Someone recently told me the difference between prayer and meditation:
“Prayer is when you speak to god and meditation is when god speaks to you.”
Once I had heard it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I really loved this concept and the words kept coming back to me.
Since we’re halfway through Ramadan, I’ve been thinking a lot about spirituality and what it means to me. I love feeling connected to a greater being but if I’m honest, sometimes praying and asking for things from god just seems….greedy almost.
I’m also finding that with a demanding job and the upkeep of all the different aspects of blogging & social media, my mind has become so cluttered with flitting thoughts that my attention span seems to be getting shorter by the day. I’m constantly refreshing pages to stay up to date with the current and it gets kinda overwhelming.
I decided this just wasn’t healthy and I need to find a way to filter out all these thoughts to regain mental clarity and so perhaps meditation would be the answer.
I’m halfway through writing a post on rediscovering parks in London and as I grew to appreciate them more I realised with this came the perfect opportunity and circumstance to meditate.
I work a stones throw away from Crystal Palace park so I could easily fit it into my week without too much change to my routine.
I didnt really have a picture in my head of how meditation should be carried out. Was it crossed legged in my sportswear with my eyes closed, all the while sitting perfectly upright? Are you supposed to chant something? I wasn’t too sure so Instead I decided to be practical. I took with me my yoga mat, water (when I wasn’t fasting) and a small notebook and pen which I would keep beside me.
Initially I found it ridiculously hard. My brain started thinking of ways for me to leave and I felt a constant need to check the time but I wanted to give it a real go so I began setting an alarm for a time that I absolutely had to leave by and then putting my phone away in my bag.
Eventually I would also turn my phone on airplane mode so the urge to check my notifications wouldn’t be so strong.
Once I settled down, my next hurdle was that I found it so hard to relax. I kept thinking of how silly I looked and then started scaring myself into thinking I would be robbed if my eyes were closed. The mind really is a funny thing.
In truth, I felt weird sitting in an open space and in complete silence. I guess the word I’m looking for is vulnerable. Vulnerable to my own thoughts.
I began by focusing on positive things in my life and let my mind wonder from there. Every so often I’d open my eyes and make some notes on my thoughts so as not to forget them. I wanted to be able to record my journey and reflect on it at a later date.
More often than not, the negative thoughts or things that have been bothering me push through quicker than positive thoughts. I’m still working on getting this meditation thing right but one thing I’m really enjoying is discovering the art of forgiveness – forgiving myself and forgiving others.
Forgiveness isn’t the same as condoning negative behaviour from ourselves or anyone else. But we so easily hold ourselves infinitely responsible, often for experiences utterly out of our control or from a long time ago. Similarly we sometimes allow someone else to influence our lives long after they’ve gone. With forgiveness, we make amends when needed but let go of the extra baggage.
I feel like in just a few short weeks I’ve learnt so much about myself and if anything I’ve gained a little bit more perspective. It’s quickly becoming something I really look forward to and would definitely recommend everyone to give it a go.