Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? But maybe, as with everything else in life these days, there seems to be plenty of disagreement about the "correct" way to meditate. Do you lie down or sit up straight? Legs crossed lotus style or feet flat on the floor? Some find it impossible to sit still and others find it intimidating to get up and move. I came across an interesting excerpt from an article on meditation by British educator and author, William Bloom. He is a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation and a trustee of Glastonbury Abbey...and so much more. You can check him out at: https://williambloom.com Here is William's piece: How Meditation Was Invented Having taught meditation for decades, I want to reassure people that meditation is a natural human behavior. All you need is an instinct be quiet and calm. So why are there all these competing meditation traditions and schools? Here are three short stories that illustrate how meditation might have been invented. The Householder Who Invented Meditation A woman lived in a village in a house full of children and relatives. One day she felt an instinct to get away from the noise and activity. She walked until she found a quiet spot under a tree by a stream. She closed her eyes. She felt the tree against her back and the soft grass and earth beneath her. The breeze touched her cheeks. The sound of the stream was soothing. After a few minutes she felt some anxiety and accompanying thoughts about her family and neighbors. She felt impatient and an urge to go home. But she stayed sitting quietly. She sighed, noticed tension in her chest and began to breathe more softly. She stayed sitting quietly, just patiently waiting, letting her body and feelings become more easy. This felt good. She returned the next day. And the next. And the next. She was meditating. Her mind and her feelings were calm. Her psyche was able to contemplate, enquire and explore. The Worker Who Invented Meditation A man worked in the city and was stressed and anxious. His doctor prescribed a sedative, which he took for several weeks but disliked its side effects. Following an instinct he stopped taking the medication and on his way to and from work he began to stop regularly to calm himself – sometimes on a park bench, sometimes in a church or library. Pausing and sitting quietly soothed him. This pausing to self-soothe became a daily behavior. After a few months something else began to happen when he sat quietly. A part of his mind started to enquire: Who is this inside me who is choosing to calm myself? What is this part of me watching and guiding all this? Wow! Here is another part of my consciousness. It feels good and interesting. I want to sit longer and explore all this. He was meditating. The Warrior Who Invented Meditation There is a soldier who was weary of fighting. One day, off duty, she felt a rising anger within her and recognized that she needed to calm down. She followed her instincts and found a space where she could not be observed. She then practiced some of her martial arts moves – strikes, punches and kicks – at the same time vigorously expelling air from her lungs with grunting breaths. After thirty minutes of this extreme activity and catharsis, she could still feel some of her internal fury. Her next instinct was to sit still. Disciplined and self-managing, she sat quietly for a while. Her mind scanned the circumstances of her life, contemplating her ethics and her behavior. Her anger subsided. She was in a space of watchful good-humored equanimity. She began to repeat the behavior daily. She had become a meditator. A Meditation Contest Imagine if the Householder, the Worker and the Warrior each attracted followers who copied their meditation behavior. We now have three different meditation schools and there is the possibility of conflict. My teachers says you must meditate in nature. No only in a sacred space! No! Do these movements and chant! Breathe like this. Don’t do anything. Just be! Today in our global village we can see so many meditation schools, such as yoga, chanting, Vipassana, mantra, prayer, mindfulness, guided journeys, healing and more. Newbies and teachers often think that their way is the only or the best way instead of honoring and exploring the different traditions. Universal State Wonderfully, although there are all these different approaches there is also, I assert, a universal state, which all meditators experience. This state is profound:
We are at ease.
We are conscious, awake and watchful.
We patiently witness and experience everything with care and compassion.
We feel connected to the beautiful mystery of all existence.
No wonder there is a natural human instinct to meditate. It is good for us and all those around us. Gratitude and Love. William For those of you interested in meditation, I facilitate a variety of meditation styles every Thursday at Essence of Health at 1404 NE 134th St #170, Vancouver, WA 98685. Meditations are scheduled for two Thursdays a month at 11AM and two Thursdays a month at 6:30PM. Fee is $10. Please check the schedule for exact dates and to register at: https://www.essenceofhealthmt.com/meditation.html. Peace and Much Love! Dodie
I am an expressive arts practitioner, priestess, educator, author, singer/actor, wife and cat mother.