Meditation feels wonderful. We sit quietly, still our minds, and with time and practice we find a space of peacefulness within.
Yet what happens when the practice finishes? Do we maintain the same blissful equilibrium we found in meditation – or do we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and quickly lose our sense of calm?
All too often, it’s the latter. Meditation is often thought of as a state of altered awareness that has no place in our everyday reality.
In fact, it’s just the opposite. Meditation is not an adjunct to life. It IS life. Meditation is a living, breathing practice that is about how we engage with ourselves and the world at every moment, not just when we’re sat in quiet contemplation. It transforms us from the inside out. And the more we can integrate it in our lives, the more enriching our everyday experience becomes.
Taking meditation into the real world
Of course, setting aside time for dedicated meditation practice is vital. Here, we hone our capacity for awareness, stillness and equanimity.
With mindfulness, we can then take these skills into our daily lives. How do we begin? By remembering that each moment brings a choice. Every experience in our day offers the chance for us to show up more fully and to connect with greater presence. To embody our practice with every breath, thought and action.
Sometimes it’s just the small things. Noticing the air on our skin, the colour of a leaf, or the scent of a loved one. Choosing a kind word, rather than a reactive one. Remembering, even if only for 10 seconds or so, to watch our breath and feel our hearts beating. To catch our thoughts mid-flow and to become aware that we are the thinker, but also the one who witnesses the thoughts. To marvel at our surroundings and the strange, raw beauty of existence.
Over time, these small shifts in perspective and awareness build up like so many grains of sand. Eventually, we realise that we have created solid ground beneath us. And here, meditation opens its true potential – unlocking our capacity to live fully, consciously and well within the world.