This article is a submission for the Ayahuasca Awareness Program, an initiative by the Spirit Vine Center in Brazil. The program aims to help increase awareness of the potential of ayahuasca by sponsoring free ayahuasca retreats every month for people who feel the call for spiritual development with ayahuasca and other methods.

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Insights from Meditation

Meditation has been a topic for studies to scientists, researchers and people who have major influence in our society for a long time now, yet there is still so much to discover about it and many of us barely know what meditation is about.

For some is an alternative therapy said to help cope with anxiety, stress and many other psychological issues we hear so much about now days. For many others, it can also be a spiritual practice. A pathway to wisdom and self-awareness, a deep connection with yourself and the divine.

There are different types of meditations, some with mantras or yoga. We can also find many different definitions on books or by religious groups.

Let us make an easy approach.

The basics are very simple:

  1. Find a quiet and pleasant place.
  2. Sit in a comfortable position.
  3. Focus on your breath, in and out.
  4. Thoughts will pop up, accept them and let them go.
  5. If you lost track, relax and get back to your breath.

Looks easy enough, right? Practice for beginners can be quite difficult or frustrating, but I quote Seneca on this one.

 “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; It is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

I had my own challenges trying to apply meditation in my life, however after putting some dedication and specially consistency to it, it became what for me today is a daily habit.

So, can we have our lives significantly changed by meditating?

Here are some benefits and even what I consider to be insights that I was able to learn through meditation.

Be truly present in the moment.

I learned that being present, is more than just paying attention. I started to feel things differently and be part of them, without rationalizing.

After many practices, I was able to reach a state in which I feel completely open and my senses are amplified.

I don’t think, but I feel everything. The breeze of the wind passing by my skin, birds sound in the distance or the sun warming up my body. It’s like I’m part of everything and there are no barriers between me and those external things happening outside. All is connected, all is the same and all is perfect.

That comes with a great feeling of peace, stillness and gratefulness, but I was only able to notice the big changes, after the meditation. That state of being present stays for a while. So, after the practice, every activity I engage myself with, I’m more connected to it.

Soon, I noticed how I could better listen to people, not just hear them, but truly comprehend and understand their ideas and messages. Would be the same for any other activity, my level of response changed and many of the tasks which before were taking longer for me to accomplish, were now easier and faster to interact with.

That was magic for me. Not to feel peace, present and focused only while meditating, but cultivate that state and carrying it on to others moments in my life, learning that it is always within me.

Increased level of perception

Through the practice of meditation, I was able to have a better understanding of my thoughts and develop what seems like a third point of perception towards myself.

The first would be me meditating or attending to my daily tasks, the second are all those random thoughts popping up in my head, but the third is a connection between these two parallels. A connection that helps me see where is that thinking coming from, understand the root of that thought and check why am I still thinking about it.

This took me to my sense of self and beliefs, made me reflect how we all see the world through our lenses. It helped me understood that my perception about an event is a thought that can be replaced instantly by an acceptance, then an understanding and finally a conclusion with a new and better vision about it.

Ego & behavior

By meditating, it became easier to notice when my ego was showing off or when my emotions were overpowering my intelligence. So, I started to develop a vigilant mind.

The serenity that I’ve acquired by meditating, helps me during the day to have more self-control and to master my emotions. To a point in which my steady behavior won’t change based on an unforeseen scenario or an uncomfortable situation.

In addition, meditation helped me recognize traits of thinking and ego. It was an opportunity to change how I react when going through some phases in which before, ego would take over, leading to a not quite suited behavior.

Meditation is a great teacher to you about you.

So, can we have our lives significantly changed only by meditating?

No, only by meditating probably not. Sitting quiet and relaxing for half an hour may help you sleep better or reduce your stress levels, but that’s not a significant change.

However, when you truly commit yourself enough to any activity that has good consequences, it starts to become a lifestyle. Takes much more than just meditating to have a significant change, but that may be the beginning. As long as there is consistency, growth and changes will come and with that many other good things too.

To conclude, I leave a final reflection.

I’ve never met someone that is a meditation practitioner and don’t exercise other good habits beyond meditation. Yet, I met many people who don’t meditate, but can be completely devoted to the moment and tasks at hand.

That could be working with plants in the garden, showering a baby, playing the piano, running a marathon or cooking a meal. During these moments they manifest love, they connect with the present without worry about past or future. They become one with the task and the best in them shows up and is shaped in their occupation, whatever it may be.

Even if those moments are not titled as meditation, approaching them from this point of view, they might as well can be. I was there during these moments, being part of their journey and daily routines. Thanks to my reflections and growth from meditating, I was able to let go of control, enjoy and flow with the moment. In other words, their journey was also my journey and we were connected by the same energy.

Whether you notice or not, this energy is around you, flowing through you and by you. Connected with more than we can imagine, always present and always happening.

By Lucas Walker
Former music teacher and military.
Stoic practitioner, spiritual lover and researcher.
Now studying personal development and graduating as a physical exercise specialist.

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