Meditation… such a tough cookie!

After I began to deepen into my Yoga practice, I felt the urge to improve my meditation skills. I began to feel the pressure of not being able to sit in Lotus position with a blank mind. At that time I had the misconception that this was the only way to meditate and it made it appear to me like an almost impossible thing to achieve.
Each time I tried to do it (and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way) my mind would get far more busy than normal and I would start to have so many uncontrollable thoughts, like when you are not supposed to swallow and immediately you salivate more than ever! Or like when they tell you not to think of the color Red and the only image you can visualize is Red! And as far as my body was concerned, oh my!!! all of a sudden I would start feeling super itchy everywhere, my nose, my ears, my head;and a very weird tingling sensation in my cheeks, like if I had some serious problem with my Trigeminal nerve, wouldn’t allow me to stay still. At the end, all those mental and physical sensations would become so irritating and unbearable that I could never arrive any close to a clear mind or a state of relaxation.
At some point I decided it was time to seek for some professional help and started an intensive search for places to learn the amazing mysteries of meditation. That’s when I found a centre that claimed to teach the principles of Raja Yoga. Hmmm… Raja Yoga… it definitely sounded very promising, and the word Yoga gave me the hope that this was exactly what I was looking for.
So I enrolled into this sort of course where a very nice woman began teaching me the principles of meditation and how to be able to abstract from this reality without falling asleep. After a couple of sessions, I asked who was the guy who’s picture was in every single room of the centre (they even had a little altar with his picture in the main meditation room) and when she avoided the question, and tried to distract me like a little girl from my interest in the subject, I began to feel a bit suspicious; I began sensing that this was not the right place for me as it felt a lot like a religious sect and I just decided to stop going there before risking any kind of “brain washing”.
Feeling lost in my road to meditation again, I was very happy to know that the Asia Yoga Conference was taking place in Hong Kong those days, so I signed up for a lot of classes with emphasis in meditation.
I took classes with the more extreme teachers that arrived to the room floating in their white flowy gowns scaring me a bit; they were sharing their experience of staying in the dessert for more than three years in silence and meditation (to be quite honest, not my kind of stuff). I also went to some sessions with teachers from India that worked a lot on breathing techniques with a more practical approach (not as dramatic as the “white angels”). But, the teacher that inspired me the most was Carlos Pomeda; his ideas were absolutely down to earth and he proved to be quite literate in the subject giving us a very interesting talk about the importance of meditation in our daily lives from a perspective that I could connect more with.
After witnessing such different ways of understanding the same subject, I began to read a lot about it too. And as I deepened into it, I tried to detach a little bit from this “obsession” of conquering the perfect meditation and that’s when I could realize that I’ve been actually practicing different types of meditation for a very long time.
When I was a teenager, I took a mind control course that totally changed my life. They taught me how to use the power of my own mind to improve my life and I found out, only while in this desperate search for the teachings of meditation, that what they taught me back then was all based on meditation techniques. I began to discover that there are so many ways to meditate depending on the purpose of your meditation; that you can meditate in so many places, and under so many different circumstances. I felt released from the stereotype of meditation that a lot of us have.
At the end, I decided to chill about it instead of pushing myself into it. I began to cherish the different forms of meditation that I’ve been practicing and started to incorporate some of those techniques into my Yoga practice. I started to feel that in the same way that sometimes your body needs a more powerful Asana practice or a gentle one, your mind also needs different meditation techniques in different moments of your life.
Nevertheless, I still feel quite curious about the effects of a regular meditation practice, conceived as sitting in a special place for a certain length of time with your eyes closed and a clear mind. Each time I hear people talking about how their lives have changed after they started meditating every morning, I wonder how that can differ from the way I live meditation. Would my life be really better if I’m able to achieve that sort of meditation? Well, maybe one day I will be able to do it and then I will tell you! In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with a quote from the Dalai Lama about meditation that I don’t really understand…
“Sleep is the best meditation”.

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