Who isn’t talking about meditation these days? People in every corner of the globe are realizing its benefits. Naturally, when any ancient practice gains wide popularity, it becomes accessible in a vacuum. Most learn bits and pieces of sacred knowledge without proper context. The meaning and purpose behind it eventually lose significance. Sometimes, the application and method turn into something so far from its roots that a danger develops of creating adverse effects. A good example of this is Ashtanga Yoga or Patanjali’s 8-Limb Path. There is a practical and functional purpose to the progressive stages of this path-Yama (Social Code), Niyama (Personal Code), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breathing Exercises), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Self-Realization). Meditation comes in the latter part of our internal work towards self-realization because we first have to prepare the mind with the former stages. Yet, how many people do you know who are putting in an equal effort with the Yamas and Niyamas, as they are in perfecting their Asana poses?
Imagine living with less fear, regrets, anxiety, jealousy, greed, and anger. Imagine instead living with more compassion, self-acceptance, understanding, selflessness, and peace. Does it sound like a dream? Does it sound like an impossibility that sounds great in theory, but can never become a reality? I am here to tell you that it is absolutely possible. In fact, many people now, in the past, and in the future, have lived and will live this way. All of our problems start in the mind. We cannot always control what happens to us. We know that all too well from our life experiences. Over the years we all create default settings in ourselves. So, when our ego feels attacked or we feel judged, our go-to responses are defensiveness and self-protection. You can change your default settings to something else, something more nourishing and evolving. How? Meditation.