Interview with E1 life magazine, September 2017:
Q. Why is mediation important?
A. Meditation is valuable because it brings you closer in touch with the most essential part of who you are. It’s an enjoyable and pleasant way to spend time. Being able to sit still for five minutes, focus and develop a more positive relationship with your mind is also nice and has lots of practical application for everyday life today.
Q. What is meditation? Nitty Gritty? How would you classify a meditation?
A. If we start with the first part of that question, we can say that many things could be classified as meditation. For example, there are those in which you follow an imaginary exercise, or practice your concentration skills. You might use sound, do yoga, contemplate a lovely painting, consider a flower, or ponder a life event. These all have a place in the meditation classification, because they all offer a moment of repose or reflection in one way or another.
Sometimes we might think that meditation is a way to escape, or get away from life but it's actually the other way round. Meditation is about being in touch with ourselves and life with greater intimacy. Meditation is to know yourself on an ever deepening level.
Q. What kind of feelings do you have?
A. The feelings you have will likely depend on the sort of meditation you have been doing. What’s more, we all feel it differently, and different each time we do it. There is no standard feeling to watch out for. Rather than looking for the feeling we can become interested in whatever feelings come up, and curious also about the awareness with which those feelings are known.
While there is no benchmark to look for, I can share a little of my own personal experience— but remember, we are all different. You want to be curious about how you work not expecting anything in particular.
Q. What do you have to do to meditate? (for example, my music for me is meditation because I can escape)….
A. My meditation is different every time. The thing they share in common is that they all usually start with me sitting down or laying down and closing my eyes. I take a nice breath in and out and then…I just wait. I don't have a plan in advance I just listen.
Having sat down and closed my eyes, I might spend a few minutes with breathing exercises, and maybe make a few sounds like the Aum sound. And then I sit quietly, and listen. I don’t know what’s going to happen until it does.
Then I'm just sitting there quietly. I can feel my breathing. I notice whether or not it is shallow or deep. I am aware of my bodies position in space. Of any sensations in my body. Then maybe I notice the sounds in the room or temperature. Sometimes there is a lot of mental activity, like thoughts going on. At times this mental activity is just left to go on, and I feel irreverent toward it, and consider it as just another sense perception - like hearing or smelling.
Other times the thoughts stick to me more and I find myself drawn into them for a while here and there. Either way it doesn’t matter.
If the thought is very interesting like ‘What is fire?’ or 'is golf really a sport?', then I might stay with it for a while and make like a little investigation.
Sometimes the thoughts I am aware of are just like mental drivel. Commentary, rambling etc. Usually once I notice I’ve gotten stuck to those sort of thoughts I’ll come away because they aren't that much fun.
After a while of doing meditation I feel something arrive. Or I feel that I have arrived. Sometimes a peacefulness comes and it can feel a little like being home. You can’t force it to happen. It’s like falling asleep or falling in love in that respect. It’s a sense of being or a kind of presence that is hard to describe but it just arrives. And then you sit quietly with it. Until you have had enough, and that’s it.
The sense of presence that arrives, or the sense of arriving that I have, isn't reserved for meditation periods alone. It can happen during many moments of the day. Meditation can help us to become familiar with it, and so can art, nature, science, travel, good works, music and all those other past times that people enjoy. How you come to it is your preference really.
This said, meditation isn't really an escape, as some hobbies or entertainments can be. It isn't about distraction. It is about knowing yourself and being intimate with experience. It’s very subtle.
When I first started meditation no one told me about this, they just suggested it might be fun and relaxing and so I started. The sense of presence and knowing that comes are more profound than any mind trick, and came as a surprise— and still comes in new ways today.
Over the years as I practiced I got familiar with this feeling. After sitting a while in that space it became easier. Each time I sit I go through mind stuff and then end up in that space. It's easier and easier. It takes practice. Life began to look different. From this place. And I began to discover myself.