Welcome to the One Week Responsive Universe Challenge – as seen on MindBodyGreen!

“If you are new to practice (meditation) it’s important to realize that simply to sit on that cushion for fifteen minutes is a victory”.

–          Charlotte Joko Beck

If you are having a difficult time connecting to meditation you are not alone. Have you tried to meditate only to end up frustrated and more agitated than when you started? It’s okay.

The first step in meditation is to simply be aware – mindful of all those thoughts careening through your head…. Most of the time we just let thoughts run ramped, simply unaware. Once you stop and actually focus on the steady stream of thoughts you realize it is a pretty busy place up there in the mind. No wonder some of us have a hard time falling asleep.

Where do thoughts arise from? Can you pin point it? Where do they go? Does the mind have a border or perimeter? Meditation only asks for mindfulness – nothing more…

What really is meditation? Meditation is the conscious focus of the present. What is happening right now? That is meditation… When we let our thoughts run ramped we are replaying tapes of fear and fantasy, past and future – the director of this mental function is your ego. When you root your mind in the present you are creating gaps between those thoughts of fear and fantasy, past and future. Your ego is powerless. You are living in the moment; present, authentic and connected to your True Nature – that is meditation: The focus is on what is happening right now – the experience at hand and all the feelings and emotions associated with that moment… and the next moment… and the next moment….

Did you know you can meditate anytime and anywhere?

I do bike riding meditations all the time. Walking meditations are great too because any meditation that includes exercise is fantastic! I have this beautiful forest preserve near my home with miles of trails that traverse ponds, tree tunnels, marshes and wild flower fields – no man made intervention, few people, lots of birds and sometimes perfect clouds above. As I ride, I connect to what is around me and not the continuous thoughts in my head. As I ride I breathe in the sweet air, notice the intricacies and beauty of nature and in doing so; stretch those gaps in my mind between aimless thoughts. Within those authentic gaps is this sublime connection to energy, relaxation, reverence and bliss. Most times I will ride between 10-17 miles which can take up to 2 hours. Along the way I will stop and simply settle into the moment around me. My thoughts slow, inspiration and awareness is fine-tuned and there is this heartfelt feeling that I am evolving in the right direction.

That is meditation….

John C. Bader

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