Why I love meditation
I love meditation because it “wakes me up” and allows me to experience life for real.
Before I encountered meditation – and the path of “waking up” – I was trapped in my mind (and I didn’t even realize it at the time). I was experiencing all kinds of uncomfortable things, like anxiety, depression, ADD, etc on pretty much a constant basis.
Then, one day, while walking around in my normal fog of anxiety and ADD, I walked into a “book store” called “Borders.” That’s where people used to buy things to read before the internet put them all out of business.
I’ll be honest… I wasn’t really looking for books. I was looking for hot, smart girls (one of my many cravings/addictions at the time). I spotted a cute brunette standing next to a table with some books on it. I walked over, picked up a book and opened it up to a random page so that I could say “hmm” out loud, and make some interesting comment to get a conversation going. Pretty sneaky huh?
I honestly don’t remember which paragraph it was that I read, but it probably went something like this:
“When you go beyond the thinking mind, you become aware of just Being. You can’t become aware of Being by thinking about it. Your mind can’t understand what it’s like to go beyond the mind. You can only experience it, now.”
I stopped for a moment to try to figure out what he meant. I wanted to “experience it…” being aware of Being, “beyond the mind,” whatever that meant. All of a sudden, a shiver ran up my spine. My mind was quiet. I was aware of just BEING, for the first time since I was a little child.
I looked around the room, and it was like I had never seen the world before. I saw everything so much more CLEARLY… as if in HD. The books, the tables, the people… even the space between the objects. I was able to feel my body, as if for the first time. Everything was quiet… I was able to hear the sounds around me for the first time in as long as I could remember.
It reminded me of what it was like to be a child. There was a joy and a curiosity in just BEING ALIVE… just looking around with curiosity and amazement. ”Wow, look at this place!”
For lack of a better way of saying it, it felt like waking up after having been completely immersed in a dream.
I looked at the room around me, I looked at myself, and I felt like I was a kid in a book-store-playground. Except now I was a grown-up and I could do whatever I wanted!
It felt like I was a child who had fallen asleep, sleepwalked through life for 15 years in the dream of my mind, and now, in a moment, woken up in a bookstore.
The shivers that were running up my spine were making me feel lighter, like a burden had been lifted off my shoulder after years and years of carrying it around. I read another paragraph. It said something about how the mind can feel like a heavy burden if we never learn to put it down, and how when we enter “The Now,” there’s a feeling of lightness and joy… a feeling of childlike happiness that wells up from within and fills one’s entire being. Joie de vivre, the joy of life, that flows in when one is aware of Being in the present moment.
I looked at the front cover of the book. It was called “The Power of Now.” It’s a book that I never would have picked up if not for my sneaky, sneaky tricks. I guess I should thank the girl who was standing at that table, but I’ll never know who she was. In that moment, I looked at the book, I looked at the girl, and I smiled as I sat down to read on. I must have read for an hour and a half before I stood up, went downstairs and bought the book. That book changed my life forever.
After being trapped in my mind for my entire adult life, I felt freed by this book. I could still think just as well, but I didn’t feel the need to be thinking ALL THE TIME. The moments of Just Being were blissful and frequent. I found myself doing things I never imagined I would do, backpacking alone through mountains and jungles, journeying across the face of the Planet.
Only when I found myself in Thailand did I fully realize the power of meditation. It’s the key to waking up from the dream of thought.
When I was a kid, I used to have a lot of nightmares. Sometimes, I would realize that I was dreaming, and I would try to wake myself up. I would lie down on the dream floor, and then JUMP UP. I thought that would wake me up, but it never did. Sometimes I would try to yell (within the dream) to wake myself up. That didn’t work either. You can’t wake yourself up by doing things within the dream. You can only wake yourself up by going beyond the dream and becoming aware of your body, and the room around you, in real life.
Before that moment in the book store, I walked around for over a decade, living in a dream, not even realizing that I was asleep. That moment of “waking up” reminded me of the real world. I became aware of my body, in real life. I became aware of the room around me.
But ultimately, my mind was so used to dreaming that I would continuously fall back asleep. I would go for months before waking up again… living a life of 99.99% sleeping, 0.01% experiencing. Sometimes I would pick up The Power of Now and it would wake me up. Sometimes it wouldn’t, and then I’d get really frustrated, knowing that I was dreaming, but being unable to wake up.
Nowadays, when I notice that I’ve gotten sucked into the dream of mind, all I have to do to wake up is to stop for a moment and meditate. It only takes a few seconds, and it wakes me up… every time.
And that is why I love meditation.