Most of us live in an 'illusionary' self, a self that has been built from the conditioning we have gathered along our journey through life. We are taught to be individuals, to achieve, to be better than those around us. To win the race, get the best marks, to stand out. We are taught to be the best. To get there, we are taught to function from the left brain - the brain of reason and logic.
While we need our left brain to live in this three dimensional world, without a healthy, functioning right brain to work in conjunction with the left brain, we have no balance and little idea who we truly are. We are not taught (except by certain schools or very aware and balanced parents) to open and develop the right side (also the creative side) of our brain. So most of us are left trying to cope living life with a left predominant brain and a belief that we are ok, that we are our true self, when all we are really doing is living in an illusionary self.
This false self becomes our identity. We have built our ego within it and we believe this is who we are. That is, until we begin to question: to look deeper, to seek, to understand. Perhaps we have found ourselves in a crisis that blows us off our track, something that shatters or shakes the foundations of the false self. We begin to question ourselves, our life, where we are, what we are doing, who we are. We begin a search for meaning - a search for the true us.
In order to find out who we truly are, we need some help. We need a process that lifts us out of our illusionary self. We can't discover the true self until we begin to let go of the false one. And because this false self has been our identity for so long, we cannot make the transition to the real self with a single leap - it has to be a process and it will take time.
The process of meditation lifts you out of the false self toward the true self. At first, we will only get glimpses of who we are, but if we continue stepping onto the bridge of meditation, the glimpses will become more and more real.
Soon we will begin to hold parts of our new, authentic self within us and start living them. Others will likely see the change first - "you have changed, you are different," they'll say. You may not recognise the change within yourself immediately, but in time, you too will know that you have changed and something within has shifted.
So how do I meditate? Which meditation technique is the right one? It can be confusing. Here are some hints for meditating:
In order to successfully meditate, you first need to be able to concentrate. Without concentration, there will be no meditation. If your concentration is poor, you would do well to practice to strengthen it. Try lighting a single white candle and focusing on the flame for one minute, eyes open. Then close your eyes. Increase the time focusing on the candle by one minute every three days until you can manage seven minutes at a time. Once you have got to seven minutes, close your eyes and focus on the point between your eyebrows (your third eye or intuition chakra). You will see colours, shapes, images. Don’t get hooked on deciphering any meanings of what you see - just focus on relaxing, staying in the moment and staying focused. Practice this daily. You can also focus on nature: stars, moon, trees, birds, mountains etc.
You need the discipline to meditate daily. If you miss the odd day due to an unexpected event, don't beat your self up about it. However if you find these unexpected events happen regularly, you will actually be generating these events to avoid your practice and connecting to your true self. Push past the pattern. It is simply your false self trying to hold the power and keep you where you have always been. You will often encounter the resistance from your false self and the ego - discipline is vital to get past this. Commit and prioritise allowing yourself time each day to do your practice.
You will need a technique that works for you. What is right for you may not be right for someone else, and what works now may not be the best for you in the future. If you are a beginner, you will be best starting with a guided meditation. There are many recorded meditations out there, check online and be guided by what feels right for you.
With these three things - concentration, discipline and technique - in meditation, you WILL build the bridge towards your true self.