How to meditate…?
22 March 2020.
Dad had a relapse of his mental illness.
Tuesday night, he suddenly told me that he started to get worried and fearful for no reason. His mind couldn’t stop thinking and he feels miserable.
I asked him what he was thinking about and what he was fearful of, he couldn’t articulate and the only thing he said was “I don’t know”.
It was more than 20 years ago when he had this problem and it took him many years to calm down his worrying mind by taking muscle relaxation medicine.
Never would I expect that this illness of his would return after so many years.
Have I not gone into meditation and reading up books on spirituality, I would be as helpless as I was many years ago when he first had this illness.
As he shared with me his unknown worries and fears, suddenly he asked me how to meditate. I looked at him with surprise but at the same time loss of words. I believe he has seen me doing meditation every day and also read up somewhere that meditation will help him calm his mind.
How to meditate…. my thoughts run through my mind. This wasn’t the first time I was being asked this question. And usually, I have problem replying, because my reply always seem to be too easy to be true.
I paused for a moment and then replied: “Just sit down with legs crossed and then focus on your breathing.”
“But I cannot sit down quietly. My mind will run wild and that is my problem now.”
“Sure you can, if your mind runs wild, just bring it back to your breath. And inside you, just mentally say to yourself – I’m breathing in, I’m breathing out. Just start with 1 to 5 minutes first. Get a feel of it.”
“Even if I can do it, I will only be calm for 5 minutes, then I will be back to the worrying state again.”
“Meditation is not an overnight thing, and it definitely can’t help you if you just do it for 5 minutes and just do it once. You have to do it consistently, day and night, and slowly increasing the time.”
He wasn’t convinced, I knew.
Then I made him sat down with me and meditated for 5 minutes with a guided meditation via Insight Timer.
As we got out of the meditation, he felt that meditation didn’t help him.
I can’t blame him, I can’t blame anybody. Have I not persisted in 2017, I wouldn’t believe in meditation as well. It takes me more than 2 years to really feel the benefits of meditation. And even till now, I am having challenges in meditation when I am really upset or frustrated.
It was the Saturday before yesterday, my new manager asked me and my colleague out for a “chill out”. I knew it wasn’t just a chill out, for I have been a “trouble maker” to him. And as expected, he was trying his best to explain why he did certain things or made certain decisions, which I told him right on his face that I disagreed on the way things were being managed.
I hoped for a team work, not a “I team you work” manager. I hope for a manager who will help to solve problems even if it means getting his hands dirty, and not one who is not keen in picking up and learning and just wanting to optimise his team resources.
At the end of the session, he popped me the same question: “How to meditate?” I was also dumbfounded for a moment as I did not know how to reply.
It is to me easy, and I can understand that it is difficult to the others. I do not know how to convince others that meditation is as simple as just sitting there and not trying to achieve anything. It’s just being present in the moment, feel the breath, feel the air, listen to the surroundings, listen to the spinning fan, the roaring train etc.
There’s nothing to achieve, for the moment we wish to achieve something, we are defeated.
COVID-19 continues to be the top of the news. And I know that it has instilled fears in many people in many countries. Shelves in the supermarkets were emptied as the virus continues to haunt us. People become paranoid, and there are thousands of people who have contracted the corona virus fighting for their lives.
But here we are in corporate organisations still pushing hard for KPIs and project timelines, which is not wrong. What is wrong is that the way these are being pushed have become unreasonable, unsatisfiable, and unscrupulous.
And I see my management scrambling to satisfy the unreasonable requests from the top, ignoring the exhausted people on the ground, just to ensure that their jobs are secured.
I wonder, I really wonder, if they have contracted the corona virus, does it mean anything more to them if they have their jobs secured? In Chinese, there is a saying that goes: we don’t cry till we see the coffin.
Isn’t that true for all?
I tried to sketch a tree and a swing today, trying to depict the peace and serenity. It is part of the my practice to be a better artist. It didn’t turn out to be good at all, but I am comforted that I achieved peace in my mind, body and soul while sketching.
These two days I had a chat with my beloved friend in Australia. She was stressed by some matters, and all I could do was to remind her repeatedly to stay present and mindful. It is very common for human beings to worry, and that includes me. But the bare minimum I could do as someone who loves her is to remind her to breathe when she feels stress.
It has been a long long time since we last chat as friends, and I am really thankful that we did and I was there for her when she needed someone to remind her and also provide a third party perspective to her. And I love her.
And I am also thankful that though my dad is having a relapse of his mental illness, at least he brought it up to me, and I will see how I can use my learnings to guide him. And I love him…
How to meditate… it’s really simple.. yet it is difficult. The most difficult part is the belief that we cannot meditate because our mind will run wild. What many people fails to understand is that meditation is really just staying quiet and let it be and the only way not to let the mind runs wild is to focus on breathing.
I was playing with my new Apple Watch for the past two weeks, and my watch face changed every other day, as I wasn’t satisfied with how it looked.
Then finally, I settled on this watch face that has a picture that I took. It is a simple picture but I love it very much. It is through photography that I learned about simplicity. The simpler it is, the better the picture look.
It’s the same as our mind, by being present, everything becomes simple, for what we have is just that moment. The past is gone, the future is too complicated as it can happen in any way out of our expectation.
So just keep it simple, be in the present moment, love the ones that I love and tell them I love them, for I do not know when I will leave this world, or contract the corona virus, and miss the chance of telling them I love them.
At bare minimum, I can shower them with love now.