This question came from Mary-Lou. It is simple - meditation is the KEY. Meditation properly performed will lead you to the inner door, and unless you find this door and go through it, you have no chance of dealing with the restrictive programming that you have accumulated on your journey through life.
We have all gathered programming from our past patterns of thought and behaviour. Some of this no longer serves us and the understanding you seek lies beyond it. By going beyond the inner door, you will also touch the true essence of yourself, your soul. This will in turn uplift, heal and inspire you.
We have all built a wall between our outer (ego) self and our inner self. In between the two selves is the accumulated baggage, which makes up our issues. Once we are able to understand these issues (and realise that a lot of them no longer serve us), we can let them go, and find a clearer pathway between our two selves. Our ego (external self) is largely a projection of our patterns (programming). As we let go of these patterns, our outer self changes to be more aligned with our true (soul) self.
In the wall (which is actually a veil) is a door; many have called it the hidden door. Your ego self will do everything it can to avoid even acknowledging that there is a door, and it will do everything it can to keep you from doing anything that will help you to find the door, let alone go beyond it.
This is where meditation comes in and why it is vital in our quest for healing and ongoing happiness, for when you find yourself happy for no good reason, you are getting somewhere.
So how does one meditate? And how does one determine which of the many meditation techniques are appropriate? The first thing to understand is that there is no exclusive technique that is superior to any other techniques. Simply put, you need to find the one that works for YOU. In order to do this you need to try a few different techniques to see what works.
Perhaps the first thing that you need to do is know is that your mind will not leave you alone (most people's minds constantly chatter,) close your eyes right now and try to turn off the chatterbox mind. What happened? You didn’t get very far did you? The key here is that you need to give your mind something to do - this kind of tricks it. This is where a guided meditation is of great value. Your mind will be satisfied with something to do, even though you will have to work hard at it not going off into its usual tangents of thought that go absolutely nowhere.
When your thoughts begin to wander (and they will), you are not making a mess of meditating - it is quite normal, so don’t give up and know it’s okay, keep going. All you need to do is to gently bring your mind back to the thing you are focusing on. Paying attention to your breath can be of great help, as can focussing on the sensations around you: what you can feel, smell and hear (really listening). Be patient with yourself. You will find that with practice you will get better. Remember, meditation is an art; it takes time to develop this art.
We are told that humans only use a small percentage of their brain. This is because we haven’t yet learned to control what we do use. Once we master our monkey minds (and this is a monumental task), we will begin to access the other deeper aspects. In doing so, we will operate with more order and direction, for the disorder in us is a direct expression of the disorder in our thoughts. Fix and find order within and your world will change.
Coming back to meditation, I believe many of us (apart from those proficient in meditation) need to be guided in meditation. This, as I have mentioned, gives the mind something to do and it teaches us focus. Once you focus, your mind becomes still, thoughts cease and you will find yourself beyond the door where you can do two things: sort out the baggage, and experience your true self. Get to this point and you'll be on your way to true freedom and understanding of all things.