The essence of meditation: “Live your life, moment by moment.”

Reading time: 2 min 2 sec

People often mistake meditation as a religious act. It is imperative to demystify this common misconception about meditation. Meditation has got nothing to do with any God or religious entity. It is an astonishing fact that even in this modern age, the majority of us are not willing to approach meditation with an open mind. Such beliefs can act as huge roadblocks in harnessing the true benefits of this life-changing technique.

On a fundamental level, meditation is a straightforward activity that everyone of us can do anywhere and at any time. Why? Because the essence of meditation is “moment-by-moment awareness”. Yes! That’s the core idea of meditation. All those paid courses, mobile apps, and all those YouTube videos teach this essence explicitly or implicitly.

Let’s see what “moment-by-moment awareness” means. For instance, try this exercise: “when you walk, only walk”. Try consciously to be aware of those sensations under your feet, the movements of your leg muscles and the temperature of the ground below your feet. It is of utmost importance that you concentrate on the feeling and not on the thoughts passing through your mind. Reading this, some might ask, “we are already busy, why should we waste our time paying attention to all these silly things while walking? Instead, why don’t we think of something more useful such as tomorrow’s homework or meeting with the boss or something more important?” Well, if that’s what keeps you happy and brings out your best version, please go ahead and don’t waste your time reading this! Anyway, in my opinion, such people who try to do multitasking or keep themselves busy doing something without being present are the ones who are quickly getting frustrated or tensed.

Of course, there is nothing wrong to think while walking. But the key idea I am trying to express is about practicing a lifestyle where you appreciate each and every moment in your life, whether it seems good or bad. This is about watching your regular actions from a different perspective; this is about being aware at this moment, effortlessly; this is about doing only one thing at a time. I am pretty sure that if you genuinely try such simple exercises, you will definitely find such activities exceptional and joyful. You will feel things in ways you have never felt before. Over time, such practices naturally equip yourself to appreciate every instance of life. It trains you to provide undivided attention towards a task at work effortlessly. Once you realize that you can ‘meditate’ even while walking without compelling yourself to sit quietly and focusing on the breath, you have captured the essence of meditation.

“Hey life, you take the breath out of me…”

Reading time: 1 min 42 sec

(Contributed by an anonymous author who doesn’t want to reveal his identity.)

Dear friend,
That moment of bliss when you become one with your surroundings, you lose even the tiniest bit of importance in the grand scheme of things. Your existence no longer matters when you learn the answer to the eternal question, ” Why is there something rather than nothing”. You realize there is nothing but a dance to the rhythm of the most beautiful symphony embodying love. You become the ultimate romantic in a world where the rules of cause and effect don’t hold. You will sense the transcending beauty in the innate randomness of the spontaneous events occurring all around you.

I guess this is where I become realistic and get to the point. I have never experienced any of these life-changing blissful moments. This is the image that my unimaginative, dull conscious brain conjured up while trying to think of a possible alternative reality that could give substance to our existence. Look around you and sense the beauty in everything from the raindrop dripping along with the window grill to something as intangible as human emotions and I don’t think you can come up with a worse image that can portray our reality.

Many religious texts have provided much better portrayals of the eternal bliss in which you will be bestowed with wings, harps, a hell of a lot of virgins and what not. Alas, I wish I could come up with something as vibrant and imaginative as this. But the problem with the conscious brain is that it has an irritatingly efficient filtering mechanism that will not let you be happy with these enchanting eternal life after death scenarios. Our brain’s filtering mechanism works based on a set of beliefs deeply ingrained into our subconscious. For instance, I believe our ability to empathize with someone stems from our decisions (or free will as some people would like to call it) as much as it does from a natural physiological origin. So, any versions of reality in which your brain’s anatomy governs your love and compassion towards your fellow beings don’t go well with me. In fact, I can’t believe in any sort of reality in which my existence is given undue significance.

So, here is me hoping you and me will one day be able to appreciate this breathtakingly beautiful life in its all glory. If I live to take the next breath, I assure you, I will tell you about it in even more detail.