Meditation helps us to live in the present rather than being stuck in the past or anxious about the future. It helps bring clarity and compassion to our relationships and to the events of our lives. It is a simple but powerful means of achieving serenity. Most people have heard of meditation, but there are many misconceptions.
Q:What is meditation?
A: It is a simple technique, or practice, for calming the body and mind by staying in the present. It is not magic. You just do it. It is done in silence and involves focusing and quieting the mind. One of the oldest, simplest and best practices is following your breath.
Q: Can anyone do it?
A: Yes, but it is a practice. That is, with practice and with time, it deepens.
Q: Do I have to believe in anything in particular to make it work?
A: No. Meditation is a tool, not a belief system. People of all faiths and of no faith can and do practice meditation.
Q: How do I know if it’s working?
A: The effects of meditation are subtle and show up over time. It is not a quick fix. You will be calmer, more alert, more open, less reactive and angry, more at peace. You will know it is working when someone tells you how you seem to have changed.
What will I get out of it?
A: You will discover what is already potentially there- a calm center rooted in the present- enabling you to respond to the world appropriately rather than reacting inappropriately. A clearer mind allows helpful choices to emerge. And a calmer self allows you to risk opening yourself to others.
Q: Is there a right way to meditate?
A: Keep it simple. Begin with 10 or 15 minutes. After a month or two of practice, add another 5 minutes. Continue adding 5 minutes each month until you are up to 30 or 40 minutes. If you make it too long too soon, you may get discouraged and find reasons not to do it. There are many traditions, ancient and modern all aimed at focusing and quieting the mind. The technique is less important than the actual doing itself. Whatever method you use, such as silently following your breath, be patient, and let it happen. Do not complicate it with expectations or artificial goals. It is not a task or a job. It is a precious opportunity to discover yourself and in that process of discovery, open up to the being we all share in common.
Thank you to the Zen Center of Syracuse for sharing this information. For more information contact:
Zen Center of Syracuse, 266 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY 13207 (315) 492-9773