Do I Have To Meditate?

Someone read my recent post called Plugging In and was somewhat turned off, because she had certain ideas around what she thought of as “meditation.” What popped in her head was super formal meditation with spine straight as a board and possible back pain. She reread the post, though, and realized it wasn’t really about that. I’m glad she honored her intuition and reread it! And can you see how we’re always wearing these sunglasses of perception? So when we reread something, the “me” that reads it the second time is different than the “me” that read it the first time. So we might have a different experience, as she did. I wanted to write a brief post, though, to make sure we are clear: you don’t have to meditate or sit straight or do anything you don’t want to do! You are the rule maker, cops, judge, and jury. It’s just that most people believe otherwise, so we tend to have a whole laundry list of “shoulds” that we think we have to do. The spiritual world is full of that, and part of my job is to debunk it. Having said all of that, though, meditation can be very, very helpful to most of us, at least for some period of time.

The idea of the post that I wrote was that it might help at first to set the timer and sit some with eyes closed. I could care less about your spine being totally straight, though. And I know that many paths are way into that; I’m not, but whatever floats your boat is 100% fine! Some people get so bogged down in “doing it right,” though, that they miss the point. And so they miss the peace… And I know because I was that guy, big time! Wow… Fortunately, I finally listened to my intuition and was able to ditch that practice and laugh at myself. Maybe I’ll tell those stories sometime, because it really was pretty funny. The practice I was doing at the time, which ended about ten years ago, was about as detailed and complex as it gets. And don’t get me wrong, it was very powerful! But my left-brained, math major, perfectionistic Virgo self had a field day. And that’s putting it mildly… And despite having cool energetic experiences, true peace eluded me. So I moved on.

What we’re going for here is WAY more chill. As I think I heard Syd Banks say, we’re really more interested in the state of meditation than the act of meditation. But spending some time in the act of meditation can clear out some layers so that we can more readily access the state of meditation. That’s exactly what my client in that post has been experiencing, and the same holds true for myself as well. I did a ton of meditating back in the day, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done it in the ensuing years. Most of my sessions with clients end with a brief guided meditation, though, so that we can feel those deeper feelings of peace and thus have an experience rather than just talking about it. Big difference. So I’m doing that a good bit.

The act of meditation is great, and I’ve done a lot of it, but we don’t want it to be a crutch. It can definitely help us to quiet the mind and access those deeper feelings of peace, though. But after a while, let’s try to practice dropping into that state anytime, anyplace. I always talk about remembering that you’re infinite and innocent – and feeling it – while you’re shopping at the grocery store! It’s pretty cool. And while you’re living in the state of meditation more and more, you can still spend some time in the act of meditation as much – or as little – as you want.

So feel out what works for you, and be honest with what your heart tells you. If you feel like a more “formal” practice would be beneficial, then do it. And if you don’t, then don’t. It’s probably beneficial for most of us, though, at least for some amount of time, especially if all this is new. But try to drop into those deeper feelings regardless. After all, that’s what we’re really after. If meditation can help you get there more quickly, and it probably can, then it’s worth its weight in gold. And you might take a break for a while, and then you might return again, dropping even more deeply into those spacious feelings. And remember that you are innocent regardless! When we drop the “shoulds,” we get in touch with that innocence a whole lot more. And that feels really, really good.