Learning the art of meditation has probably been one of the most challenging skills that I have strived for. For some people it comes with ease, but it was not like that for me for many years. As soon as I sat down with the intention to meditate, I would be bombarded with thoughts – some of them would seem so urgent that I would stop and attend to them. Sometimes I would get ideas and the fear of forgetting them would make me stop and note them down. The quimeter I wanted the world to be the louder all the sounds around me seemed to be. It seemed to me that there was a conspiracy against my learning how to meditate.
Along the way I studied hypnosis, and I discovered the delicious space that I could enter when listening to the soothing voice on the hypnotic tapes I had acquired. I found that the Silva method tapes with the white noise in the background took me into an especially quiet place. Humm … I thought, this is what they mean by quieting the mind through meditation. I could not understand why people looked at hypnosis with a sort of distrust while they were quite happy with the process of meditation.
Moving along I came across guided meditations. These were hypnosis sessions that combined visualization in the process. I did not like these much – I would be bored going to the same place every time, and when it was structured so that you were asked to visualize certain objects and places – it did not make sense to me as I was not particularly fond of the same.
Then I discovered Dr. Wayne Dyer's sound meditation CD. I liked it. Focusing on the sound made it easier for me to enter clear space. By this time I had already discovered Abraham Hicks, so some of the affirmations in Dr. Dyer's program did not make sense to me, and they would irritate me – so I had to stop.
Throughout the same time, he came out with another meditation program based on the Lord's prayer. Well, that did not work very well for me. First of all having been born a Muslim, the Lord's prayer had no emotional connotation for me, and secondly with Abraham's teachings ringing in my ears, there were aspects of it that I questioned. Neverheless, I thought that sound meditation was wonderful and I still enjoy it.
Next, I tried Eckert Tolle's meditation music CD. I liked it very much – at times. It really had to do with my mood. The CD I had was a collection of music mostly from the Far East, and each piece was only a few minutes in duration. So by the time I got settled into a quarterer frame of mind the music piece would be over – not very satisfying.
Fortunately at about that time Deepak Chopra visited Toronto and held a three day mediation event – I was in! It was at this event that I discovered something that made a difference to my meditation practice: mediation was about quieting the mind – it was not about stopping all thought. This was a wonderful discovery for me. I think that this event played a large role in my progress. First of all, the process of meditating with a group, all of what have the same basic intention creates a powerful energy in the room that is instrumental to a defect meditation experience. Second, sharing experiences with others made me feel that I was doing just fine. There was nothing wrong with my mediation practice – the peace I wanted to achieve would unfold naturally with time.
Then as I listened to Abraham's tapes about meditation, I learned that mediation was about focused thought. Quieting the mind mean focusing on something unimportant to the exclusion of all else. I learn that the easiest thing to focus on is our breath. With a couple of years of irregular practice, I have now come to a stage where I truly enjoy the process of deliberate breathing. Deep breathing has become a trigger (or anchor in NLP terms), that soon as I start will immediately calm me both physically and mentally. I can now enter that quiet calm space with ease and enjoy the deliciousness of it, with the comfort of knowing that I can go back whenever I want to.
I have come to the conclusion that all prayer based rituals in the religions of the world are geared towards a practice of meditation. The younger the age at which you start the ritual the stronger it is anchored in your psyche as a trigger for relaxation and a renewal of faith in the power of the universe. Really, I did not need to learn how to meditate if I had taught what prayer really was and practiced it the way I believe it was always meant to be practiced.