Meditation takes bravery and here’s why
Why do we meditate? There seems to be a large uprising in meditation these days which is kind of a wonderful thing. There are so many types of meditation, how do you know where to start? What is your why for doing this?
We meditate because it reduces stress, it brings us out of our heads and into our bodies and allows us to connect with our life force - the breath. As I sat in on a two hour zen meditation class I was reminded that it is a brave thing to sit with ourselves. It takes courage and bravery to look deep within at what we so skillfully ignore about ourselves on a daily basis. So many of us are afraid of what lies beneath our physical exterior. We easily give in to the immense stimulation and plethora of distractions surrounding us.
We become very closed off through-out our lives. As children we start off so open and free, unafraid to express ourselves. As we grow older we begin to close off our bodies, minds and hearts due to external conditioning. We close off from experiencing feelings of shame, being judged and criticized. We forget how innately powerful we are and that closing our self off as a protective mechanism is incredibly dangerous to our well-being.
Meditation is not about achieving a perfect practice - showing up to our cushions and looking the part. Meditation is a practice, and it often looks and feels messy on the inside. When we sit, we allow space for all of the junk dwelling within to come up, at times like a hurricane - a flurry of emotions, thoughts and experiences. It is not the goal to ignore or become completely silent inside but rather the practice of allowing those thoughts and emotions to rise and release. It is often after we meditate that life becomes a little clearer and living comes with greater ease.
The goal is not to ignore what comes up, but to acknowledge and carry on. When we meditate we don’t just meditate for our self. This isn’t about the I. This is about the collective. It is a humbling thing to sit in meditation with a group and to all feed off of one another’s intent.
What is your intention when you sit down to practice? The act of meditating starts with us, as individuals but it is very much more about us as a collective. The entirety of humanity benefits from our individual actions. I like to believe that when we are still and work towards healing our wounds that we are simultaneously healing those around us, our families and generations before us. We are connecting to earth energy and rooting down between both the ethereal and physical. What a beautiful privilege it is to sit in practice.
While the world rushes around us, people going about their day, people starving or at war, we get to sit on our meditation pillow and tap in to our inner chaos long enough to clear it all out so that we can operate from a place of love and connection rather than fear. That takes bravery and dedication and what a privilege it is.
In zen meditation they talk a lot about this, about our ability to operate from a place of freedom, ease and content. This is possible only when we are willing to look at the parts of our selves that we often to easily ignore. Parts of us that scare us or that we do not recognize because they have been hidden for so long.
Meditation is not about finding our selves, but rather it is to become whole again. We were always whole but many of us have lost our way, we got distracted, jaded and disillusioned. This is ok as this is part of the human experience. It is time to come home now, come home to who you are. As each one of us become more whole, we, as a collective weave a web of communion and balance. Cultivating connection and oneness is our mission, as we were not meant to only stand alone but stand united as one.