What do you associate with meditation? For years, meditation to me was connected to a lot of things that seemed both uncomfortable and quite frankly a bit weird. Meditating to me had to do with being silent for endless stretches of time while bending your legs in lotus position until they painfully fall asleep (and during all that time desperately trying to look serene). Meditation definitely wasn’t for people like me, I thought. You know, people that are too busy with important things in life to prioritize sitting still and doing nothing on a regular basis.
Today I meditate regularly by finding a spot to sit and simply observe whatever is going on inside me. But meditation for me can also include the following:
Breathing heavily and irregularly through my nose
Screaming out loud until my voice cracks
Jumping with my arms held up over my head until sweat is running down my whole body
Dancing like no one’s watching
No, I haven’t gone crazy. I have just been introduced to a different way of looking at and practising meditation. Let me explain:
In the 20th century there was an indian mystic called Osho. He realized that we western people are very occupied with, and driven by, our mind. He therefore designed some pretty special meditations for us to go beyond our mind. One of these meditations is called Dynamic meditation and it involves, besides stillness, also all of the above.
Does this sound terrible, terrifying and a bit crazy to you? I can tell you that in the beginning I thought it was pretty terrible, terrifying and crazy. That’s actually an understatement. The truth is that I really hated Dynamic meditation with every fibre of my being. But part of my training in personal development involved starting every day with this meditation so there was no way around it. The terrible part for me consisted mostly of my body and minds’ strong reactions to the screaming, heavy breathing and jumping. The terrifying part for me was all about shame to completely and utterly Go Mad in front of other people. I however quickly learned that there is no better way to expose Lennart and all his ways and to feel how much wisdom resides in my body than to do Dynamic meditation.
Meditation is all about awareness. Awareness of what’s going on inside you and around you. Nowadays I have broadened my definition of meditation to include not only sitting still or doing an active meditation but also for example walking on the beach or doing my laundry. Meditation to me is being in the present moment and fully accepting it without trying to change anything. In other words: to stop doing and start being. I can be in many different ways; by saying nothing or repeating a mantra, with music or in total silence, guided by someone else or being with myself, standing, walking, sitting or lying down. Through meditation I have learned that I don’t have to actively look for something in my life, for example peace of mind, happiness or love, because everything that I am looking for is already inside me.
As Osho says:
If a fish in the water were to ask my advice in its search for the ocean, what would I say to it? I would say, Stop searching. Just see: you are already in the ocean. Everybody is in the ocean. The task is not to find the ocean – it is to start drinking it.
Today I see meditation as an important and vital part of my life. Sometimes I find it hard to explain in a few words exactly why. Luckily, I can hereby use the words of Jack Kornfield who describes the effect of meditation and awareness so beautifully in his book After the Ecstacy, the Laundry:
If my life was a crowded garage where I kept bumping into furniture and judging myself, now it’s like I’ve moved into an airplane hangar with the doors left open. I’ve got the old stuff there, yet it doesn’t limit me like before. I’m the same, yet now I’m free to move about, even to fly.
If you are interested in meditation and the science of it, you can read this Washington Post article: Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain
Photo: John Baker – unsplash.com