Originally by Michael Andrews
Originally by Nine Inch Nails
Every time we’re hurt, every time we’re wounded, every time we’re traumatized, we close our heart a little more.
Over time, our heart can become entirely closed off, blocked, and we can no longer feel the Love that is all around us. We lose touch with our connection to the universe, and to everyone and everything in it. We no longer feel our place in the world.
We can feel all the love we want, anytime we want. We just have to open our heart.
Meditation has become hipper than vintage clothes and ironic mustaches in recent years, but have you ever wondered why meditate? What’s the point?
Common reasons given for meditation often revolve around the health benefits, mental and physical, calming the mind, reducing stress, sleeping better, reducing stress, etc. Or you might hear of more esoteric reasons, such as heightening your awareness, merging with the Cosmic Consciousness, becoming One with the Universe, or attaining Enlightenment.
Those are all true, but there’s a more practical and mundane reason to meditate: it can bring more fun into our lives.
Fun? How can meditation bring us more fun? Let’s answer that question by asking another: What is fun? What makes an experience fun? How do you know you’re having fun?
I recently asked this question in a meditation class I taught, and the answers fell along these lines: my heart is full of joy, my whole being feels light, I forget about the world, time flies by, I’m fully absorbed in what I’m doing, in the flow, in the zone.
An experience is fun when it pulls us out of ourselves and brings us fully into the present moment. But experiences always end, and then we’re left chasing after the next bit of fun.
That’s where meditation comes in, meditating pulls us into the present without going through some other experience, allowing us to directly forget about the world and feel our heart filled with joy, to feel lightness and ease permeate every fiber of our being.
As an added bonus, the more we meditate, the easier it becomes to lose ourselves in other experiences, to have more fun as we go about our daily lives. Because meditation helps quiet the mind, reducing the constant mental chatter that distracts us and prevents us from losing ourselves in the moment.
We usually think of fun as a quality inherent in an experience, something is fun when it over-rides our internal dialogue, drowns out the babbling that compares our current experience to our expectations of it. Our minds are often telling us what’s wrong with our current circumstances and then chattering on relentlessly: this restaurant is too crowded, this bar is too noisy, Michael is telling that same story again, should I have fish tacos for dinner, how many likes will this photo get, why is Karen such a bitch all the time?
All this mental activity prevents us from living in the moment, weighs us down, shoves love out of our heart, and instead fills us with dissatisfaction.
When we meditate, we enjoy a mini-vacation from that incessant blathering of the mind. Instead of living in our heads, we can live completely in our lives.
Personally, I found meditation in a dark time in my life, and it saved me, helped me find meaning in my life, purpose. But even if your life is already pretty good, meditation can help make it better. Meditation can bring more joy, more happiness into everyone’s life. Meditation can bring more Love into our hearts. Watch a video on this topic here.
Prairie Creek State Park, Humboldt County, CA
James Irvine trail to Miner’s Ridge Trail
My morning started in a little funk today, maybe because I woke up at 4:30 and then had weird, vivid dreams after that. Just felt tired, melancholy, disgruntled. So I was glad to be heading up to the big trees once again.
As soon as I started on the James Irvine trail, from the visitor’s center at Prairie Creek State Park, I entered another world. The giant, old-growth redwoods always seem magical, so impossibly big, massive, gnarled trunks fifteen feet across, crowns towering hundreds of feet above.
They make me feel like magic is real, like anything is possible. My grumpy mood was quickly consumed by wonder and awe. Around every turn more magnificence awaited.
The trail climbed up a long, gently slopping hill.
As I crested the ridge, a wispy mist created spectacular sunbeams!
Near the end of the trail, this crazy, spindly, moss-covered tree wrapped up the hike.
The drive back to McKinleyville winds along the coast, with jaw-dropping ocean views and too many lagoons to count.
Sitting on this beach, after magical hike, it’s hard to imagine what that morning funk felt like…
The more time I spend outside, the easier it is to see that the world is a beautiful place.
When I’m immersed in the wonder of nature, everything thing else fades away – all my worries, all my troubles – everything feels perfect.
All the times when I’ve been happiest in my life have been when I was spending lots of time outside.
I need to spend more time outside…