An Introduction to Meditation
I want to begin by acknowledging that we're beginning.
It's good sometimes to take a moment and reflect. Wherever you are in your life, particularly if you're starting something new, it's good to do this. It's good to take a moment and reflect on where you are.
A moment to reflect
This is part of the reason we meditate, so that we can take that moment, so that we can have that moment, and we can reflect upon where we are.
This might seem inconsequential. There can be such a drive in our society, in our culture, and within ourselves to constantly push towards something new, towards getting somewhere.
Sometimes it's nice to take that moment, whether it's having a few beers with friends, or having a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, or just like when you're sitting in your car waiting for the light to turn green so that you can then drive forward again, it's nice to take that moment to reflect.
It's nice to take that moment and to reflect, "This is where I am right now."
So I want to do this right here at the beginning of these blog posts.
I want to take a moment and reflect on where we are, all of us.
All of us, we are together right now, because you're not alone on this journey.
Even if you are sitting by yourself, you are not alone.
By learning about meditation and mindfulness, by deciding to explore meditation and mindfulness, by building meditation and mindfulness into your life, you have joined a community of others that spans this entire globe and spans time and continents.
You have joined a community of people around the globe who meditate and practice mindfulness. Throughout time, this is something humans have done. We have taken this moment to pause and reflect.
I get a bit emotional about this, and that's part of what we'll learn on this path. We learn to balance the mind with the heart; thinking with feeling; doing with being; controlling with allowing. So we open more fully to the heart, and what we realize is that there's an entire body of knowledge, there's wisdom, and there's intuition that we can access, which the conscious intellectual mind might not always understand, but that when we access that realm of intuition in the heart, it can help us in our existence. If for nothing else to bring us joy. Or if for nothing else, to allow us to grieve when we need to grieve.
So we take this moment to pause and reflect upon where we are.
And right now, we are all stepping into a community of individuals. So even if you're by yourself, you are with others right now in this community of individuals who meditate and practice mindfulness.
This has been in many different wisdom traditions and spiritual practices. This is also spoken about in our mythology. If we take this moment to reflect, these moments of stillness and silence can bring value to our life.
In doing this, you are joining a community. Even if you are by yourself, you are now part of a community that has done this throughout time and is doing this right now around all of the continents. Right now, people are meditating. Right now, people are practicing mindfulness. Right now, people are taking this moment of stillness and silence to reflect upon where they are.
We are joining this community.
You have now joined this community.
And the first thing I want to do here at the beginning is to reflect on the step we're taking. Because you are stepping onto a path, and this is an amazing and ancient path. It is the best path that there is. It's not always an easy path, but it is better than the alternative.
This is the path of conscious self-awareness. This is the path of personal growth. This is the path of transformation. This path allows us to progress, evolve, become more skillful, live more skillfully, and build a better life in all areas of our lives.
To become happier, become more effective, have better relationships, do better at work, make more money, and be more on point, this is what we gain from meditation and mindfulness. To see the areas in which we're falling short, to shore them up, to fix them, and to get better, this is what we get from meditation and mindfulness.
We acknowledge the areas in which we're doing great, and we also will see our shortcomings on this path. So it's very much a path of self-awareness.
I want to acknowledge that you are stepping onto this path.
We are stepping onto it together.
And I want to commend you for this because this is the noblest of all endeavors. No endeavor is nobler. If there's any purpose for which you have been born, it is this: all of nature is continuously optimizing, improving, evolving, changing, growing, transforming, getting better, and so too this is your purpose. You are part of nature. This is what you were put here to do. This is what this practice will do for you. It is going to help you improve and become more skillful.
So you're stepping on to this path, and I commend you for it.
There are many reasons people come to this path: intellectual reasons, reasons of the heart. We'll talk about those in a future post, and we'll also talk about why we meditate. We'll talk about those things in future posts, but in this post, I want to take this moment to welcome you and to acknowledge where we are. I want to take this moment to reflect on where we are and to commend you for taking this first step on the path. Because this is the noblest of all endeavors, improving yourself. The purpose for which you have been put here is to evolve your consciousness.
Like, who knows what happens after we die? But if we do go on, and I've seen enough, I've witnessed enough, I've heard enough, and I've experienced enough to say that this is an odds on bet that consciousness does go on, so you can do with that what you will. You can form your perspective, opinion, and guess about that, but that's my bet, that it's an odds-on bet that when we die, we go on. And so, when we drop our physical body, the only thing we will take with us is our consciousness, our spirit.
What you're doing here will allow you to develop your consciousness, awareness, and mind.
It will allow you to develop and become more skillful so that you're not suffering as much, so you're not stepping into potholes on the road of life as much, but are navigating around them and living more skillfully. So that's what this is all about. This is what meditation and mindfulness, and life, are all about. As you transform your consciousness, it'll benefit you in this life, and if there is anything after this life, it will help you there too.
If anything within us goes on, it's our consciousness, and we'll be taking that with us.
This is a remarkable path, and I came to it, we'll talk about why I came to it in future posts, but I came to it because I needed it. And I've been blessed for it. It has been a blessing in my life, and everything that I have in my life, everything wonderful that is in my life, I attribute it to becoming more skillful.
Because I've been able to do things more effectively: better relationships, better finances, better emotional intelligence, more happiness, I've become more skillful.
So this is what this path enables, and I commend you for stepping onto it.
Like, great job. Great job! Congratulations. You found it.
And I'm creating these blog posts because, after decades on this path, I started in my teen years, you can even argue that I started when I was, I don't know, in my single-digit years, because I survived a traumatic event when I was a kid, and it threw me for a loop. It left me with many challenges: PTSD, depression, anxiety.
So I started on this path because of this suffering. I've been on this path for many decades. This path has transformed my life. And I'm creating these blog posts because I know the power of this practice. I know the power of this path. I know the power of meditation and mindfulness. I know the power of personal growth and transformation. I know that consciousness and one's very own life can be revolutionized and transformed. I know this because this is what has happened in my life.
I'm also creating this material because there's a lot of hogwash out there on meditation and mindfulness. There's also a lack of clarity.
I'm a professor by trade. I've taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at colleges and universities. So this is what I do. I know how to synthesize a body of knowledge, break it into steps, and convey it to people.
So that's what we're doing here.
And that's why I'm creating all of this material.
Because this is the material I wish had existed when I was young
And I hope it's helpful to other people, including you.