You wander from room to room
hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck
Meditation has always been one of those things for me that ‘works’ for a while, and then it doesn’t. What I just realized this morning- as I sat by the pool reading Arianna Huffington’s ‘Thrive’, is that I have actually been meditating all this time- without truly knowing. The thing about meditation, is that it has become such a thing in this world- along with all other alternative healing modalities, that just like most things, we’ve over-complicated it. Meditation is simple. It doesn’t have to be this big thing where you have an area in your room (your meditation shrine), a particular time of day and a particular practice. It doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. Meditation is you. You are meditation.
For me, I have come to realize that meditation is about bringing you closer to your source, you. It relates very much to the idea that your mind can be one of two things: your closest ally or your worst enemy. Meditation is about making that conscious choice.
All day long, we seem to be in this rat race- with our own minds. Scrolling through our daily to-do lists while also worrying about what people think, how people feel, what you missed out on and what you need. These are all thoughts that are being created in our minds that are bringing us further away from our source. The thing about meditation is the easiest way to meditate is to bring yourself to your breath. Why? All through this mind-driven rat race, there is always breath. By bringing your attention to your breath- even if it’s for one single second, you can be free. This is when you start working with your mind and using your powerful mind in a loving way, to bring you to your peace. That’s when you can start to listen to this magical voice called, your intuition.
I was sitting by the pool- contemplating all of this (in my mind, of course), when I got to thinking about work, companies, holidays and vacations. Imagine a world where there was no need for vacation days/sick days- and we were all truly doing what we loved, in love, in each moment. It seems pretty impossible, of course, to most of us. Your mind immediately goes to: bills, finance, stress, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. The thing is, for so long now we’ve been conditioned to believe that our lives are not to be enjoyed in every moment. That’s what weekends and holidays are for. The week is about working hard, being under stress and making money. Being the best version of you, being the best of the best. When you really think about- outside of the cyclical rat race, you can start to realize how silly this truly is. Our society has completely been created around this idea that we need to be under stress in order to live a successful life. I’m starting to think that it’s actually the complete opposite.
In fact, a lot of businesses have already begun to realize this. Stress & illness do not a-successful-company make. Quite the contrary. For example, Whole Foods, one of the largest growing food businesses (and businesses in general) has created a business model that really does take employee-health and happiness into hand. For instance, along with an acceptable percentage discount off of all products, Whole Foods offers employees the option of gaining an extra 5% off if they can prove (with particular health tests, aka blood, cholesterol, weight, BMI) that they are healthy. It sounds quite absurd: be healthy and earn more discount- however, at the end of the day, healthy employees creates a more affluent business. This trend is catching on- as more companies have created systems such as ‘work-at-home’ day, 4 day work-weeks & team-build events. There are lots of ways to do it but at the end of the day, it’s simple- happiness=health and vice versa.
So why can’t we achieve the sense of peace and freedom that we do when we are on holiday- in our everyday lives. I suppose it depends on the way that you look at it. A lot of holidays are spent doing things that help to drown out the stress or just to completely forget about it (aka drinking countless margaritas at the beach, recreational drugs, turning off all devices). Instead of choosing to participate in things that make you forget about these stressors in our lives that are competing with our happiness- why not implement activities that are supportive of happiness.
I was thinking about sun-tanning, as I was sitting in the sun and it brought something to my attention. A lot of people LOVE to sun-tan, and will spend their entire holiday laying there in the hot sun. Now, this may not apply to every single person that sun-tans, but I feel like a lot of sun-tanning could also be regarded as meditation. Especially if it is done without music and other distractions (reading, drinking). With this in mind- it’s like, all of a sudden, after months of stress, life and work- an individual will just completely bliss out in the sun, in meditation.
Then there are the people that really detest sun-tanning. I’m not talking about people that are all about skin-protection. I’m talking about those who really need to be doing something. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to them as the monkey-minds. The minds that are much more difficult to quiet. They are the leaders of the rat-race. What if, instead of doing things that distract from the non-stop mind- there was another way. It’s not going to completely shut off the mind for hours (at least not at first) or feel like completely ecstasy (at least not at first)- however, it will help to decrease your stress and also offer you tools to implement to your daily life (not JUST while you are on holiday in Hakuna Matata mode).
So in those moments where you are seriously stressed out, bombarded with deadlines and starting to feel a bit like a failure- bring your attention to something that is always there, your breath. You can know that when everything in your mind fails and goes up in flames, your breath will be there. Even if it’s for a moment.
I definitely do not have all of the answers. I am no professional meditator or preacher of the meditation practice. I do know, though, that I have been consciously working towards quieting my mind and connecting more with my intuition over the past 1-2 years. It’s not always easy and I still have moments of complete and utter mind-made chaos. However, those moments when I do have my intuition, I have the stillness of mind and I consciously have my breath- it is all peace.