“My life is so stressed out, I think I am going to lose my mind!” you complain to your friend or colleague. What is the first advice that pops up? “You know, darling, you ought to meditate. It is such a stress-reliever!” You brace yourself for a talk on meditation and its benefits, knowing fully well that the thoughts that circulate in your mind will never allow you a moment’s peace, leave alone meditation!
For years together, the wise have been singing paeans about this one thing that has had us lesser mortals tied up in knots. For every time we sit on the floor cross legged, with hands on our knees, and eyes closed all ready to meditate, a thought enters our mind, stealthily. And, like a buzzing mosquito irritating one inside the mosquito net, disrupts the entire exercise, leaving us infuriated.
When I began learning Yoga, I would grumble about the hundred thoughts that would disturb me each time I tried to meditate. My teacher would advice me to let the thoughts move freely, but divert my attention to my breath. “Just focus on inhaling and exhaling,” she would say, gently.
I tried hard. At times, I would succeed, but for a few minutes. Most of the times,though, I would give up my fight with my thoughts and accept defeat. But, it was sometime last year, as I was watching the movie, ‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’, that realisation struck me.
In a scene when Katrina Kaif asks Hrithik Roshan how he found his diving experience, he replied that it “felt like being in a daze – ‘high‘,” he remarked. She grimaced at his choice of words, and responded, that diving for her was akin to meditation; it was when she would be completely aware of every breath she took. That had me thinking: what was that one activity, when I was aware of every breath I took, focused on just the one activity at hand, and had not a single stray thought that could be deemed useless at that particular hour?
I realised, that it was while writing, sketching the eyes of a dog, or prepping for my cupcakes, that my mind would be in a state of complete rest. Of course, it would definitely aid me in focusing on the activity, and help me with ideas. But, at the end of it all, my mind would feel fresh (like laundry, fresh from the dry-cleaners!). Funny analogy, I know, but that’s just how it felt, up there!
So, that was what meditation was all about! Indulging in an activity, when your mind takes a break from the daily grind, repairs itself, and leaves you feeling de-stressed. Ah! That was pretty easy! Why hadn’t I thought about it all this while?
As I began concentrating on this new-found knowledge, I realised I found it easier to actually meditate during my Yoga sessions, too. The thoughts would definitely enter (do they have wings that they fly in and out as they wish?). But, all I had to do, was stop indulging them, and concentrate on my breath, on my nostrils, as I inhaled and I exhaled. That’s just what my teacher was trying to tell me!
Giving your mind a complete break from all the thoughts and allow it some ‘me-time‘ is so necessary. For our mind. For our sanity. Of course, there are times, when life won’t go our way; when it will be humanly impossible to concentrate on anything, leave alone breathing. But, you know, it’s okay. Our mind is pretty resilient that way. It has our back, almost always.
All we need to do, is give it the break it deserves. So, the next time you feel like ‘meditating’, just get down to doing your favourite activity, whatever it may be. But remember to focus on your breath. It will be tough, initially, concentrating on the activity and on your breath. But, slowly and steadily, you will get so used to it, that even your busy moments will feel like a session in meditation!
Trust me. I do it. it’s so necessary. But, do take it easy on days you aren’t able to hold it together. We are humans, after all. And, it’s okay to fail. But, shake away those thoughts after a while. And, get your breath in focus. it is what keeps you alive, isn’t it?
So, give your mind a break. Mind your mind. And, meditate!