all straining, all clutching to try to grab an experience. Let go of all goals and ambitions. Just be there, lovingly yet effortlessly focused into the center of what is right there in front of you. You’ll know when you’re in this state of inner flow. It won’t feel like work or effort at all. On the contrary, it’s amazingly peaceful and restful.
4) If you feel distracted because your attention keeps drifting away from your inner gaze:
A) Remember that as the body goes, so goes the mind. As you meditate, your body is resting in stillness. Your mind is focused on one sacred word, mantra or phrase. All that remains to complete your meditation is to rivet your inner attention into the center of what you’re seeing or contemplating. Imagine a translucent bullseye overlay superimposed on your internal field of view. Bring your attention to the very center and see clearly what is right there, paying no attention to what’s outside the center. The focus of your inner gaze will probably slip downward, slide across, or float upward away from the center. Each time it does, calmly and gently bring it back to the same exact spot. Review item #1C above.
5) If your mind drifts to thoughts other than the silent repetition of your mantra:
A) Remember the inspirational, uplifting meaning behind the mantra or word that you’re meditating upon. Each time you repeat it silently, do so with love and reverence, from the core of your heart. Jewish mystics talk of the crucial need to pray with kavannah, which means intense loving devotion or feeling. Each time you repeat your sacred word or mantra, do it as an invitation or an invocation. Do it as if you’re humbly requesting the divine presence to make itself known to you in a way you can perceive. Remember that any experience you receive within is purely a gift of divine grace, not merely the result of your own effortless efforts.
Some might even want to repeat their mantra prayerfully. It’s up to the individual meditator. If we forget to treat the mantra as an exciting, powerful name, then it’s all too easy to slip into repeating it as a dry, ritualistic exercise, like busy work for the mind. It can be harnessed through the power of love so that it gives more fuel to the fire of your meditation.