Meditation is a state of no-mind, when all thoughts disappear. But how do you actually do this? The truth is that you cannot directly achieve it, you can at most make it happen. From one point of view, meditation is the lack of mental activity. So, if you try to do meditation, it will never work, because it will be just another kind of activity.

So, whenever you sit down into a lotus posture, and light up an incense stick, don’t think that you are meditating! It is not something you do, but a state of consciousness. You can sit in a meditation posture looking peaceful, but a whole traffic jam can be inside your head. And don’t think that you need to sit down at all! You can use any situation, because again, it is not an activity, but an attitude.

You can practice so-called active meditations without being active in your mind. You can do walking, running, or swimming meditatively. You can do everyday mundane tasks while being in meditation, like writing, working or even something as simple as drinking tea. If you don’t bring this meditative attitude into your ordinary life, then you are very likely to use meditation as an escape from it.

Perhaps it is better for you to start with an active meditation instead of sitting in one place. Do some movement, but while you are doing it, be aware that you are the one doing it. Do it totally, until the point you become totally exhausted, and then suddenly stop. In the beginning, this way it will be easier to find the gaps you are looking for. Then you can go on to practice meditation sitting down.

You are often given the faulty advice to calm your mind, or to stop your thoughts. Let me tell you that this is impossible. The very nature of the mind is to be tense and to flow from one thought to another. However, it is indeed possible for you to be calm, and for the thoughts to stop. But this can only happen with the total cessation of the mind and the thinking process.

The trick of calming the mind is to be detached from it. The trick of stopping your thoughts is to let them go. The trick of meditation is to become completely still while everything else is in disturbance. You can imagine the stream of thoughts like a river, and yourself as a victim flowing along with it helplessly. You almost drown, your nose is just above the surface, getting just enough air to survive.

To change this unfortunate situation, the only thing you can do is to anchor yourself to the ground, to anchor your awareness to the present moment. You have to become centered by remembering yourself, by being aware of yourself, by detaching yourself from the river. You have to become as solid as a rock, and let the river flow around you effortlessly.

In the beginning, it will be very hard. You will have to remind yourself over and over again to come back to your center, because you tend to go along with the flow of thoughts. Whenever a thought comes up, notice that it is just a thought, and not the current reality. If you forget, just gently bring back your attention to yourself without beating yourself up or feeling guilt.

Not only accept, but even expect that your thoughts will wander away, and don’t panic. Just notice it, and accept it as part of the process. You can’t expect success without many failures. By and by the river of thoughts will dry up, everything will become still, and your presence will become rock solid.

For this week, I will give you just one thing to practice: meditation. It is so important that you should meditate not only for a week, but at least for an entire month. Find a quiet place where you can be alone, and find a meditation posture that is comfortable enough, but not so much that you fall asleep. Your spine should be erect, and your shoulders relaxed.

Find a time when you are usually not sleepy, but at the top of your mental capacity. Take some deep breaths to relax, and get into a meditative state. Keep your body still, and don’t move even if there is an urge. Notice this urge as just another sensation in your awareness, but don’t act upon it. Just keep watching your thoughts, and remember that you are watching your thoughts. Do this for at least 20 minutes everyday without exceptions.

However, don’t forget about meditation even after this short practice session. Remember that it is a state of consciousness rather than something you do. Try to keep this attitude all the time, be mindful of your body, emotions and thoughts all through the day. The goal is to infuse your whole life with the miracle of awareness.

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Memento Mori!

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