All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly, in a room by himself.
Back in 2005 I was at a Baron Baptiste Power Yoga event in Rhinebeck, New York. During the lunch break, I saw there was another group sharing the venue with us. There were so many of them, and they all ate their lunch in silence! I eventually got to talk with a few of them and I asked what they were doing there. They were attending a Mindfulness Meditation retreat led by a medical doctor named Jon Kabat-Zinn. They recommended that I check out his book Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness.
I rushed to the bookstore and devoured the book. I later learned that Mr. Kabat-Zinn would be doing a book-signing at the bookstore that evening, and I decided I must go and meet the man. I stood on the line for over an hour, with the book in hand and full of emotion. When I finally got to meet him, even though the line was long, he spent some time with me.
I told him that I practiced yoga but I had trouble with the resting pose. I said “I am just restless, I think I feel like I’m wasting my time. I want to work out, not just sit there.” He listened to me, encouraged me, and personalized my book, writing “May this be the door in,” in addition to the stamp he imprinted on everyone’s books: May your mindfulness practice grow and flower and nourish your life from moment to moment and from day to day. It was just so beautiful. That was back in May, 2005. And that’s when I truly started to meditate.
Be – don’t try to become.
If you ask me now, seven years later, “What is the meaning of meditation?” I would just say it’s the art of quieting the mind. But how is that possible? Scientists say we have 6,000 thoughts a day, so how can we eliminate those thoughts? What I suggest to my students is that once you sit in meditation, all you need to do is check in with your Self, with the present, with what is happening now.
At first it might not be easy. My very first meditation when sitting down was really painful. My nose itched, I was restless, I was aching and my mind kept wandering on and on. Why was that happening? It was happening because I was pretty much results-oriented. In order to do something, I needed to know where it would lead to. I needed some specific results. I felt that just sitting down and doing nothing was such a waste of time. That’s how ignorant I used to be.
It’s not so much about doing as about being.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
In stillness there is really no thinking. Thoughts evaporate because they become meaningless to you – no matter what those thoughts are. Non-duality is so important because our world is the world of contradictions. Black, white. Good, bad. Beautiful, ugly. I meditate to get away from that and the independence I achieve brings me to a oneness, and from oneness to non-limitations, and from non-limitations to abundance everywhere.
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
– Eckhart Tolle
Like everyone else, sometimes I am faced with outrageous tuition to pay or other devastating bills, and I always find my solution by meditating. “How am I going to pay that bill?” I ask myself, in a non-judgmental way. I say yes to it. I love the bill and I’m OK with it. Guess what? Somehow I’ll get the funds to pay. I’m going to make that tuition. I’m going to do this and pay it all. Somehow I will find the funds. I know that I always come up with it. Whatever it is.
Meditation to me is priceless. If I don’t meditate first thing in the morning, I won’t get out of my bed.
If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.
How do we get to that point? You have to say to yourself that meditation is something that is very, very important – not just to you, but for the world. It requires some discipline. It can’t be, “Oh I’ll do that once in awhile.” Just like the muddy water in a puddle needs time to settle before the water become clear, you have to let your practice of meditation take its course to settle your reckless thoughts, consistently, for a long time.
And that’s where my coaching comes in. Because if your mind is full of clutter, if you have so many nagging things from the past, that are haunting you, if you’re not living in the now, in the present moment, how can you find stillness?
Through release techniques, through rebooting your mental “operating system”, you and I will quiet the turbulent waters and let the mud settle down until there is nothing but you – on top of all your problems.