What exactly is meditation? What it is not is relaxation, although relaxation is one of the results of meditating.
It is not prayer, although once in a meditative state prayer becomes much more powerful and effective. Prayer is asking, meditating is listening. Listening to what? To your conscience, your higher self, the universe, God.
Each of which have a tough time getting through to us because of the continual ‘static’ and ‘noise’ of our lives and our thoughts. The object is to move beyond our thoughts and thinking process into a state of non-judgmental awareness — into true beingness, where we find ourselves existing absolutely in the present moment — the Holy Instant.
This occurs when our breath becomes calm and focused, when the sensations of the body begin to melt away and when the left and right hemispheres of the brain move closer into synchronization. And then the gateway opens into the Divine realm where our health is perfect, love unconditional and fear nonexistent.
Remember, meditating is not about relaxing, so once you start, if you find yourself nodding off, then stop and get some rest. You need to be alert. For the same reason, you probably shouldn’t meditate while lying down. If you are currently confined to bed, then try to keep your pillows propped up, or have someone guide you through the meditation. You also need to try and keep the spine straight to allow an open channel of energy flow. If you are in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor. But always make sure you feel comfortable; if meditating doesn’t feel good physically, you won’t want to continue. Dress comfortably and warmly.
Make the practice of meditating something special in your life, even sacred; you will have a more powerful experience. If you can, create a special place to meditate which is only for that purpose and away from where you find frustrations in your life. Turn off the phone and fax and beeper. Prepare to not be disturbed for at least fifteen minutes. You can work your way up to a half hour later. If you only get five minutes in the meditation that you feel ‘connected’ — that’s a lot! Give yourself this gift. We have twenty-three and three quarter hours in the day to be tense and nervous; surely we can find fifteen or twenty minutes for our own physical and spiritual healing?
Another way to begin the practice is to first balance your breathing. With your eyes closed, take the thumb of your right hand and close off your right nostril, exhale through your left nostril, then inhale through the same nostril. With your index finger of your same hand, now pinch off the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril, then inhale through the right nostril and pinch it off with your thumb. Repeat for five minutes, breathing deeply and gently as you try and follow your breath, listening to it, visualizing it flowing in and out of you. Enjoy it. (Breath, by the way, in Latin, means soul).
Another method to begin your practice, and which is very helpful if you find your thoughts constantly interrupting your meditation, is to fully engage all your senses. In effect, you’re entering the meditative state through the back door. Listen for everything you can hear; listen for the sounds within the sounds; the truck outside, its engine, its wheels moving against the pavement, are there four wheels or eight?; listen to the lawn mover, the conversation next door; listen to your breathing; to the ringing in your ears; everything. Then feel the clothes against your skin, the carpet under your feet, the bones and muscles, and the blood moving through you; feel your skin and hair and teeth; feel air blowing over your skin; feel heat rising off you; feel the unconscious vibration of sub-atomic elements moving through you. Smell the air and taste your mouth. ‘See’ with your eyes closed, the colors, the patterns — the universe (your optic nerve can actually register the flow of individual atomic photons).
Another technique is to simply follow your breathing. Counting your breaths is a way of engaging your logical mind while freeing your subconscious. Try to match your breathing with your pulse beats and count until you reach a full breath. Five to seven beats is average. Hold your breath for half that number. Exhale to the same pulse beats. Hold your breath out for half that number. Repeat. This is actually the natural way to breathe, the way we were born to breathe. As it is, we only use about 30% of our lung capacity. And science has proven that disease cannot grow in the presence of a full oxygen content.
You can repeat your name as a mantra, a mantra being any word or phrase which is repeated over and over, silently or vocally.
Repeat any word or phrase which has meaning to you such as “I am at peace” or “Love. Truth. Joy.” or “I am One” or “I desire money (success, love, etc.)”. Again, repeating a mantra engages the logical brain and literally creates new neural pathways in the brain. Meditation — literally — changes the structure of the brain.
It can be very effective to stare at a symbol or picture while speaking a mantra, this works to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Another idea is to say — vocally or silently — on an inhalation the word “I” and exhale the word “AM”; repeat.
A very powerful method is to intone the mantra of “O-m” or “A-u-m” The vibrational tone of the word “Om”, in ancient belief, is considered to be the first sound of creation, the first ‘breath’, if you will, of God. It is believed to link you directly with the Unity Of All That Is/God/Spirit.
To use the “A-U-M” version, think of the “A” as the sound of the inbreath, continue that sound as you begin to exhale, then gently make the “U” sound, which gradually becomes the “M” sound at the end of the exhalation. Begin with the “A” again and repeat.
Try using the inexpensive, foam ear plugs you can buy at any pharmacy. They help you move into your inner silence and focus on your breath, your heartbeat, your very essence.
These are just a few suggestions. Use them as a springboard to create your own and you will have a much more enjoyable experience.
Try to meditate at least once a day.
Affirmations can be an important part of a meditative practice. You can use them as a mantra during meditation, or throughout the day as a substitution whenever less-than-positive thoughts come up. The more you substitute an affirmation for a negative thought, the more you will find the affirmation taking over and the negative thoughts dwindling. You will find yourself living your affirmation.
I am in the universe, the universe is in me.
I am Spirit; I am not of the body, not of the ego.
I am a sensual extension of a sensual universe; the Divine is in a flower; is in me; is in everything.
All relationships mirror my personal growth – good and ill; I will learn from them.
I release all psychological, environmental and spiritual toxins.
I no longer need approval, which is a fear based need.
I acknowledge my dark side and release it.
I shall not judge and criticize.
I replace fear with love.
I live in the NOW; I am life centered.
There is no past, no future, only this present moment where the Divine dwells.
I celebrate the uncertainty, which is where all possibilities lie.
I am a being of Light and Love.
Miracles happen wherever I go.
All that I need comes easily to me.
Love comes to me easily and effortlessly and I accept it now.
My health and body are perfect and I am stronger every day.
I am now employed in the perfect work for me.
Abundance comes to me effortlessly and I am grateful for it and I deserve it.