I’d like to start this off in a humble fashion by saying I never really know what I’m talking about. Here, or anywhere. What I speak from is in a constant state of fluctuation that is based upon my deepest inquiries and the paths these thoughts take me on. But since I’ve been thinking so much lately, as well as meditating so much, I thought it was due time to talk about my view points of these things a bit.
First, let’s de-mystify meditation. You don’t have to sit and stare at a blank wall with no thoughts. It’s not always about breathing or reaching an enlightened state – although that doesn’t sound bad and it certainly not something to shy away from working towards, I believe that these ideas have drowned out what meditation is supposed to be about. Clarity in the present.
It is the act of creating spaces and circumstances within yourself that allow you to perceive your thoughts, desires, actions, and the world around you without the pervasive influence of ego. If t h i s is a thought, then all the space in around and between is meditation. It makes that this stand out more clearly. It makes us notice it, contemplate it.
How meditation manifests is uniquely different for every individual. The most accessible and sought out is “traditional” meditation – where one does sit with a focus or a mindset. Be it simply the breath, an emotion, or even practices such as Yoga Nidra. But it can also be writing – that flow we get into when we have thoughts without them being impeded by what we think of ourselves or desire of ourselves. In coding, and finding the most efficient way to a solution. In a target range, where hitting a bullseye means being able to drown out the sounds around and in you to find the space to hit the target.
So, you see, it is not one practice. Not one simple definition. It is a broad spectrum. What makes meditation meditation is not how we get there, but what happens when we do get there. Simply, we lose our ego. Or at least it is put to rest for a period of time. We take off the rose or blue or black coloured glasses and can see things for how they are. There is no prescription to sharpen the ugly things or to focus on all that we perceive as good. The world just is, and we just are.
Alright so hopefully we get what meditation is, and I hope that by the examples we can see why it’s important. Without meditation in design we would have messy websites and apps that are difficult to use. We would have poorly written books with a lack of flow or determinable story line – no matter how interesting the subject matter. And on and on. Meditation is everywhere.
To live a life of meditation is to take this mindset with us. Not in the sense that we are turned completely inward at all times and making constant work of assessing our thought patterns and what is going on around us, our impacts, all the other bullshit that we get caught up in. That in itself is a distinct lack of meditation – a lack of presence. Meditation, at its core, is the ability to ask yourself questions.
Why do I feel this why? What is important? What is the true focus? Is this the truth or what I want to be the truth? What was the intention here? Can I truly know the intention? Can how I perceive things ultimately shape things?
It is to go so deep into the rabbit hole that we get to the root. And sometimes – often – there is nothing really there. What we have based opinions off, invested time and emotion and money into, that we sometimes kill and die for is more than not empty. It is a void that was filled with ego and that can be a very powerful, and deceiving thing. But this also means that when we get to this nothingness… We have found space. That magic thing that we seek so avidly. That clarity. Room to grow.
We have been conditioned societally to be more all the time. To fill space and thoughts and to live all aspects of our lives like sardines in a can. Our accomplishments not enough until we have enough of them – yet who decides when is enough? What is enough? Where do these guidelines come from? Without the space we cannot see how much there is to fill (which is endless) but we can also not see how far we have come. This is a breeding ground for dissatisfaction.
For me, personally, living a meditative life is the act of constantly working to find that breathing space. That outside perspective. As Rumi so eloquently put it;
“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there”
The beyond. This comes in acts such as colour coordinating my closet because I know that I don’t have to clutter my mind with useless things as where something is or where it goes. Because I know that when I’m in a certain mood I like to wear a certain hue and to see all of my selves accessible and open brings me an awareness of the acceptance and understanding of who I am – as well as who I am not as I evolve and rid myself of things I no longer need or relate to.
It is in always being aware that I don’t know what I think I know, that in fact I know very little – if anything. That a year ago if you had asked me what meditation was the meaning would have been as empty as my understanding, but that it would have seemed full because my ego is water and it will so beautifully fill up any space. Just like it did in that sentence.
It is in asking the universe for things and having to learn a certain brand of detachment from all that I do because if I think I know what I truly what then I can’t know what I truly have until it is gone. It is being able to look at what I wish for and know that it is not possible without a shift – otherwise I would already have it. Knowing that detachment doesn’t mean lack or care or desire, but a lack of need to be defined by those things. To be fluid with them.
To live a life of meditation is to be okay with asking myself if the work I am doing for herHABITAT is work that I truly want to continue? If being good at something is the same as being fulfilled by something? By having to make sacrifices in what I think I’ve been working towards to make room for where the real work I’ve been doing has actually brought me.
It is in understanding that intentions do not always breed success. That how we see and understand success is a symptom of what the world has told us but also of what we have accepted. Is incorporating a business and doing work that I am good at but not fulfilled by success? Or is it incorporating a business, finding out the work I am good at is not work I am fulfilled by, and being able to put away my ego and walk away to focus on things that do fulfill me?
Meditation is finding the space so that we do not feel that we live an empty existence when we all have the potential for happiness and abundance by our own accord and definition.
Written by Forest Greenwell