Why Meditate?

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” – Marcus Aurelius

When I meditate, I am putting my world on pause. If even for a moment, I put everything else to the side and I concentrate on simple sensations such as my breath, or if I’m doing a body scan, one part of my body at a time.

So what does that do for me exactly?

It grounds me in the present. The only thing that I have some control over, and that control is really only about what I’m doing, thinking, feeling, or saying in THAT moment.

Now this is not a cure all for depression, anxiety or PTSD, but rather, this is an exercise that allows me to be present with myself, and understand as I systematically look at all of the distractions that freely come and go as external influencers that, try as they might, have no control over how I perceive them.

Like the quote says, “Look well into yourself”. Not concentrate on your problems, issues and setbacks. Look into yourself. Listen to your body. Pay attention to the sensations of your body. Everyone of those sensations is a source of strength, because it grounds you with the present.

Sometimes I’ll have a day when I feel like I haven’t done anything right. I’ve let down my family, my wife, kids, friends, my Marines and Sailors. I get so caught up in what went wrong that I forget to address what’s going right.

My lungs drawing in air and distributing oxygen to my body….. That’s something that’s so far from my control, that there myst be a reason for it. I can hold my breath, but I’ll eventually pass out and start breathing again, so I might as well respect that my body is an instrument to take me to the next plateau.

All of the other thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations are just that. Thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. And even though they might distract me from that simple act of breathing, they can’t stop it. My lungs keep drawing in air, over and over again, regardless of these “thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations”.

My body knows the score and if it’s still drawing in that air, then maybe there’s a reason for it. Some of us are carrying around a lot of weight in the form of heartache, suffering, traumatic experiences. Some of us have the blood of the enemy, the innocent and our friends pooled and dried together in the creases of our skin, and yet our lungs are still drawing in air.

Maybe, there’s a reason for that.

Some of us are tortured by past events, and how we reacted to them. Some of us are tortured by events that never happened at all, and maybe we feel like we were cheated. Like we didn’t get a turn.

But the more you study the world and tune into yourself, the more you realize how little control we have over it. The more you practice the art of meditation, the better you become at recognizing outside influences for what they are, and you find it easier and easier to deal with life’s setbacks. In fact, you stop looking at them as setbacks all together.

Just like every other distraction, those setbacks become another opportunity to get back in touch with your higher self, and tune into your body. Another opportunity to be thankful for your breath.

Is your life going to be easy? Probably not, but is it really ever? Life is struggle. Life is conflict. Get used to it and understand that you have a choice to make yourself stronger, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

The best part about this concept is when you make it a regular practice, you’re going to start taking yourself a lot more lightly. You’ll understand more and more that the simple gift of being present with yourself is an opportunity to ground yourself in reality.

If you’re thorough, you’ll realize that you are more than the sum of all of your faults. You’re a human being inside of a temporary vessel that is programmed to exist.

You’re not going to wake up and go straight to work. You’re not going to rise from your slumber and start fighting with your spouse, or yelling at your kids. You’re not going to automatically start criticizing yourself for what you’re not.

As you practice meditation more and more, you’ll realize that these are all choices. The only thing your body is going to do on it’s own is draw in oxygen. It’s up to you to find out the purpose, and if you don’t know what that is yet, that’s perfectly OK too. It’ll come in time.

With each distraction that comes and goes during our meditation, take stock of what’s important, and what is not.

In time, you’ll get better at recognizing what’s not important and as you let it go in your meditation practice, you’ll stop dragging it around with you in other areas of your life as well.

This is the message I want to spread, and I am thankful for all of my customers and supporters who have helped me to build this platform. Dollar Mountain Woodworks is named after a little scrap of land that my best friend and I grew up on. He took his own life in 2002, and since then I have lost over a dozen close friends to this way of thinking, and now that I have a way to get my message across, it’s my hope, dream and mission in life to help you understand that there is truth in Marcus’ words. I am excited to take this first step, and I hope to see you as we trudge this road together. 

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”