Self-Hospitality Pt. 5: How To Meditate Effortlessly
Successful meditation is effortless meditation. Not in the way of “I’m such an expert at it that it seems effortless.” You can be effortless during the first meditation you ever do.
Effortlessness doesn’t mean there’s no discomfort. It doesn’t mean you’re having the most luxurious imaginable experience – relaxed, floating beyond the tension of the mind. It just means that you’re fine with what’s happening. And you might be saying, “That can’t be all there is to; I need to focus on meditating properly.” Okay, let’s go through what “properly” looks like again.
- Think mantra.
- Attention strays from mantra.
- You realize this and return attention to mantra without caring at all that you were astray.
If you’re doing this then you’re meditating perfectly. End of story. And adhering to these principles faithfully will result in a million-bazillion different meditation experiences. No one is right or wrong. There is simply effortless or strained. Effortless means you meditate in a state of acceptance of whatever mess is whirling around in your head. Strained means you’re somehow frustrated that you’re not having your preferred experience (which would probably be whatever you imagined to be more “focused” or “deep” or “centered”). Strained means you’re annoyed every time you’re attention slips from the mantra because somehow you’ve decided that it’s better when you’re focused on the mantra (it isn’t – your attention being on or off the mantra are equally valid).
Our daily challenges cannot be overcome without effort. Life – especially life today – often requires tremendous effort, strength and ingenuity.
Meditation is different. We sit down, we close our eyes with nothing more than the intention to meditate, and it all happens automatically. Effort just gets in the way. But the demands of life have made us habitual effort-appliers when it comes to getting the outcomes we want. So, when we meditate there’s some conditioning to break. Here, we’re not engaging the part of the mind that speaks the language of effort (just as we’re not using the part that focuses). In fact, we’re relaxing the effort-strained mind. We’re resting it – even more deeply and dynamically than we rest when we’re sleeping. And when we do this, we are restoring ourselves for the difficulties that life will bring once we emerge into the world. And we will bring with us the vapor trails of our meditation’s wisdom.
Don’t worry, meditation doesn’t inspire some sort of lazy sensibility because we realize how awesome effortlessness is. No, we acquire a renewed outlook on where we are putting effort in our lives – where it is overspent, wasted or otherwise misapplied. And we acquire a taste for efficiency and fluidity. Our action will naturally become guided by a better use of our precious and powerful energetic resources. And we may find that the life we want doesn’t require the strain and anguish that we thought it did.
Apply The Principles
After your meditation, think about an area of your life that causes strain, frustration or otherwise more effort than it seems to be worth. Ask yourself, “How would this look if it were easy?” What kind of person doesn’t struggle with what you struggle with? How do they think? How do they feel? And why can’t you be this person?
Learn The Essentials
The purpose of this series is to give you everything you need to get the most out of meditation, self-care and this fresh new life we get to live with such powerful tools at our disposal. The weekly tools and principles I share will help you become more skilled and confident at meditating and just generally living with this thing called a mind.
Whether or not you’ve already learned meditation (with me or elsewhere), refer to this guide to either get you started or refresh you on the essentials.
I bet, even if you’ve been meditating for awhile, this series will reveal aspects of it that will make you say, “Wow, how come I didn’t know this?” You did. And you do. You just needed reminding. Meditation is a very radical way of being in ourselves…and yet it’s the most familiar place we know.