Quiet the mind and the soul will speak – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
“Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and begin.” I still remember the first time I was ever instructed to meditate. I did what any seven year old does when asked to close their eyes: I promptly started peeking to see what everyone else in the room was doing. Most people seemed a little restless, squirming as they waited for the exercise to end so they could eat. But one woman in the group stood out from the others. After all this time, I can still remember her content smile, still posture, and calming aura. I don’t know whether she was thinking of God, a happy moment of the day, or even nothing at all; what I do know is that in that moment, she was at peace.
I’ve noticed that young people sometimes misunderstand the purpose of meditation. Some believe that true meditation happens only when you clear the mind of all thought. But that requires much practice and discipline. When enforced like that, people turn away from meditation as too restrictive and confining. In my opinion, there is no one right way to meditate. The most meaningful advice I have been given about meditation is to not only allow thoughts to flow, but listen to them as they enter and exit the mind. During this reflection, you learn what is on your inner mind that may not have risen to your conscious awareness. Though sometimes thought of as a passive practice, meditation is an active undertaking of reflection and relaxation in an effort to better understand the mind.
Prayer is when you talk to god, meditation is when god talks to you – Diana Robinson
According to the Hindu philosophic school known as Vedanta, God can be found within everyone, which is known as the divine self or Atman. Brahman is the omnipresent manifestation of God. In this way, meditation provides a connection not only to your consciousness, but to the essence of God that is within us all, which ultimately connects us to Brahman.
One of the most appealing qualities of meditation is that it is deeply personal. For different people, meditation takes on a different form. Some may choose to completely empty the mind of thoughts and bask in that emptiness; others may use the time to focus on their breathing to relax. For me, meditation is a combination of listening to the flow of my thoughts, recognizing their value and ending by clearing the mind to reenergize myself and continue my day with new energy. But no matter what form meditation takes, you can learn about yourself. Such is the beauty of meditation that it can be adapted to help everyone.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle
We all have countless commitments to uphold, and in the chaos of daily life, it becomes easy to forget our commitment to ourselves. Personally, meditation has helped me to recognize what is most important to me in life by giving value to all thoughts. It is a truly centering experience, one which leaves me feeling content and full of gratitude. It almost sounds too good to be true. It’s one of those amazing things where you can get so much more out than what you put in. Sometimes, you can get something out of nothing.
Contemplated by Megha Keshav | Engineering Class of 2017