Like many Buddhist themes, meditation has a halo of mystery and magic that prevents people from understanding what it really is.
There are those who think that meditating puts us in contact with gods or any kind of magical beings. Many think that to meditate is to put the mind in target. Others say that meditating makes us transcend other dimensions and other new age garbage.
It would seem that the simplest meaning is the one that most evades people: meditation is a mental process in which calm is sought by focusing the thought on only one thing at a time .
Come on, there is hard science behind meditation.
In Zen we say that zazen (sitting to meditate) is the act of moving without moving, reaching without reaching anything and that there is no reason or objective other than to accept life as it is.
When we sit down to meditate we center our thought on a single object (like breathing) and if something distracts us, we just let it go and return to our original object.
But how does it feel to meditate?
Science tells us that the brain is divided into two hemispheres:
The left is where the calculations are made, it is the home of logic and skepticism; and it is the area that allows us to see the world raw and realistic. This part of the brain is the most dominant in most people.
The right the house of art, abstraction and imagination and is where we become one with the cosmos. It’s the part of the brain that makes us cry when we see Kramer vs. Kramer. Here, feelings and creativity live.
It is important to mention that the above is a mini summary of both sides of the brain and leave the long explanations to neurologists. Suffice it to say that the thought process uses both hemispheres at the same time and that both function in a wonderful balance.
But knowing this we can say that when we meditate we voluntarily open the door that contains the right side of the brain and that is when amazing things happen.
When we make meditation a habit we can feel things that we could not otherwise.
Strictly speaking about me, about my experience:
When I sit down, I close my eyes and start, my mind reveals itself and throws me thoughts like a machine gun. Memories of childhood arrive, lists of pending, I analyze situations of the previous day and I remember that we have to clean the stove. I mean, I’m reluctant to just sit down.
Little by little, the speed at which thoughts arrive decreases, leaving a small space between thought and thought.
This space is getting bigger and bigger, until the thoughts take several seconds to arrive.
And that’s where the right part of the brain comes out.
I feel how my conscience is so big that it does not fit in my body. I feel the body, but it is no longer important because I am floating in nothingness. I feel light, without time and without space. I am part of the universe and there is no “I” because I am integrated into the world.
The problems, the sorrows and the joys … everything looks smaller and insignificant from afar because everything is part of the same.
I hear external noises. First they appear, they get stronger and then they begin to disappear. They are impermanent, just like life and everything in the universe. That is the nature of things.
For a moment I live in the immensity of my mind.
And then comes some thought that wants to seize me, but I just let it pass as if it were a cloud. I do not get hooked, I do not judge or comment on it.
This happens until my session ends. I open my eyes and I am ready to start my day.
I know it sounds very cosmic and pacheco (who abuses drugs), but that’s how the brain works when we meditate.
I thought it would be a good idea to share it because I have received this question many times and it was time to answer it.
The other day, by chance, they pointed me to this video of Jill Bolte, a neurologist who suffered a cerebral infarction and confirms what it feels like to meditate.