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Finding Clarity and Inner Stillness through Meditation

Photo by Randy

Chapter One of “Meditation is for You” by Swamiji Nithyananda says “…without exception, every single goal points to the same thing – a yearning for the state of bliss.”No one can say “I don’t care being happy? Or I don’t want to be in a state of blissfulness.”

However intellectual and sophisticated the term is, and when we express it, what we are all seeking is nothing but achieving peace within ourselves and the feelings of blissfullness. Only the ways we search for it is different. It could be through money, power, or relationships. It could also be through all the comic and tragic dramas of our daily lives. It is the single motivating force of our lives.

Meditation is nothing but a preparation to rediscover the state of Bliss that is already inside you,” - Swamiji Nithyananda

Every moment of conscious breath is meditation.” – Eckhart Tolle (“What is Meditation” dvd).

If the above two quotes are tricky for you to personally relate, then try to remember the moments when you’ve experienced extreme beauty. As such moments, we suddenly “become still, wordless and totally aware. And that moment is meditation.”, Nithyananda

Much of what I experienced with feelings of peace, calmness and bliss this past year is attributed to my exploration with meditation techniques. I’ve explored techniques expressed by Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Falun Dafa and Swamiji Nithyananda. I’ve also tried techniques with sound, visualization and have tried both Tibetian and Zen meditation.

The benefits of meditation is well documented, here are some that I’ve experienced personally to achieve focus and concentration:

  • Clarity and Decisiveness. With reduced ‘mind clutter’ and confusion, I was able to make quick and firm decisions.
  • Slept Less Hours – To achieve a restful sleep, before I use to need more than eight hours of sleep.While I practiced meditation regularly. I would sleep for six hours and it was plenty. Often, I sleep less than that.
  • More Energized – With meditation, I felt more energized even though I was sleeping less.
  • Saves Time – even though time was used to actually do meditation – but because I was sleeping less, I had more time to do other things. And I was doing them with more focus.
  • Blissful and Relaxed- I felt genuinely happier with everything else going on. Sometimes I could feel my face flowing from contentment.
  • Centered - I felt more connected with my core and inner being.
  • Health – which is the only proven “side effect” of mediation.
  • Awareness and Creativity – People tend to be more alert to their environment and become more conscious and aware. Not to mention, you become more pleasant around other people.

 

 

The toughest thing for me when I started to meditate was finding time. It is so easy to create excuses to avoid doing things which are good for us (our minds are ‘experts’ at excuses to distract us). We would waste hours browsing on-line or flip on the tv, but we would not spare 5-10 minutes of quality times with ourselves? To let our mind rest? Starting to meditate is tough but I understood that the benefits are paramount to my wellbeing and state of mind.

I started by meditating 10 minutes a day, twice a week, and gradually ended up at a comfortable routine of 30 minutes twice a day. The benefits were enormous and noticeable. And then it happened, after several out of town family visits, I had allowed excuses to kick in and missed one meditation routine. One day then turned into a second day, which eventually turned into a week, and then into several weeks. My carefully formed habit after 3 months of discipline and dedication went down the drain.

What I learned from this is that if we allowed ourselves to make even one excuse (no matter how minute), it’ll be a lot easier to buy into excuses the next time, and it’ll snowball from there. The trick is to form daily routines and do whatever it takes to “protect yourself” by not allowing your habit to be knocked off.Let’s say, you really don’t have 30 minutes to meditate, even if you just sat for 5 minutes, that’ll still train your mind to think that you’re performing your routine.“Doing a little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

After weeks of being off my meditation routine, I realized how disorganized my thoughts have become.After wasting several hours browsing aimlessly today, I snapped out of my unconsciousness and said, “What was my purpose again?”The lack of awareness, focus and clarity became disturbing to me. I am now ready for change and made it my most important task for the day. Today is day one of my twenty one day challenge – spending a minimum of 10 minutes a day in quiet stillness. Why 21 days? Anything done repeatedly after 21 days will likely be habituated. Are you up for the challenge? Giving yourself the gift of space for 5-10 minutes a day? I’ll be reporting back with my progress.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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26 thoughts on Finding Clarity and Inner Stillness through Meditation

  1. I’m not sure about the 21-day idea that’s floating around. I can change some habits much more quickly than that, and some (like changing my eating habits) took me a lot longer. I do agree that changing your patterns in small steps is most effective for me.

    Good post!

  2. Dr. Rajeevan Moothal

    The theme is very relevant in todays world. Many of the present problems in society are the reflection of restless mind. Bhagavadh Geetha, the highly influential spiritual guide of Hinduism, says that mind by itself is restless in nature, but we need to control it with our budhi. Swami Vivekananda declares that meditation is the only answer for our spiritual progress. it is the only time we merge with the self. And thus attain clarity.

  3. Hi Jean, for me personally, I could keep doing something new for 14 days, and still manage to not create the habit. So for me, 3 weeks is more effective and lasting than 2 weeks.

  4. Hi Rajeevan, I agree. Thank you for the reminder. I know this, yet sometimes, our minds are so powerful in distracting us away from what matters most – our connection with our true selves. Bhagavad Gita series is on my list of books to study. Thanks for the comment! –Tina

  5. Tina, I love this. I am so glad you admitted how you fell out of the habit. Get this – whenever I meditate, whether for 5 minutes or an hour, I feel calmer, clearer and happier.

    So why in the world do I ever stop? You gave me the answer – excuses. “Oh, I’ll just look for a few more minutes on the Internet,” or “I really need to finish my book.” I’ve got to stop my distractions and go back to a daily practice. I’m taking up your 21 day challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes. :0)

  6. Great article. This is a habit that I want to do with Yoga as well. Excuses are easy to make and hard to break the habit of making excuses. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Hello Tina,

    I’ve arrived at your site, via Andrea Hess’s
    Carnival post…
    http://www.empoweredsoul.com/blog
    (THANKS Andrea)

    I don’t meditate and perhaps it’s because I never
    thought of it in the way you described as doing it
    in a 5-10 minute time frame.
    Something I shall certainly consider doing. :)

    Many years ago, an very important book in my life
    journey was…..

    The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

    The lesson learned from it was how to call my mind
    back in the moments of the day. I think the lesson
    of mindfulness will be very important to the goal
    of meditation.

    Thank you Tina for the challenge.

    Ohhh I just noticed that your post was from
    Sept. So how did it turn out for you ?

    xo xo
    Deb

  8. Roland Illman

    Really good advice & encouragment…keep going and thanks for your efforts.

  9. @Shirley: Hi Shirley! Thanks so much for the comment. It made me smile (real big!). :) You are right, I too feel calmer even for just 5 minutes, yet I am full of excuses. *sigh*.
    So how did it go with you? I am starting the 21 day challenge again with myself, I let excuses get the best of me. We don’t give up, right? :)

    @Patricia: Thank you for commenting. I wish you success in creating your daily Yoga habit.

    @Roland Illman: Thank you! I will keep going. Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. @Deb Estep:

    Hi Deb,

    Thanks for visiting. I need to Thank Andrea for sending you.
    Yes, mindfulness is another form of meditation, but what’s interesting is that actually creating time to meditation (just sit with your eyes closed and becoming the observer with low thoughts) can actually help being mindful. It’s a positive cycle that helps each other. I hope that makes sense. I also recommend “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle if you haven’t heard of it.

    My challenge lasted for about 14 days, and then I let excuses and the many demands got a hold of me. I will be starting the challenge again with my partner. We are working on creating the habit of waking up an extra hour earlier to meditate.

    Thank you for asking! :) Thank you again for reading and commenting.

    Love & Gratitude,
    Tina

  11. Hi Tina,
    Well I still need some work. I started off great – 5 days of mediation, which my goal was 10-15 minutes, but it turned into 30 minutes most days. And I felt great. Then I missed a day. I got back on track for another 5 days, then missed 1, then meditated, then off and on for awhile.

    During Thanksgiving I got totally caught up in family (which was great since I hadn’t seen many of them in a long while). So now it’s been 3 days since I last sat still and calm. But this time I didn’t get frustrated with myself. Instead I’m going to keep going until I get that 21 days in a row and a big habit.

    I agree totally that meditation definitely aids mindfulness. That stillness brings clarity and gives you “permission” to totally relax your mind and body. A heady combination to be sure.

    Both “The power of now,” and “The miracle of Mindfulness,” have been recommended before and are on my reading list. Thanks again for a great post. :0)

  12. Thanks for the great post, I think I will take your 21 day challenge, it’ll be fun. I really need to get myself to form some new habits. I have heard for a long time that in 21 days most things repeated will become a habit.

    It’d be very nice to spend 10 minutes/day for 21 days in meditation

    Thanks

  13. JD

    I definitely need to study more on meditation because I have more questions than answers.

    That said, in my personal experience, I’ve noticed that I actually have to carve out think time to focus deeply on some of my best challenges. I know people say that when you meditate you should clear your mind, but my mind is usually clear to begin with (I’ve done a lot of inner engineering and I keep my head uncluttered through effective information management).

    I actual measure my mind by my ability to “turn it off” when I don’t need to be “on.”

  14. i try to meditate regularly but lately i have become so clouded and stressed that it didn’t even occur to me that the answer could lie in the stillness of the moment and not in the external world.. i was looking for answers on the outside and never realized that they all lie within me.

    namaste.
    alex

  15. abraham

    I do meditate twice a day. Early morning and before going to bed, about 15 to 30 minites.I relax every part of my body.Breath slowly and deeply. I find abdominal breathing powerful.I did once experience a sense of wholeness , i was everything, I was just consciousness. fantastic feeling.

  16. John

    I recently returned from a ten day silent Vipassana Meditation retreat. I was amused to recall what I used to Think I knew about meditation.
    When people ask me about meditation now, of course I can list all the benefits you mention, but I always recommend that they find a class or a teacher because the techniques offered are not vague, “clear your mind” directions, but very specific and technical. With good reason.

    Also, there are pitfalls to meditation without proper guidance because the ego can really interfere with the benefits. It’s not uncommon for new meditation students to get hooked on the “blissed’ out sensations, and miss that the “goal” is non-attachment. The craving to go on having “good” feelings, and to avoid unpleasant ones, can disrupt meditation practice, lead to frustration and the abandonment of that practice. Some days it’s bliss, some days it just sucks, but one is not better than the other.. there is no “good” or “bad” meditation. Some days noticing that it sucks is very productive.

    I was in the book reading part of the process for most of my thirties. Going to a retreat turns that intellectual process into a fully experiential one. Ten hours of sitting a day, for ten days is no great achievement, but the start of a lifetime practice.

    Find a teacher, when you’re ready, put down the books and go for it!

    Thank you for listing many good resources on “Meditation 101″. I know we’re all working toward the same thing, and encouraging others seems to be becoming a bit of an obsession!

  17. Thankyou for the reminder of just how incredible meditation can be.

    A few years ago, I was going through a period of serious mental unrest. Every time I’d try and get work done, my mind would race all over the shop. I was unproductive, restless, and bored with life!

    I kept looking outside myself for solutions and couldn’t find anything. It wasn’t till I realised that the reason that I couldn’t find an external solution was because it wasn’t an external problem that things changed.

    It’s been a while since I meditated last. Definitely going to get back into it.

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