As Tim and I were driving from Florida to Georgia, a couple of days ago, we heard the radio announcer say that mindfulness is making its way to the Florida public schools.
Wow. This is truly a major testimonial to the value, or at least the perceived value of mindfulness.
But when we say, mindfulness, what exactly are we referring to? From what we notice on a day to day basis, the first thing that comes to people’s minds, when they hear the term mindfulness, is meditation.
If you are already an experience meditator, you don’t need to read any further. Thank you for visiting our page. And keep up the great work.
But if you are like the rest of us, the word meditation, makes you roll your eyes, cross your arms, and defend yourself with something along the lines of:
I just can’t sit down and meditate, my mind is all over the place.
Fear no more. You are not alone.
You are not the only one confused by something that seems so essential to our health and well-being.
Keep on reading.
In order to figure out why we were failing so bad in something that seemed so popular, Tim and I decided to go back to the basics.
What is meditation?
After searching everywhere for the definition of meditation, we realized that meditation is yet to be precisely defined. In contemporary literature, as well as in day to day conversation, the term meditation is often used in a non-specific sense. Meditation is commonly described as a fundamental method “to purify the mind” or “to expand the consciousness” .
And that is where the problem lies. A lot of abstraction… 🙂 Definitions and statements like the ones above is what leads to a lot of the mysticism and the subsequent confusion surrounding meditation.
How do you “purify your mind” or “expand your consciousness”?
Meditation in Ancient Greece
The Ancient Greeks come to the rescue. Meditation was a very common practice in Ancient Greece. The Greek word for meditation was “melete“. Melete was the term referring to disciplined study, a mental exercise or an exercise in thought.
However, according to the highly practical Ancient Greeks, every human action, or behavior had to have a higher purpose. As such, an exercise in thought, would be considered pointless, or a waste of time, if it were not for a certain goal.
That makes perfect sense. What are you trying to accomplish by doing what you are doing? Is there a purpose?
Much to Tim’s delight, here is another story from the highly symbolic world of Greek mythology.
The ancient Greeks believed that inspiration was being bestowed upon them by three Muses, Melete being one of them. The other two were her sisters, Mneme (memory) and Aoide (song, voice).
These three sisters, were daughters of Sky (Ouranos) and Earth (Gaia). It is probably no surprise to you that creators of all sorts, still to this day, refer to their inspiration as their Muse.
Find Your Inner Muse
We believe that the Ancient Greeks chose the concept of the three sisters to represent the gift of inspiration because they wanted it to serve as a reminder.
Disciplined study of anything, without reflection, or without the ability to communicate our words, is merely useless.
Let’s think about it for a brief moment.
What has your personal history taught you? What is happening to you today based on your past? What will happen in the future based on the past and present?
It is your memory, your capacity to reflect upon, that gives you the ability to understand situations and relationships.
It is your spoken or written word that gives you the ability to share with others that which you learned.
These three sisters represent the three gifts of the human mind — that of mental exercise, that of reflection, and that of vocalization or expression.
In other words, maybe not as poetic as those of the ancients, quit becoming frustrated by trying to empty your mind, or purify your mind, or expand your consciousness.
Instead, find something worth doing, discipline yourself in studying it, reflect upon it, share what you learned with others, and you will experience the bliss of true meditation.
To learn more about structured and non-structured meditation (as opposed to the modern commodity or new-age meditation) take our 300-hr Yoga & Ayurveda Teacher Training in the North Georgia mountains, starting May 29, 2020.
And if you liked this, please hit the like button, share, and subscribe if you haven’t already. 🙂 Until next time much, much love from both of us! Na’maste kala! Which in Greek means: May we all be well! – Tim and Vie
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