My foray into mindful meditation

When I was young, I was skeptical about meditation process and its benefits. Growing up in India, I was surrounded by images of sadhus sitting cross-legged with closed eyes while doing samadhi. When I tried to imitate them, I would be left with my soup of thoughts while staring at the random light patterns that are formed on the inside of eyelids. I would try harder to push all my thoughts away and I would fail again. Unsurprisingly, I thought it as a pointless exercise.

Recently, I re-started doing mediation as a means to reduce stress and anxiety. I started following HeadSpace app for learning how to meditate. If you are interested in learning about mindful meditation, check the video out:

I learnt that it’s okay to have thoughts while meditating. The important thing is to be a passive observer to your thoughts and not get dragged into them. It’s like seeing the traffic move on roads from the passive bystander’s point of view. This specific lesson helped me a lot. As a result, I started doing meditation in my mornings as much as possible.

With consistent practice over time, I started getting more aware about my mental state. I could notice when I was sad and happy, and more importantly, what specific events brought me those feelings. Instead of being pushed mindlessly around by the life forces, I started noticing these life forces more carefully. Obviously, I would still be affected by them but I was more aware of their affect.

However, this awakening was a double edged sword. I was able to savor my happiness more but it also brought me closer to my anxiety. During the uncertain times, I wished I could dial down the awareness so that I would feel less miserable. With time, I have learnt how to handle the awareness better but it’s still a learning process. For such times, the technique that helped me was to wait patiently for it to pass.

Last week, I was listening to Sam Harris’s podcast Making Sense and heard him talk about the benefits of meditation. Inspired by his podcast, I have started using his Waking Up app. Since my learning has saturated in HeadSpace app, I am hoping that changing my meditation app would boost my learning.

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