It’s Really Not That Hard!
Most people raise their eyebrows in admiration when I tell them that each morning I meditate for 1½ hours. I have heard on many occasions the remark: “I could never meditate, I could never sit still.”
I can understand the sentiment. I wonder if I would be open to meditation at 60 as I was at 16. People naturally have opinions on activities that they have never tried.
Also, meditation as practiced at the end of yoga class is, in my opinion, very poor instruction. The mind is a subtle tool, and meditation, although easy to do, needs the proper instruction.
Did I say, “Easy to do”? Most people who strongly believe that they couldn’t sit for 20 minutes haven’t learned how to meditate properly.
Would you say that sitting through a good movie is difficult to do? Or reading a good book?
The mind is charmed by the experience and, in fact, time passes quickly. The two-hour movie doesn’t seem to drag as a two-hour wait at the train station would. You look at your watch while engrossed in a book and see that 20 minutes has quickly passed.
Is it difficult to fall asleep? Under proper conditions, with darkness around you, a comfortable bed and pillow and relative silence, you’ll probably fall asleep. Would you raise your eyebrows impressed on hearing that someone fell asleep last night? No, because sleep is natural.
In our society, the deep state of consciousness brought about through correct and, yes, effortless meditation is usually considered a difficult thing to achieve, realized by monks in monasteries, perhaps, through many years of practice. This is a prejudice which has sadly resulted in a lot of people never considering meditation as a tool of self-improvement and personal evolution.
Can achieving a deep state of consciousness really be as easy as falling asleep? In theory, yes, but because one is alert, although in a deep state of rest (scientific research shows oxygen consumption falls 16% during meditation as opposed to 8% during sleep) it’s possible that straining and effort can creep into the practice. This is due to a lifelong habit of straining to accomplish something that we desire as well as the natural release of stress which occurs during meditation.
Hence the need for proper instruction.
I think that if more people were to know what could easily be tapped every single day with meditation practice, and to know that it could be achieved easily, there would be a lot more people doing it.