Meditation: The Art of Being

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Meditation: The Art of Being

In my previous blog, I explained the importance of recovery and just BEING instead of constantly DOING. But that’s easier said than done for most of you. Besides that, being isn’t just a physical process; it’s a mental one as well.

Simply put, your brain is like a muscle. If you’re constantly fretting and feel like your thoughts are just running rampant, it’s because your brain is in DO-mode. At that point, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing physically – the overload in your head is causing strain and stress. But considering your mind works a lot like a muscle, it can be trained. 

So, how do you get your thoughts under control and find focus and concentration? The first step is to become aware of your physical sensations. Let’s start with a small exercise: take a deep breath in through your nose. What do you physically feel when you inhale? Focus on the details of the air coming through your nostrils. Is it warm or cold? Is it damp or dry? Does it have a smell? Which physical sensation does it trigger? A prickly or tickling sensation? And does it result in any kind of aversion or craving?

That’s the first step to mind training; becoming aware of your physical sensations and concentrating on that one tiny thing, like your breath. Did you try it? Well done! Was it difficult? Did your mind drift like a monkey after only a few seconds? Don’t worry, that’s pretty normal. It took me 30 hours (!!!) of practice to get to a point where I had my mind under control, at least a little bit. Or, as I like to see it; I tamed the wild horse in my mind to the point that I could actually ride it for five minutes.

Your next step is to observe the sensations throughout your entire body. During the Vipassana retreats I attend, we are asked to sit still for an entire hour several times per day. It sounds simple, right? Well, after 20 minutes some discomfort kicked in. Half an hour in, my knees, hips, and back started to hurt quite a bit. All the while, I had two voices going on in my head; one screaming “Ow! Ow! This hurts!”, the other telling me to suck it up, because “Nobody ever broke a leg or tore a muscle from sitting still.”. Around 50 minutes in, by letting the discomfort be and surrendering into it, something miraculous happened. Because I not only intellectually realized the discomfort I felt was temporary. I actually surrendered to it on a physical level. I stopped ‘fighting’ the pain, trying to ‘cope’ with it or make it go away. I looked it straight in the eye… and let it be…I decided to just give in to it because it would be over soon anyway. And that exact moment, the pain disappeared. The release was immense – my entire body felt like it was filled with Perrier bubbles. My mind was completely clear… It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. And I suddenly understood what Bhuddha meant when he said ‘This too shall pass.’ And what John Lennon meant singing ‘Let it BE’… and I ended up sitting there for another 2 hours.

And that’s the lesson for today. It doesn’t matter what’s bothering you, and whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual or mental. Take a step back to become aware of what your aversion is and what you believe would make the suffering disappear. Acknowledge it, embrace it and then do not fight or resist it. Don’t focus on finding the solution either. It’s not yours to figure out. You’re only goal in this life is to experience it. So create space for the problem. Good things come to those who are able to surrender. Remember that everything passes and that when you let it be, there will be an answer.

Let it BE!

Valerie Ketjen

Valerie Ketjen

Passionate about strategic vitality and retention, Miss Vitality helps individuals & organizations boost physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness by sharing knowledge, experience and insights through digital and personal training and coaching. We contribute to a healthy planet carrying happy people.

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