This article is presented for publication by Michelle A. Glaubiger, M.A. Ms. Glaubiger studied Psychology and Holistic Health at San Francisco State University, and received an M.A. in Depth Psychology from Sonoma State University in 2003. Since that time, Ms. Glaubiger has been teaching, writing and counseling in the arenas of Transpersonal and Depth Psychology, as well as teaching yoga and meditation to students of all ages. She’s Mom to two daughters, ages 21 and 24, and makes her home with her husband of 32 years in Santa Rosa, California
Meditation: Finding Your Center Whilst the World Whirls
Meditation – say the word and watch the eyes: some light up (they love it!), some get squinty (they think you’re crazy!), and some get rolled (they just think you’re stupid!). Of course, eye rolling is de rigueur in the adolescent realm, but also in the adolescent realm are the beginning stages of anxiety and depression and the onset of many other mental health maladies. Coming of age in today’s world is a daunting task given the varying levels of societal and environmental degradation and the overwhelming rise of an electronic world that pulls our attention away from our very own sense of self. What is a young adult to do? Well, in my humble opinion, and that of many esteemed teachers, MEDITATION is the antidote.
I came to mediation myself in college. I studied Psychology at San Francisco State in the late 80s and early 90s. While there, I happened upon a Holistic Health class on Eastern Perspectives of Psychology, where we were taught the basics of meditation, and began and tracked our meditation practice in class, and at home. I was hooked, for many reasons, but mostly for the calm that can pervade when you practice. Since those days, and while I married, raised daughters, started a business, got an advanced degree, and lived my life, I have always come back to my meditation practice. It has kept me grounded and has helped me stay true to myself. I have given the prescription for its practice to every client, and I have taught my daughters and all their friends the whys and hows of meditation. Below, I unpack some of the beliefs I have gained over the course of a 25-year meditation practice.
Meditation isn’t what you think
Meditation is a state of being that comes about when you sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing, a mantra or focus on an object. Meditation is not about what you are thinking or whether you are able to stop thinking; meditation is a practice where you regularly sit within yourself in silence and engage with the time that is in front of you. My oldest, the 24 year old, says that "the actual practice itself is stilling the mind so you can just be in the present moment and learn more about yourself."
Everyone can practice meditation
Meditation is a skill. Developing a meditation practice can be in the skill-wheelhouse of every human being with a working brain. The only thing that gets in the way of building a meditation practice is inattention. If you attend to, and focus on, spending time each day practicing, your skills will get sharper and more finely tuned.
Daily practice will give the best results
Every day you are with yourself. Every day there are 24 hours. Every day you can find a few minutes to seek your peace of mind. Peace of mind is a pervasive feeling attained from a daily meditation practice.
Inspiration and calm WILL find their way to you
Every minute you give to your meditation practice will pay you threefold in matters of mindfulness, attention and an openness to the simple beauties found in the world. A sense of equanimity in relationships and daily tasks can be found in a meditator’s world.
Thoughts are not you
Human beings are thinking creatures; and we have built great cultures due to the human ability to think and reason. However, the human ability to think and reason is not what makes up the deepest essence of who we are as a person alive at this moment. Our deepest essence can be found in our ability to realize the interconnectedness of all beings to each other; this we recognize when we practice meditation.
Attitude about your practice is everything
You must think of your meditation practice in the same way that you think of other hygiene habits for your body. You would never even think of not brushing your teeth, or your hair, or not showering regularly. This is the same attitude that needs to be paid to your meditation practice. The more you keep practicing, the stronger your sense of Self will be.
Time is an elastic construct
Each hour of time spent meditating helps your productivity in such a way that it is impossible to look at spending time sitting for your practice as a time-waster. You are actually investing in your time; you are banking moments of mindfulness and calm that will allow you to be more focused and more productive for longer periods of time.
Information is not always necessary
As thinking humans, we believe that information is everything. We have created entire computer programs and social media platforms just so we can share information with each other. These programs and platforms can leave us feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. Spending time in the quietude of our own beingness allows us to reset from the electronic onslaught of the computer world that is all encompassing in today’s culture.
Only you can do you
You are the only one who can make a commitment to practice meditation now, today and for a lifetime. Meditation is a lot like physical exercise. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the more you crave it. Regular exercise is a prescription for continuing lifelong good health; and regular meditation is a prescription for continuing lifelong peace of mind.
Now is the only real time you have
We spend a lot of worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past, maybe kicking ourselves for things we did or did not do on any given day, However, you are only actually here living in THIS present moment right now. Being present in the moment, spending time attending to your own beingness, is the only time you are truly alive and engaging with the world. Being present to your own life is the most important gift you can give yourself and the world.
Though the essence of meditation takes us away from the electronic world – meditation is an age-old practice which spans centuries and continents, obviously existing even before the advent of electricity – there are several apps and meditation timers that can be accessed through I-phones and/or computers. These applications can help you establish a practice and also become educated in various meditation traditions. Those applications include Calm, Insight Timer, Happify, UCLA Mindfulness Clinic, etc., etc.
In summation, I can tell you from my own experience that having a regular meditation practice will enhance and strengthen your life. I just recently came through a very challenging period, where, in the span of one month, I broke my leg (which required major surgery), and my mom and dad (who had been divorced for 45 years) both died unexpectedly, three weeks apart. As the oldest of their children, many responsibilities suddenly fell my way, but the one thing I knew I could rely upon each and every strange day was one or two quiet moments of peace and calm, within my own mind and in my own sense of self, to rest and find my way back to my center. Finding your way to your center is one of meditation’s clearest benefits.