Meditation and ‘enlightenment’ are not special.

There is this picture of what meditation looks like and what ‘enlightenment’ looks like. And we seem to believe that that is it, and anything else isn’t it. And it can make me feel like it’s not for me, and that only certain people get it who are special, but that’s not true at all.

To me, meditation looks like someone sitting crossed legged with eyes closed, hands with palms resting on legs, sitting on top a mountain or temple, with Eastern traditional clothes on. This image is understandable because meditation came from Eastern cultures, but all that is, is tradition, it’s made up by humans and I think it can be misleading. That image isn’t the only way to meditate. You don’t have to limit yourself to that.

In my view, you can meditate while you’re doing absolutely anything, while you’re washing up, taking out the bins, wiping your baby’s arse. What you are doing has no bearing on whether you can meditate or not. You don’t need anything to meditate except a mind. You don’t need the ‘right’ place, the ‘right’ cushion, the ‘right’ clothes.

But at the same time, sitting in a quiet place maybe in nature to meditate, is also enjoyable. But I just don’t want that image described above to put anyone off meditating, it’s not that image, the image isn’t it. What’s going on inside is where it is.

It’s the same with ‘enlightenment’. To me, someone who is ‘enlightened’ has a big long beard, is old and grey, wears beads and Eastern loose robe like clothing. If you don’t look like that, then you’re not as enlightened or wise as the people that do look like that.

Again, in a way, this is absolute bollocks, it’s just tradition, it has absolutely nothing to do with actual ‘enlightenment’.

Any one could be ‘enlightened’ and they might not even know they are, (because they don’t have the context for it), and no one else could tell they were, because it’s an internal thing.

This is where fake guru’s come up, if you look the part, people can often assume you are the real deal, and if you don’t look the part, people can often assume you aren’t the real deal. If you’re interested in this, see the documentary Kumare.

In reality the way you look externally to other people, has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on inside you.There could be thousands or millions of people who are ‘enlightened’ but you wouldn’t know to look at them. It’s an internal shift in the way you view everything.

The image of ‘enlightenment’ can be very misleading. You might think that the person who looks the part has something special that you don’t, and that you need to look like them, follow them and have their lifestyle to ‘get it’. But you could be a welder who has tattoos and swears a lot and ‘get it’.

Tradition is fine, but it’s not ‘it’. What’s ‘it’, is inside, where no one can see. That’s where it’s happening. The outside could look like anything.

You don’t need to do anything to ‘get it’. You don’t need the ‘right’ clothes, the ‘right’ lifestyle, the ‘right’ hair style etc. You just need a mind, and an opportunity to drop your attachment to all your conceptual thought, to drop the striving and control and take a step out of your own way and let something more powerful than you take the reins within you, and there you go, you’ve got it. (not that you can try to get it, just see the opportunity when it comes, and take it, you can’t make it happen).

I don’t want anyone to be put off or mislead by that one image, or by the word ‘enlightened’.

Otherwise, you might discount it, looking for something bigger and better, thinking it is something grand and special, when in reality it’s very simple, immediate and the most ordinary state of existence, that’s there all the time, and has never changed. You could call it ‘the reality of who you are’ , or ‘your basic state’. I don’t know, i’m not the best person with words. Words aren’t ‘it’, they can only point to it.

The way I see it, we are ALL already born ‘enlightened’, this is what being is, and we just grow up forgetting who we really are, and take ourselves to be our thought systems or something. That’s all.

“My brain is a computer, it will always run, because that’s what it’s designed to do.” – Giancarlo Esposito

It’s taken me a couple of years to come round to the idea of meditation and to see the benefits it will bring my life. I first had to experience a positive reaction and once I had that, there was no going back.

Apparently meditating 30 minutes everyday over a long period of time has been shown to lower stress, anxiety, depression, improved compassion and immune system and helps you sleep and even age better.

It is the act of quieting your mind chatter and just existing and being for a while, there’s no break truer than this. For me personally I’ve felt benefit in getting to sleep easier because of disconnecting with hundreds of thoughts, work better with lowered stress levels, and even to notice things in the moment more.

Buddha was asked: “What have you gained from Meditation?” He replied: “Nothing.” “However, let me tell you what I lost : Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.”

So if you get really into it, you can really take a look deep inside yourself and look at your problems in a new light.

For anyone interested in what it is and how to do it, here’s a quick 5 minute demo session:  http://presidemeditation.com/preside-meditation-introduction-onroll/

And if you want some more, I’ve found this to be an excellent app: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/buddhify-2/id687421118?mt=8 and this website too: https://www.headspace.com/