I first learned how to meditate from an English Buddhist nun in a tiny Buddhist centre on a small island in the South China Sea. I had moved to Hong Kong a few months previously, partied a little too hard and was looking for some way to recover some of the balance I had left in the bars of Lan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island.
It wasn’t as easy as I’d expected.
It sounds easy. Sit down, close your eyes, focus on your breathing. The reality is a little trickier.
You know how impossible it is not to think of an elephant if someone tells you not to think of an elephant? Well it’s pretty challenging to stay focused on your breathing when your mind wants to do anything but focus on your breathing. So for the first few months, my meditation was an inner struggle to stay in the moment followed by a self-judgement when I didn’t, followed by a subsequent struggle, followed by another judgement.
You get the picture.
But the longer I practiced, the more I started to see how important allowing is when it comes to meditation. In fact - as Victor Davich said - meditation is allowing what is. Allowing whatever arises in your meditation to simply arise without desperately trying to control or interpret it. Allowing the silence and allowing Spirit to speak within it. Allowing yourself to bring your attention back to your breathing when you realise it's gone off on a tangent without judging yourself for it. Allowing yourself to simply be.
And it’s a gift we can give ourselves every single day.
All it takes is a quiet space, some time for you and a willingness to sit in the silence and listen.
Will you allow yourself to meditate today?