If you want to increase your awareness about yourself and the world, meditation is for you. This training of the mind will help you in all spheres of life – physical, psychological and spiritual. Taking half an hour from your schedule every day will help you achieve a more calm, confident, compassionate and intelligent state of mind and heart. Meditation will make you forego negative emotions and see the world objectively, without the prism of unhealthy bias and prejudice.
What is Meditation really about?
It is about finding the stillness or the Presence that lies beyond your thoughts. Once you connect with that Presence even for a few nano seconds, you are blessed with infinite wisdom that bestows the light of knowledge. It will also give you the energy and strength to face the challenges of life.
Here are some basic tips you can follow to get into this practice:
Schedule and Plan: Firstly, you must set aside some time in your day for Meditation. Initially try putting aside 30 minutes from your schedule and be regular about this. Making it into a regular practice will help you continue for the longer term.
Place to Meditate: Identify a place where you can sit quietly, with the least distractions. Try to avoid the bedroom, or the place where you sleep, because you might it harder to be alert in such a room. For meditation, you may sit on a sofa, chair, or a mat on the floor. Personally, I find a bean bag the best for long periods of meditation.
Start Small and Build up Slowly: Don’t commit a longer period of time initially, because you might find that difficult to sustain in the long run. Start small, initially dedicate just 20-30 minutes and gradually increase the duration when you are comfortable.
Don’t eat or drink before you meditate: It is best not to eat or drink anything besides water for at least an hour and a half prior to meditation. This will keep your body light and clear. Eating or drinking will make your system busy with digesting the food. It might make you feel heavy, inducing sleep or drowsiness, which you don’t want.
Stay Focused and Motivated: Many times, people give up easily because they expect tremendous results in the early phase. Think of a glass of muddy water that you have collected from a pool outside your house. You must allow it time for all the impurities to settle down, only then the clear water will manifest itself. So it is with the mind. Stay motivated even if it takes time and keep trying to calm the mind. With time, you will reap the benefits.
Drop Expectations: This is the mistake most people make. If you expect results from your first Meditation session, you are setting yourself up for failure. You have attached conditions, desires and expectations to what should be a natural process. Understand that your natural state is that of unconditional peace and freedom. It is not something to be acquired. It is something you will eventually realize.
Leave Control: Meditation is not about controlling your thoughts, but more about being aware of them. The trick is to allow the moment to be as it is and be completely at ease in the moment.
Relax before you sit down: It is best to practice a few breathing exercises or pranayama to calm your breath, mind and heart before you sit down to begin the meditation session.
Adopt a Mantra/Music to Calm the Mind: You will find it easier to focus if you recite a mantra on a rosary. Personally I advise a rosary of 108 Rudraksha beads. You can also try to meditate on a music mantra or strotra from an audio device. There are many available – Ganesh, Lakshmi, Shiva, Narayana, Durga, Hanuman – you can choose a deity that is close to your heart. I personally find the Gayatri mantra to be very cleansing for the soul.
Find the gap between thoughts – Try to meditate in the space between the thoughts. Watch this space and eventually with practice, this gap will become larger and you will be able to sit in blissful meditation where you can download infinite wisdom to throw light on your problems. The Divine grace you find in this silence will give you strength and energy to walk through life.