Light Watkins is the guide of the 21-Day Meditation Challenge on Wanderlust TV. Get started on your journey to bliss right here.
Often mentioned but vaguely understood, bliss is defined as an achievable, heightened state of awareness. It is the major benefit of a daily meditation practice, and the catalyst for a thoughtful, enlightened life.
We dove deep into bliss before, but here’s a recap: Bliss whispers to us and reminds us of our true goals and encourages us to trust in our heart, to believe in ourselves and our circumstances, and pushes us to be the best version of ourselves.
But knowing what bliss is often begs more questions: How do we achieve bliss? What’s stopping us? How do we maintain the feelings of bliss when they seem temporary? While you may have many different questions when it comes to accessing your bliss, know that it’s much simpler than you might think, and that it takes very little to get started.
One of the most beneficial things we can do in an effort to access the bliss within is meditation. The comfort of sitting still, the detachment from ruminating thoughts and calming your body down from a busy day… All of these things contribute to creating space within the mind, and ultimately, bliss.
Below are some tips to get you started:
Dismantle the Myth of Self-Care
Perhaps there are a few things preventing you from meditating, namely, guilt. Meditation is a form of self-care, a phrase that has unfortunately transformed into something that comes across as selfish. But self-care isn’t green juice or buying material goods to fill a void. It’s taking the opportunity to refuel, and therefore show up more completely for those you love.
When we set aside time, even just fifteen minutes, to meditate, we are welcoming an opportunity to clear space in the mind and acknowledge thoughts and fears. Creating this space helps to eliminate stress, or quiet anxiety. Have you been able to make rational decisions regarding work, creative projects, or relationships when stressed? Often times, not so much. But through meditation, we can recharge and approach life’s obstacles through a space of mental clarity, ultimately making better decisions regarding the things that matter most.
Because you’re now dedicated to taking this time for yourself, you’re going to be even more available to those you care for, and to the world at large. You will have more energy, more passion, and more creativity for implementing all of the wonderful ideas that will occur to you in and around your meditation practice.
Your meditation is a valuable contribution towards creating a better world.
Simplify the Process
Meditation doesn’t have to be a scary, intimidating practice, and bliss need not be forced. You can meditate on the subway, on your drive to work or even while eating breakfast. Take the pressure off of yourself and off of your practice. Bliss will come with ease when your mind is ready.
Adults often create so many reasons why their mind is busy, or why they can’t sit still, or what it means when they have certain thoughts, or how they’ve learned to cope with their mischievous mind, and so on. As a result of trying to control their mind, or body, or both, adults end up having more disconnected experiences in meditation.
Using control in meditation is a bit like trying to use a hammer to fasten a screw, or a screwdriver to nail together something. In other words, control is not the right tool to use for settling the mind.
Control has a tendency to activate and even frustrate the mind. A controlled meditation is an oxymoron. Meditation, by nature, lacks control. Or at least it should, if the desire is to have deeper, more blissful experiences. Furthermore, no matter how much we try, the mind can not be controlled. Nor can our thoughts. Therefore, we don’t want to use the wrong tool in the wrong way, for the wrong purpose.
Fortunately, the fix is also simple: all we need to do is to remind ourselves as often as it takes to let go of control. In doing so, we can distill our approach down to it’s essence. No need to implement other techniques, or question our process based on intrusive thoughts.
Separate Your Emotions From Reality
Often times, we confuse bliss with feelings of temporary joy. When something “positive” happens, be it a compliment or an Instagram like, it’s easy and intuitive to react to it with joy, relief, or a superficial feeling of bliss. This tiny blips of validation or accomplishment make us feel as though we are in the flow of life, or that we are in sync with the Universe’s will—the right place at the right time effect.
But there’s a flip side. When something ostensibly negative happens, we quickly feel the opposite—we react with dread, discomfort, anger or anxiety, that we’re being punished for some grave past misdeed.
The differences in our emotional state, based mainly upon our external circumstances, is an indication that we’ve become deeply influenced or defined by our circumstances. This conditioning places our moods, and our emotions in the driver’s seat—at the whim of the various people, places and things that we cross paths with on a daily basis. And this conditioning can quickly and easily block us from being able to experience our inner bliss when it counts, when we need it the most, which is in our daily interactions.
This is where we go back to meditation—by practicing daily, we learn to separate the ups and downs of life from our inner selves. We respond to something rather than let our emotional state dictate how we feel. Ultimately, we don’t need to find bliss from external sources—because we are bliss.
Embrace the Commitment
Bliss is the space in between our thoughts, the pause before we react, the light shining brightly into our heart and soul, able to eradicate the shadows of our ego, and reveal the truth of reality—that there is no separation between you and I. That at our essence, at our deepest level, we are all connected.
To achieve this state, try to make meditation as regular as eating. When you meditate daily, it becomes less of a chore, or practice, and more of an experience you look forward to, and your body has become conditioned to.
Your body can become conditioned to meditating each morning, afternoon, or evening, whenever you designate as your sacred meditation time. And the more consistent you are with your practice the more stable it will feel, and the more beneficial the results will be… Not just inside of the practice, but throughout every facet of life.
By embracing the commitment of meditation, you’ll also be more apt and ready to tap into bliss. As daily meditation becomes a part of your routine, so does bliss, and you’ll begin to recognize how it is beneficial to your life, and all the ways, obvious and discreet, it affects the way you live.
Tapping into your bliss doesn’t have to be complicated. It simply requires that you value your time on the mat and show up regularly. Through stillness, practice, and a willingness to try, you’ll eventually be able to tap into consistent presence, and enjoy the bliss you so deserve.
Light has been operating in the meditation space since 1998, first as a practitioner, then as an apprentice to his Vedic Meditation teacher, and finally as a teacher himself. Light‘s TEDx talk has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and he is the founder of The Shine Movement, a global pop-up inspirational variety show on a mission to share the stories of regular people who are making a difference in the world. He’s currently based in Santa Monica, CA, but travels the world giving talks on happiness, mindfulness, inspiration, and meditation, as well as leading popular meditation trainings and retreats. Tune in to his 21-Day Meditation Challenge on Wanderlust TV.