I love meditation because it wakes me up.
Meditation allows me to experience my life deeply and consciously, instead of sleepwalking through it.
Before I encountered meditation, I was trapped in my mind… and I didn’t even realize it. I was experiencing anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc on a daily basis, and I just thought, “Yeah, this is just how life is. Life sucks and then you die.”
Then, one day, while walking around in my normal fog of anxiety and ADHD, I happened to find myself in a “book store” called “Borders” (book stores are places people used to buy “books” – primitive paper-based reading devices – before the internet put them all out of business).
I’ll be honest… I wasn’t really looking for books. I was looking for cute, smart, bookworm girls — one of my many cravings/addictions at the time. I spotted an attractive brunette standing next to a table with some books on it. I walked over, picked up a book and opened it up to a random page. My plan was to say “hmm,” and make some interesting comment to get a conversation going. Pretty sneaky huh?
I didn’t even look at the cover of the book. I didn’t know what it was called or what it was about. I don’t remember which paragraph I read, but it went something like this:
“When you let go of the incessant thinking in your mind, you suddenly become aware of the fundamental experience of Being. You can’t be aware of Being by thinking about it. The mind can’t comprehend it, because Existence is not a concept. It is Reality, which is beyond the mind. You can only experience it, now.”
I stopped for a moment to try to figure out what that meant. I wanted to “experience Being…” and be “beyond the mind” — whatever that meant. All of a sudden, a shiver ran up my spine. My mind was quiet. I was just BEING, for the first time since I was a little child.
I looked around the room, and it was like I had never seen the world before. I saw everything so much more CLEARLY… as if in HD. The bookshelves, the tables, the people… even the space between the bookshelves, and the air and space that filled the room, allowing for shelves and books to exist, and for people to move about.
I was fully aware of the sensations in my body, as if for the first time.
Everything was quiet. I was able to hear the sounds around me, as if there had been a white noise machine blaring in my head for many years, and it was finally turned off.
It reminded me of what it was like to be a child. There was a joy and a curiosity in just BEING ALIVE… just looking around with curiosity and amazement. ”Wow! Look at this place!”
For lack of a better way of saying it, it felt like being startled awake, after having been completely immersed in a dream.
I looked at the room around me, I looked at myself, and I felt like I was a kid in a bookstore-playground. Except now I was a grown-up and I could do whatever I wanted!
It felt like I was a child who had fallen asleep, sleepwalked through life for 15 years, and now, in a moment, woken up in a bookstore.
The shivers running up my spine were making me feel lighter, like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders after years of carrying it around.
I read another paragraph; it said something like this:
“The mind can feel like a heavy burden if we never learn to put it down. When we enter The Now, there’s a feeling of lightness and joy; a feeling of childlike happiness that wells up from within and fills one’s entire being. This is joie de vivre, the joy of life, that flows in when one is aware of Being in the present moment.”
I looked at the front cover of the book. It was called “The Power of Now.” I looked up at the girl standing next to me, I looked back at the book, and I smiled as I walked away, found a nice cozy spot, and sat down to read on. I must have read for an hour and a half before I stood up, went downstairs and bought the book. That book changed my life forever.
After being trapped in my mind for my entire adult life, I felt freed by The Power of. Now. I could still think just as clearly (actually I could think more clearly), but I didn’t feel the need to be thinking ALL THE TIME. The moments of Just Being were blissful and frequent. I found myself doing things I never imagined I would do, backpacking alone through mountains and jungles, journeying across the face of the Planet.
Before that moment in the book store, I walked around for over a decade, living in a dream, not even realizing that I was asleep. That moment of “waking up” reminded me that I was alive, in a beautiful world.
But ultimately, my mind was so used to dreaming that I would continuously fall back asleep. I would go for months before waking up again… living a life of 99.99% sleeping, 0.01% experiencing. Sometimes I would pick up The Power of Now and it would wake me up. Sometimes it wouldn’t, and then I’d get really frustrated, knowing that I was dreaming, but being unable to wake up.
Nowadays, when I notice that I’ve gotten sucked into the dream of mind, all I have to do to wake up is to stop for a moment and meditate. It only takes a few seconds, and it wakes me up… every time.
And that is why I love meditation.