What happens when you sit, close your eyes and observe nothing but a breath, sound, sensation or a thought? To be precise, what happens when you meditate? In my experience, everything else seems to slowly-sometimes very slowly fade away. Future plans, past memories, ideas, people, sensations, etc., often disappear. If these things are impermanent what is left then? For me, the result is something truer, something that has always, is always and will always be; nothing. The stillness of the nothingness is happy, peaceful, loving and free.
Of course, this result is neither easy to get to nor always replicable. Most people that I talk to say that they cannot meditate because their mind is always going. Although this is very true for most of us the irony is- that is precisely what meditation helps us with. We probably would not show up to a gym and say “I can’t work out because my body is always sedentary”. Our mind is always thinking, that is its nature. Which is why something so simple like observing your breath can seem so hard. It’s OK to think, do not despair, be kind to yourself instead, gently come back to the breath. An old adage “practice makes perfect” is appropriate here. Similarly, as the minds nature is to think, the ears nature is to hear. Would we get upset at our ears for listening?
Hello, my name is Alex. I am from Colombia> NY > CA. I love nature, jokes, movies, books, people, adventures, exercise & meditation. I enjoy learning, teaching, mentoring, problem-solving, communicating & observing. I am 28 years old and have been meditating since I moved out to California a couple of years ago. Simply put: meditation makes me happy! Although there may be so many rational and irrational reasons for this anecdote, I will only explain my own.
When I first started meditating I would lie down, only to fall asleep within minutes. This is not meditating, although it did help me sleep. I would also do some guided mindful meditations, through my job, which were very relaxing as well. Even though these early experiences were great gateways it wasn’t until I decided to develop a daily morning/night meditation practice that I noticed a difference. Full disclosure; my girlfriend was a huge influence in my decision and I am grateful for her support. This decision to change had important ripple effects.
One of the biggest things I noticed was how quiet I could get. How there didn’t need to always be something, someone or someplace else to think about; there could just be silence. When we are sometimes asked; “what are you thinking about?” Nothing can actually be an honest response instead of a cloaked default answer. Another thing I observed was that I could observe. I don’t always have to react, do or go. Instead, I can just watch. Have you ever noticed that you are in a situation while being in a situation? It’s like watching a movie, play or traffic pass by and in the same moment becoming aware that you are watching it. By not being a reactive participant I am free to be a quiet spectator.
If there is nothing left but an observer, who is observing nothing then who am I? In the stillness of meditation, I become more aware of the peace, the joy, the love that I am. Many times, for me, this is what is left when the rest is gone. When there are no more thoughts, emotions, and sensations, that I get so lost in sometimes, it gets pretty darn quiet. While observing the lack of these things I observe the leftovers; the nothingness. It brings me happiness, so I observe that too.
Special thanks to Alex Calero for this wonderful piece of writing.