Thich Nhat Hahn says, “Meditation is not passive, sitting in silence. It is sitting in awareness, free from distraction, and realizing the clear understanding that arises from concentration.”
Meditation is not designed to be a moment of stillness in a life of chaos. It is designed to give us a life of stillness and the tools to help us easily navigate the chaos. We do this by expanding our consciousness, to see what we might not have seen yesterday, to see the thing which brings us joy, but that ability to see isn’t always readily available. We need to calm the mind before we can center the mind.
Our meditation practices are presented in a three-stage process. It begins with ‘centering.’ Most meditators are aware of the first stage of meditation, the stage we call centering. This is where we free our minds, relax our bodies, and center ourselves into the moment. Centering is a powerful process that rejuvenates us and can teach us the extraordinary experience of mindfulness, but it is not natural for the brain to exist without thought. The key to most meditation practices is to learn the art of not letting thought control you but to control your thought. Our processes are centered around opening the mind to new thought, the thought which exists beyond our current perspective.
We expand our awareness by moving into the second stage of our meditative practice. This second stage we call ‘active listening.’ In this stage of the practice, the participant is guided to a state of listening. In it, we are guided, not to what is possible in the future, but to what already exists beyond the world we are currently seeing. We are here to move from what we know and have been, to what we don’t know and have never been. Our mind exists to make us happy. Our life exists to bring us joy. Our consciousness, by its design, is continuously attempting to guide us to a happier, healthier experience of living. Active listening is our conscious participation in that process.
The final stage of our meditation practice is the ‘contemplation’ stage. In this stage, we do not try to adopt or understand the new information, from the limits of our current reality. We instead, learn to sit in a state of not understanding, until our mind expands to a space where the new information exists. We sit in awareness of our misunderstanding and we allow the thought to guide us to a new understanding.
In support of this course, we offer a free tip on meditation followed by a live meditation on YouTube every Sunday at 6:00 p.m. (GMT). You can view our upcoming events here or click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel. It’s free and if you click the bell notification icon, you will be notified every time I’m live or uploading new content.
Our lives are meant to be a beautiful expression of our natural genius. If you are struggling at all, unhappy at all, lost at all, we hope you have the opportunity to find yourself here.
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