I understand. It’s embarrassing, but it took me over ten years to be able to meditate. Now you might say I’m a slow learner or if your kind, you might say I’m persistent. But now I can bliss out in meditation, and I hope I can short cut the experience for you.
My first try at meditation came out of a book called Focus when I was 17. In the first exercise, we had to look at a clock with a second hand and see how long it was before we had a thought. Well, I lasted 2 seconds.
A few years later, a friend told me about his experience in a silent meditation retreat in India. They did both sitting and walking meditations. I liked the sound of the walking meditation; it sounded so much easier than just sitting. So I signed up for a ten day silent meditation retreat in Australia. I was expecting the sitting meditation to be hell, but I thought I could do it between the walking meditations.
They say the best laid plans of mice and men etc You can imagine my horror when I got here and found out there weren’t any walking meditations – just sitting meditation for 12 hours a day. Yep! 12 hours. I was fresh out of uni with a science degree, so my mind was used to being active and critical. But hey, this Buddhist enlightenment deal sounded pretty good. So I was game to give it a try.
The first thing we had to do was focus on our upper lip, yes, for 12 hours. Of course, we did have meal breaks and other short breaks. I can remember my arrogant mind muttering, how ridiculous, how is focusing on my lip going to bring me to an enlightened state. And on and on it went.
About day four, we started having 2-hour sessions of what I referred to as pure bloody-mindedness. Once we sat down, we weren’t allowed to move for 2 hours. I was not having a good time. But I had expected that it would be challenging for the first few days, but I was hoping that it would get easier. It never did. I did have some extraordinary experience, and it did slow my mind down. When I left, I find the outside world incredibly funny. Everyone rushing around, going nowhere fast.
So fast forward a few years, and I found myself living in a Buddhist monastery in Canada. We spent 4 hours a day in the temple meditating, chanting or listening to teachings. I was still struggling with this whole meditation thing.
And then it happened. During one of the teaching sessions, my teacher talked about relaxing our minds and letting them drift out like soft fluffy clouds. At that moment, I realized that it felt like my mind was in a vice, tightly clamped. As I visualized it as a cloud expanding across the sky, my mind finally relaxed and let go. Finally, I was able to meditate with a quiet mind.
A few months later, I developed a meditation where I would allow my mind to relax and expand and my heart open. And in this mediation, I would fall into bliss, and I would be in the energy of no time or space. Just me being love.
So if I can do it, so can you. The big key is to relax your mind and open your heart.