One of the (many) things I love about Vedic meditation is its simplicity and lack of judgment.
Too often, when stressed-out people with busy minds decide to seek a meditation practice, they hear, “sit up straight”, “breathe through the pain”, “work hard and it’ll get better after a few months”, and “clear your mind of thoughts”.
No wonder people are hesitant to stick with it! What do my new students hear when they decide to learn Vedic meditation? “There’s no suffering in Vedic meditation”. Here’s why:
Do less, accomplish more. Do least, accomplish most. Do nothing, accomplish everything.” This simple, beautiful Vedic principle underlies the whole Vedic meditation practice. When else in our lives do we get to succeed by doing nothing? When we practice Vedic meditation, we finally get a break from the need to work and get and achieve in order to find fulfillment. We already are fulfillment.
- We don’t have to sit uncomfortably, in an upright position, with our legs crossed and our hands in a cool-looking but tricky position. In Vedic meditation, we sit comfortably, with our backs supported. Why? If we aren’t comfortable, it is more difficult to transcend our thoughts and access bliss. And Vedic meditation is all about bliss.
- We don’t have to focus, concentrate, or clear our minds of thoughts to practice Vedic meditation. Thoughts aren’t just tolerated, like a pesky little brother that we wish wasn’t around. They are a welcome part of meditation. They are a sign that we are doing it right!
- We don’t have to be vegetarians or carry any certain beliefs to practice Vedic meditation. Vedic meditation works, no matter who we are, what we eat, what we believe, or what we look like. We may, eventually, choose to give up some habits that don’t serve us well… but it will be entirely our decision to do so.
- We never fight against sleep in meditation. Sleep is a sign that we’re doing it right! What do we expect will happen when we give our body so much rest (up to 2-5 times more than any point in a night’s sleep) that it is finally able to stop the near-constant barrage of stress chemicals (cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine), and bathe in the bliss chemicals (such as serotonin and endorphins) that we make when we meditate?
Our bodies are saying, “THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STARTING THIS AMAZING PRACTICE! FINALLY I CAN REST!” Let the body rest. Sleep is good.
- Noise is not a barrier to meditation. If we can think a thought (our mantra), we can meditate. There’s no need for sound-proof headphones, ear plugs, waterfalls, white noise, Enya, or any other meditation crutches. I’ve meditated on airplanes, subways and car trips, and in airport terminals, coffee shops and nail salons (ok, the pedicure meditation wasn’t my best, but, in a pinch…).
- If we have an itch, scratch it! If our knee hurts, change positions! Pain and suffering are not part of this practice.
Meditation doesn’t have to be punishing. Students of Vedic meditation are easily able to practice 20 minutes, twice a day, right from the beginning. And, provided we are effortless, anything that happens in Vedic meditation is welcome and embraced. Anyone can meditate, and everyone can benefit.
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