Why Meditate? Part 2

There are many scientifically proven and physically measurable benefits to meditating, some of which I described here last month.  But there are also more esoteric, spiritual reasons to meditate.  The idea of being on a spiritual path may not be your cup of tea, but for me, it's the reason that I go to my mat every day; it's the reason that I immerse myself in the study of yoga; it provides the deeper meaning to my life, describes it's purpose and brings comfort in the form of the teachers, students, yogis who have gone before me.  I am in the foothills; their view from the mountaintop continues to inspire and motivate me to continue to deepen my yoga practice.

I meditate to connect.  When I meditate, when I move deeply into a state of peace, for some reason that I am not sure of, but which mystics from all major religions and modern and ancient yogis have described, I feel absolutely connected with the world around me.  This feeling of connection reinforces my sense of belonging in the world and is at once both humbling and emboldening: I am just one small being, almost completely insignificant, yet I am me, with my own unique talents, capacities and gifts.  In a forest of trees, I am only one tree (just the same as all the others) and yet I occupy this particular space and, if you look closely, I am entirely unique.  What I have and who I am is something to be shown to the world and shared, not limited by my own self-doubt and shyness.

When we feel/know/understand that we are connected and that we are all the same/different, we can more easily reach out to others.  We can connect with them: the grumpy, the judgemental, the brave, the sad, the cowardly, the annoying, the quiet, the loud, for we know that we too are all of these things to a greater or lesser degree; that there is nothing that any other human does that we do not have the capacity for too.  If I reach out to you, then you are more likely to reach out to me, and then we are more likely to understand our connection and how deeply it runs.  If I reach out to you and you refuse me, then I still know that our connection is unbreakable, and so I continue to move towards you no matter what.  And humans need to connect; increasingly science proves what we have long suspected, that connecting with other human beings, animals and nature is crucial for human health.

Connection brings me contentment, because when I am connected I know that I already have everything that I need; that I don't lack anything.  How could I lack anything, when I am here in this right place at this right time doing this particular life?

When I meditate I connect with something greater and much more beautiful than me, but I acknowledge that I am a small and insignificantly beautiful part of that great whole.  All I need to do is to carry on carrying on with my life.

Without meditation and yoga practice that sense of connection comes (that feeling of being in the right place at the right time; the realisation that when I stop fighting, the answer comes; my wonder at the beauty of the world), but it is more elusive; it comes and goes.  When I meditate, then every morning I consciously reconnect with life, so that I feel, know and love my place in it for more of my day.

'Only connect' wrote EM Forster in Howard's End: connect with others, that you might understand more and judge less; connect with everything that you might find humility even as you come to honour your own brilliant uniqueness. 

If I connect with the world and with everything on the world, then I am humble because the world is astounding in its glory; if I connect with the world then I look after it, because nothing in it belongs to me, and yet I am profoundly grateful for it; if I connect with the world then I am not afraid to show it my love, or to receive love back from it.  I am it; it is me.  Only connect.


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