My Favourite Meditation Analogies

 
Ropes with knots in them
 

I like using analogies when talking about meditation. If you’ve spoken to me before, have come along to one of my introductions, or have learned to meditate with me, you’ll certainly be aware of this!

Analogies are a wonderful way of making the numerous benefits of meditation easy to understand and visualise. Here are a few of my favourites.

Meditation for Stress: Knots in a Rope

However old you are, and whatever you have experienced over the years, you will have accumulated many stresses. Most of these will have been absorbed, rather than released. I liken these stresses, which could have occurred at any time since birth up to a moment ago, to multiple knots in a length of rope.

Vedic Meditation gently releases these knots of stress and anxiety. Some knots of stress will take time to disappear, and they are usually the ones we have successfully buried deep inside ourselves. Over time, meditation will clear out past stresses, so you will be able to deal with incoming stress more efficiently. Eventually, you’ll stop the knots before they form.

Meditation for Energy & Creativity: The Dusty Lightbulb

A well-rested mind is highly creative, and a good night’s sleep is the most readily available and cheapest tonic around. Nevertheless, sometimes fresh and stimulating thoughts feel elusive. Vedic Meditation can provide fertile ground for innovation and creativity.

Many people mistakenly believe that the point of meditation is to put something in, thinking that the content of meditation is what it is all about. This is to miss the point. We are not putting something in when we meditate, rather we are revealing what is already there.

In this way, Vedic Meditation is like blowing the dust off your inner lightbulb. Over time, your lightbulb accumulates lots of dust and debris which obscures its brilliance. Regular Vedic Meditation practice is like good internal housekeeping, blowing off the dust from your light daily, and keeping everything bright and shiny.

Thoughts in Meditation: The Motorway

One of the first misconceptions new Vedic Meditation students must dispel is that having thoughts in meditations is not OK. Our meditation practice is a moment when deep rest occurs, and with the settled mind comes a release of stress, fatigue, and tension. This is usually evident in thoughts which come to mind during your meditation.

Your meditation practice does not have an agenda, whatever arises does so naturally. When our mind is filled with thoughts in this way, it is like watching a motorway. Sometimes there seems to be an endless parade of vehicles, of all sizes and colours, passing at various speeds. Then there are moments when we no longer see the traffic, but the spaces and gaps in between, which are of various length. It is in these instants that we at our most rested, when refinement of the mind is present, and when we make deep connections with our inner self.

Meditation for Coping with Change: Letting Go of Balloons

The British philosopher Alan Watts wrote: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” But how do you take the first step?

As part of the instruction on the first day of their course, Vedic Meditators learn that it is futile to resist change. It is the one constant we have in our lives, as nature so expressively and continually shows us.

Once we understand the cycle of creation, maintenance, and destruction, and learn to recognise it in everything we encounter from our relationships, to our bodies, and to our own worlds, we realise that holding on is pointless.

Additionally, we can sometimes become beholden to past experiences. They keep a hold on us, turning us into victims of a tenacious and constricting detrimental set of thoughts and behaviour.

These past experiences are like balloons which we insist on holding on to, yet all we have to do is simply let go of the string and move on.

We need to embrace change and surrender to its energy. Vedic Meditation teaches us to do that in a “frictionless” way, so that we can recognise the gifts that change can bring.

Meditation for Resilience: The Stylus

I often tell prospective students that stress typically affects non-meditators like a sharp stylus being drawn across a piece of granite. It will always leave an indelible mark.

In the early days of meditating, the granite in this analogy is replaced by sand. The ‘stylus of stress’ leaves a mark which can then be rubbed out.

Later, after the technique of Vedic Meditation has become absorbed and practiced regularly, the sand is replaced by water: the stress marker moves across the surface and leaves no trace.


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Anthony Thompson