My first contact with the concept of meditation came at an pivotal point in my teenage years. I grew up in an intensely violent household. I was 14 and I regularly watched Kung Fu. In one episode Kwai Chang Caine (Grasshopper) was thrown into a mtal box in the heat of the desert sun for punishment. Immediately he went into Lotus position (crossed legs, eyes closed, hand and palms facing up). He slowed his breathing and became quiet. He emerged a few days later, a little wobbly, but able to go back to work on the railroad. Caine go thrown into the box again, only this time with another worker. He taught the other guy how to meditate and survive the box. They both emerged centered and present, appearing none the worse for the experience.
Later that night, I watched another show; Monty Python's Flying Circus on PBS. I always tuned in early to be sure to at the opening animation of the foot smashing down the show title. Many times, I would also catch the program just before, Hatha Yoga with Kathleen Hitchckock teaching. It was usually at the ned of the show, where she was in Vipasanna, meditating and breathing. She would guide the students in the final segment of the program.
Being somewhat excited about the Monty Python smashing foot, I started turning in earlier and earlier to make sure I didn't miss anything. It eventually dawned on me that there was a connection between what "Grasshopper" and what Kathleen were both doing. Even though one was a fictional tale and the other was a yoga program, it was the same story.
So I started sitting in Lotus position, quieting my breath, sitting upright, letting the thoughts settle...just being. At fourteen, these things are a bit easier than I think they may be later in life, but I did notice that I could be a lot more mellow and accepting of things in my family life while all was crazy around me.
I spent time practicing or as often said, "not practicing" this way of meditation. There was a hunger that grew in me for more experiences like these.
Today I look at meditation as more than a clearing of mind, or a way to be present. It has become a way of life, and even though the structure of my practice has changed, it is still an ongoing flow. Since those early times, I have learned other styles and way, but I am always brought back to the being a quiet witness of life- even and especially when I am a my most "nuts" or dsyregulated. There is an internal mindful witness who quietly watches with not interpretation- without evaluation or comment- and just is.
I encourage you to experience the awareness that can be achieved through regular meditation.
The First and Last Freedom: Meditation will quiet and still your mind and emotions. It is a simple path with many variations and consistently provides you with equanimity.