The Art of Meditation

Regular practice of meditation is quite important in our connection to our Creator, as well as an excellent stress management technique, especially in today’s fast-paced society.  The purpose of meditation is to clear the mind, focusing on nothing but the silence.  This may be difficult at first, but don’t give up, with regular practice it gets easier and easier.  Believe you me, if I could do it with the ever-rambling and running mind I had, anybody can accomplish this!  Don’t try to do too much in the beginning, take it slowly.  Just as if you were to add jogging to your exercise regime, you wouldn’t start off by jogging 10 miles immediately; you shouldn’t try to immediately meditate for an hour, at least not without a good guide to help you along.  It’s best Meditation for the unquiet mindto start off anywhere from five to fifteen minutes and then gradually allow a natural progression.

Initially, it may help to have a few aids to create an atmosphere of relaxation, such as scented candles, incense, soft lighting, and soft music.  Be sure to setup an environment where you won’t be interrupted.  Turn the ringers off on all phones; if you reside with others make sure they know not to disturb you for the allotted amount of time.  Perhaps even put a ‘do not disturb’ note on your door.  As well, ensure that you relieve yourself in the bathroom.

In Eastern society, most yogis are found sitting in lotus position or various other asanas (poses) for meditation.  You can choose to do so, if you feel comfortable doing such or you can choose another position, which may be more comfortable for you. The point is to relax your body and mind, but not so much that you will fall asleep.  It is advisable, however, that you keep the trunk of your body straight and try to not cross any limbs, so as not to impede circulation, which can cause them to fall asleep, possibly interrupting your meditation time (unless you are trying out one of the aforementioned yoga asanas, which I would suggest the stretching yoga asanas to increase flexibility and circulation first).  You may feel more comfortable lying down on the floor or a bed, or sitting straight up in a comfortable chair.

Before getting into position, give your body a good stretch all over, to include your back, jaw, neck, elbows, wrists, fingers, waist, thighs, knees, ankles, and toes.  Heck, you can even try stretching your ears and nose too, if you have that awesome ability! ;D  Some people are so flexible, it’s amazing what they’re bodies can do.  I know, because both my daughter and I seem to astound others with the crazy things we can do with our bodies, prior to ever doing any yoga asanas (but, no, I can’t stretch my ears and nose, well, at least not without using my hands)!

Get into position and then begin relaxing your body, starting with your toes, working all the way up to the crown of your head.  This doesn’t have to be an elaborate ritual, all you need is approximately thirty seconds per body part.  Focus your mind on your toes, saying to yourself ‘my toes are relaxed’ and even feel them get relaxed and heavy.  Then do this to each body part, moving on to feet, ankles, calves and lower legs, knees, thighs, hips, pelvic region, upper torso, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, hands, fingers, neck, jaw, cheeks, nose, ears, eyes, and crown.

Next, you will begin to focus on your breathing.  Here you want to ensure that you are breathing properly through your diaphragm.  To test yourself, start off by placing your hands gently and lightly on your belly, over your navel, thumb-to-thumb and index-to-index, creating a triangle.  This way you can feel to ensure that you are breathing through your diaphragm, as your stomach (not chest) should rise. Take a long slow deep inhale through your nose and hold your breath for approximately five seconds (or as long is comfortable for you), then exhale slowly and deliberately through your mouth, after which you again will hold for approximately five seconds.  Most people can hold after inhale longer than they can hold after exhale, so the time holding the exhale position may be shorter.  Once you know how to properly breathe through the diaphragm, you may lay your hands comfortably at your sides.  Continue the breathing exercise for at least five rouMasters of the Multiversends of inhales and exhales in the same fashion, inhale, hold, exhale, and hold, keeping your mind focused on your breath.  You may stop the breathing exercise, or continue for however long you feel comfortable.

Another breathing exercise you may want to try (in succession or in a different meditation) is breathing the ‘ocean’.  This works especially well in those times of high stress.  Visualize the ocean, as you slowly inhale through your nose, being sure to use the diaphragm, imagine the wave welling up, growing bigger and bigger the more you inhale.  Then, as you slowly and deliberately exhale through your mouth, visualize the ocean crashing down on the shoreline and crawling up the beach until it finally stops at the end of your exhale.  You can even use sound in your breath to mimic the ocean.  Do this as many times as is necessary.  The ocean has a very relaxing effect on most humans, making this a quite effective stress buster.

The next step is to focus on the silence.  Often times it helps to have a mantra to maintain this focus.  Feel free to use any mantra you wish.  A well-known and simple, but highly effective mantra is AUM, the cosmic sound.  This is the sound that emanated at the creation of our universe, as well it is the most natural sound for humans to make and, as such, has a great relaxing effect on the human psyche.  We make this sound in pleasure, sadness, pain, and in anger.  It’s even a part of another very well known mantra, ‘Amen’.  The mantra is used to keep focused, by saying it to chase away external chatter.  You may start off saying it a few times, to enhance your state of relaxation.  Then, whenever a thought pops into your mind, acknowledge it, and then say the mantra, either out loud or in your mind, keeping focus on the sound.

External chatter comes in the form of every day mundane thoughts, such as “did I mail that bill”, etc.  If you have trouble keeping the same thoughts at bay, it may help to write them down, so that you can relax and be assured that you can get back to them at a more suitable time.  With regular practice of meditation, it gets easier and easier to quiet the mind and keep those thoughts at bay.  Aside from stress management, meditation is also good for Divine communion.  You can easily distinguish whether a thought is external chatter or Divine communication, because the latter will be quite profound insights and revelations that you know did not come from yourself, very different from the mundane chatter of daily existence.

Don’t be too concerned if you don’t receive any Divine communication at first, as we cannot have expectations and should have faith that The Divine will communicate when it is the right time or when is necessary.  Our focus on meditation should remain on quieting of the mind and not anything else.  We don’t want to get too distracted with other goals, which may keep us from achieving those goals.  The Divine will speak to us in the right moment, as well when we regularly clear our minds, we can much more readily pick up the signs The Divine gives us throughout our daily lives; clear sight and clear mind is what it is all about!

With regular practice of quiet meditation, things in life begin to flow more smoothly.  It is highly recommended to begin and end each day with meditation.  We are given our spiritual education in our sleep, and during our waking hours we do our ‘homework’ and ‘tests’ to show that we’ve learned those lessons.  We need processing time in between, which is why meditation is so important.  With better control of the mind, you will also have better control to your reactions to the world and will also have clear access to innovative solutions.

Bright Blessings!

Om Namah Shivay!
Sivapriya Saraswati

‘On a journey to disseminate The Truth!’
Saddened at the state of humanity, st
uck in the age of Ego and Materialism, I seek to save their souls by planting the seeds in hopes that they’ll grow!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Jul 12, 2011 @ 04:50:00

    Thank you …

    Reply

  2. Swamini Sivapriya Saraswati
    Jul 12, 2011 @ 04:25:09

    Oftentimes when we sit still to meditate, we will get an itch in different places on our body, as our ego works at distracting us. The key is not to scratch the itch, do not move a muscle! Instead, focus consciousness in another part of the body that doesn’t itch and eventually the itch goes away; mind over matter. This is a highly effective skill to learn and practice. Meditation, as with any good skill takes practice. Practice, practice, practice! Practice makes perfect!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Get Blissed Out through Meditation! | GlassStraws.com.au

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