It took me a while to realize that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way in meditation. I know technically I should have already known that. But I’m admitting I didn’t wholly understand the right or wrong way to go about meditating.
I had this realization once I began my 14 day mindfulness journey on YouTube with Boho Beautiful. I have done it for five days, takes about 10-15 minutes where I was told to listen to my breath, and then she gives you a mantra to repeat if you get swayed away with your thoughts. Now let’s backtrack a bit.
I attended a 10 day Vipassana program in Jaipur. The whole goal of Vipassana is to observe the breath. In doing so you realize we all have a monkey mind making it difficult to focus on the breath. So we are told to focus our attention on the incoming and outgoing breath through the nostrils. Through this process, we are told to be aware of the thoughts and let them go, not to cling on to any of them. When & if we do cling to these thoughts, we get emotional. In Vipassana the sole focus is on the breath not on any visualization, be it color or a mantra.
During these ten days, every evening I had an hour’s discourse where S.N Goenka, the man who brought Vipassana to India. He spoke about how we might have done in today’s meditation. And I must say he was spot on. There were days I felt invincible, other days I cried and was overpowered by my thoughts. Some days I had such clarity, I came up with book deals. I learnt to deal with uncertain emotions such anxiety, understood who I was as a person while my sleep and mood improved drastically.
Alas, I felt powerful to be the master of my emotions and not the slave. After those ten days were done, I felt more alive, and was breathing for the very first time. (And I mean this in the most genuine sense.)
While I was doing today’s meditation I realized that I have a monkey mind and I mustn’t be hard on myself since last years experience taught me it took years to create a monkey mind, 10 days or even 20 won’t undo years of making.
As I began to get comfortable in my seated position, I decided to focus on my breath, then immediately remembered, “Shit, I’m supposed to be reciting the mantra damn, I think I forgot the mantra, oh no, thank god I actually I remember it.” In this process I wasn’t able to focus on my breath and my thoughts had overpowered me yet again. At this moment, I told myself, “Payal, just breathe, focus on your breath and if you feel your thoughts are overpowering you or swaying you around recite the mantra.” This really helped me as a few moments later I back to feeling calm & peaceful again.
So from this day forth I have decided to focus on what works for me and make meditation my own.