Two years ago, if you told me that it was possible to have a silent mind, I wouldn't have believed you. I probably would've thought that you were someone that wasn't curious enough or not questioning the status quo, like you should be. My mind raced circles around concepts, people, routine, the past, present, future. It was... uncomfortable. I'd take runs, hikes, yoga every damn day to grind out the buzzing chatter that filled my brain. Then, I found surf. It was the one thing that allowed me to be completely captivated, every sense fully present.
Today, my mind is quiet. I go to bed listening to the elements around me, mostly rain. It's wonderful. I'm not trying to brag, I'm trying to tell you that if you're someone with a busy, anxious, curious mind constantly grinding out ideas, worries, wants - that it's okay. It's an important phase, but I want to give you the hope that it is possible to not be a slave to your thoughts & emotions.
When I heard about meditation, I truly did picture sitting cross-legged in a room on a weird pillow from India with a candle and incense burning trying to open up some chakra as the standard. Realistically, I just didn't understand what meditation really was - but now I do. It's the practice of controlling your thoughts & harnessing your emotions. So... why would we do this? As life goes on, it just becomes more complicated & complex. Weird, bad, confusing, unexpected things happen and we never really understand why. We're always trying to make sense of it & the realization that anything can happen at any moment - the good, bad, the unfair. It really is sort of scary. People & places - they start to pile on us. We're constantly processing interactions, relationships, ambitions, wants, desires, temptations, heartbreaks, the future, and things as simple as, I'm hungry, I'm tired or as complex as, who am I and what's my purpose?
I realized, just this year how beautiful meditation is. I want to think of another word for it. Maybe it's silence, calm, stillness, like they say in yoga. To paint a picture for you, imagine your mind is a cool, calm lake. Really put yourself there, it's foggy but warm enough for a swim and inviting. There's hardly any sound except a very gentle sway of the wind in the trees. The lake looks like glass. This is it at its most beautiful, natural, undisturbed moment. Then, you dip your foot into it and it creates a gentle ripple across the glassy top and sensation into your body. Nothing bad, just a ripple. But then, the birds come, the boats come, the tourists come, weather comes and your beautiful placid lake is turbulent with distraction & stimulus. All these visitors to your lake aren't a bad thing, in fact, we love it! But... you kind of miss that calm, glassy cooling lake. When we meditate, we try to get back to that morning dewey lake after a day of turbulent stimulus from all of our visitors.
The way we get back to "the lake" is up to us. For me, I love to take a few moments, minutes, maybe somethings an hour to lay in bed, listen to a good song, and breathe. I don't think of or about anyone or thing. I'm just being. I find meditation in the ocean, a physical act sometimes like surfing. The getting ready ritual, the walk to the ocean, breathing, stretching, a gentle paddle, and harmony with the water. I'm not thinking about anything while I'm out there, I'm just being.
I'm no expert, only sharing my personal experience. How you find your lake is up to you, in your style and way but I hope you find it.