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Listen Lowly

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I know, I know – its getting annoying.  Meditation seems to be everywhere.  Wall street, Super Bowl, Huffington Post, US army.  Oprah talks about it, Ellen Degeneres talks about it, The American Heart Association talks about it.

Meditation is getting out of yoga studios and spiritual communities , into where life happens. It is trendy but is it just a trend? Is there more to it or is it just  another cool thing to do?  Is it the new pet of the affluent white minority that is always in the lookout for a new Thing? Is it like a cronut, a donut-croissant hybrid, that draws Newyorkers to line up in front of a French Patisserie in Manhattan every Friday , because, you know, this particular pastry is a must have or whatever.

There is no denying that meditation is, indeed, trending now. Google it and you get 40 million hits. But what makes a simple mind exercise, sitting 20 minutes eyes closed and focusing on your breathing, so alluring? From outside it looks as exciting as oatmeal porridge, which, by the way, also seems to be trending now.

The answer is, I think, that we are at the end of our ropes. Our brains are at their wits end. The constant information overload makes us crazy. Google anything and you get attacked by a tsunami of viewpoints and angles. There are endless ways to look at any given thing and the World Wide Web is bloated with them.

Our minds have evolved into looking for answers outside. Once upon a time this was a reasonable way to live. We lived under concrete threats. But it is different now. Our biggest enemy lives in our heads, in the brain´s  left hemisphere, to be precise.  We have developed a tendency to overreact to external things and circumstances, most of which would not deserve any attention at all. This leads to us shooting flies with cannons. Things get out of proportion. And vicious circles start their downward spiralling.

The idea that answers are found within, is a revolutionary one for many a Western person. It does not seem to make much sense.  But it does! It is exactly as Carl Jung said: “One who looks outside, dreams. One who looks inside, awakens”.  This truth has been verified in my life numerous times.

When you stop looking, answers come to you, by what Ralf Emerson called lowly listening. When you get into the space within, into that sacred and secret place that you may not even be aware of, you will start knowing.  Knowing is not so much about doing as it is about being.  When you learn to just be, things somehow unfold in front of your eyes and you get where you were going, without even trying.

But here´s the thing: This deeper knowing, also called intuition,  should not get mixed with wishful thinking. It easily does. It is only when you are aligned with who you really are, that you can start trusting your guts.

And meditation is the vehicle that takes you there.