When kids are behaving badly, we tend to give them a timeout. This is usually because they become so wrapped up or fixated on one thing that their emotion or upset feeling takes over every interaction they have. This emotion that takes over is often anger, greed, frustration, or distress. While they sit in timeout, they remove themselves from the rest of the world and have a chance to reflect, rest, and realize that the emotion they were painting on to every interaction they had might be kind of silly. And how do they emerge after some minutes? They are usually calmer, more focused, and ready to start their next activity with a fresh outlook. This is essentially meditation.
For the longest time, I didn’t really “get” what meditation was. After years of doing yoga, the idea of what it meant began to grow organically through my practice. It’s essentially a self-imposed timeout. It’s a chance to withdraw from the world and get a sense for what is going on within us by observing ourselves. It’s an opportunity to see what emotion or thought is arresting our attention. Most people will avoid observing themselves by any means necessary. This is often done under a veil of busyness which seems to be a badge of honor in our society. But by actively not thinking about anything or distracting ourselves with the external, we somehow find solutions to our problems. It’s almost like a way to push a vehicle off the rutted path that is only getting more treacherously deep with each passing. In this case, the ruts are our thinking patterns.
You know how sometimes you feel like you totally know something, a simple fact, but the harder you think about it, the more quickly it wriggles away? Then, when you stop thinking about it, you randomly yell out the answer? That is sort of like meditation. By forgetting what you are trying to solve, answers suddenly crystallize.