Learning to meditate was and is the single most important choice I have ever made! There was a time when my life was dominated by the noise and nonsense of my circumstances. In all its varied forms my identification with and deferral to this noise and nonsense simply reflected the level and extent to which I had lost myself to those circumstances.
Meditation allowed me to begin to re-identify with not only the purity of silence but also the real 'me' that was the silence. This state of Self-referral continues to transform all levels of my being. It has become the source my inner healing and the inspiration that helps me navigate through my life. While the other spiritual practices I also use contribute deeply to my overall well being, meditation has been the one constant over the past 18 years.
My life was in crisis when I made the decision to learn to meditate. I had been depressed on and off for most of my childhood and early adulthood. The inner turmoil of these emotional periods peaked in the late 80's with the experience of unrequited love and the loss of my mother to cancer. Twenty-seven years of life had pushed me over the edge and it was the cushioned silence of meditation that caught me, forever changing me in benign ways I will never fully comprehend. Still, I feel compelled to share what I have learned from this profound practice as best I can. I have practiced meditation since the fall of 1989.
In 2001, I began a new chapter on my meditative path by first learning and then becoming a Certified Primordial Sound Meditation instructor with Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing. Primordial Sound Meditation is a technique that finds its origions in India. Primordial Sounds-the basic, most essential sounds of nature-are used to disconnect us from the activity of life. These individually selected sounds, known as mantras, are based on the vibration the universe was making at the moment of your birth. Primordial Sound Meditation is one type of meditation that can be easily learned in four short sessions over a period of a few days.
There are many scientific and personal documented benefits of the daily practice of meditation. We know that meditators experience increased levels of energy, vitality and renewal. For me it has become a way to navigate the tapestry of my experience more effortlessly as the thread of silence is woven into the core of my existence.
Silence is the playground of our divinity. When the mind is given basic ingredients it will naturally transcend into the silence that is its source. This 'field' of silence cannot be experienced intellectually as, by definition, it is beyond the mind and the cognitive process. But certain meditation techniques allow the mind to settle down enough that we begin to know silence intimately as our own essence and nature.
The choice to place our attention on the virtue of silence, which can be found in the gap between our thoughts, allows us to introduce silence not only to our awareness but also into the very activity of our daily lives. The experience of transcendence becomes a practical endeavor. The restoration of stillness ripples through our consciousness, triggering profound effects in all our relationships. Blood pressure is reduced, anxiety is tempered or disappears. Increased brain wave coherence improves our attention span, creativity, memory retrieval and learning abilities. The list becomes a footnote needing no statistical validation for those who engage the silence of meditation on a consistent basis. As our activity becomes saturated with the non-activity of meditation, we begin to access and acquire silent knowledge - knowledge that lies beyond the rationally thinking, culturally-conditioned hypnosis into which most of us have been indoctrinated.
Silence is the source of all inspiration and genius; it is the birthplace of all happiness. Our conscious access to this unbounded domain of awareness provides a resource of unlimited potential, calibrated with accuracy and precision, grounded in the womb of creation itself. Meditation is a vehicle that provides us with a nonverbal, direct experience of truth that lies in the core essence of the worlds' greatest and most sacred teachings. Inherent within this field of silence is the freedom to create any eventuality, a freedom that comes to us as we embody a level of pure awareness that gradually neutralizes the bondage of self imposed, self limiting illusions that lie within the mask of our mortality and material existence.
For me the practice of meditation gives life and colour to the heart of my Spirituality. The virtue of silence is the vehicle of inner and outer transformation, an accessible doorway to the mysteries at the heart of creation. When we asses the history of our own and collective stories, it has always been a single attitude, a single idea, a single choice, a single human being that changed the course of destiny. Learning to meditate can be a gift not only for your personal transformation, but also your personal opportunity to influence in the most subtle but powerful way, the course of humanity and the collective consciousness - and that's when the magic really begins...
michael sean symonds is a certified instructor of Primordial Sound Meditation with Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center for WellBeing and facilitates in the field of personal growth and Spirituality. He is in the process of promoting his second book: ZEN Shredding: Insights, Questions and Confessions of a meditator and novice snowboarder on the pursuit of dreams.