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Meditation for finding peace

Everyone seems to be searching for the ever-elusive peace of mind. When we hear the word meditation, we often imagine the image of a person sitting on the floor with their legs crossed and eyes closed. We believe that their mind is peace and still, and that there are no thoughts distracting them from the present moment. How relaxing, right?

But when we try meditating, we quickly discover that there is a freakin' circus going on in our heads. The most common thing I hear from students is that, "I must be doing it wrong, it's not relaxing at all," or "I'm just not good at meditation." I promise, no one is good at meditation. That's why we practice!

One of my teachers says, "You can either have peace or you can have mind. As long as you are alive, you cannot have both."

Meditation is not about having a mind that is empty of thoughts... that would mean that our brain is not functioning properly. Instead, the goal is to become aware of the many movements in our mind. When we are able to witness our own thoughts and create space before taking action upon them, then we are successfully practicing meditation.

It takes effort to build concentration, "dharana."

It takes time to focus that concentration towards one object, "dhyana."

So here is a good place to get started:

Inhale - become aware of thoughts in your mind and sensations in your body.

Exhale - watch your thoughts drift away and sensations dissolve

Inhale - embrace your present thoughts and accept your physical sensations

Exhale - watch your thoughts drift away and sensations dissolve

Repeat until you feel spacious in your mind and settled in your body.

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