I am not exactly a novice meditator. I grew up with mediation as a part of my vernacular and have employed it, primarily as a coping mechanism in moments of duress, at various stages of my life. It’s not something I practice with regularity, nor is it something I even think of often, but I recently had the pleasure of sitting with Robert Hammond, Friends of the High Line cofounder and newly minted Vedic Meditation teacher, and have been re-inspired to take a look at meditation and its place in my life.
While there are various forms of meditation with their own methods and histories, the goal of all meditation is similar—transcendence, connection on a higher level, peace. Some methods require concentration, others employ chants, others still are guided, and no one form is right for everyone. Vedic Meditation, Robert’s chosen practice, is a mantra-based method. In hearing about his experiences with the practice and in learning more about its core elements, I intend to begin my own Vedic Meditation training in a week. In preparation for my deep dive, here are the 7 reasons why I am excited to learn more.
- Ashrams and vows of silence, not required. Vedic Meditation is intended for “householders,” meaning it’s not meant to take you away from your life, culture or daily routines. Instead a daily practice allows a deep restfulness that ultimately enables you to be more active and engaged in your life.
- If you’re worried you’re doing it wrong, you’re definitely doing it wrong. Unlike concentration-based methods, Vedic Meditation is meant to be effortless. Thoughts about your performance, good or bad, imply that you can work to impact results. The act of working during Vedic Meditation, means you’re not allowing yourself to move effortlessly to that restful, meditative state. So stop working and let things happen.
- Enlightenment, not guaranteed. During your dedicated meditative sessions, you may experience a profound sense of otherworldliness. Or, and perhaps, just as meaningfully, the time you spend meditating each day won’t feel like anything out of the ordinary. What will be apparent though, is the impact it has on your life outside of your meditative sessions.
- You’ve got the time. Twenty minutes twice a day may sound like a daunting commitment, but you don’t have to limit your life to accommodate for these dedicated sessions. Instead, as long as you feel safe and comfortable in your surroundings, you can pause and meditate almost anywhere.
- It might look like a nap, but it acts like a super nap. As a part of the practice, your eyes will be closed, you will be in a comfortable position, and your breaths will deepen. By all accounts you’d look like you’re taking a nap—and yet, Vedic Meditation affords a deep wakeful resting that’s way more restorative than a nap.
- Mantras may be amusing and amorphous. Mantras are meaningless phrases, intentionally designed to please the mind. Though there are only a limited number of Mantras available to Vedic practitioners, through repetition and over time, your Mantra naturally evolves and becomes something new and uniquely yours.
- Daily doses, take on an empty stomach. Vedic Mediation practices are meant to invigorate you and though there is no hard and fast rule for when to practice, it is recommended that you do your first session at the start of your day and the second session in the afternoon or evening before you eat dinner.