Meditate to live your life to the fullest. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools there is to help us restore the harmony within, and to gain access to our bodies’ inner intelligence. In meditation we rediscover the silence in our mind, and make it part of our life. Silence is the birthplace of happiness. It is where we get our burst of inspiration, our tender feelings of compassion. Our sense of love.
Meditation is a journey to freedom, and self-knowledge. The mind is in a constant state of activity. From the moment we awaken, until we go to sleep at night, we are actively engaged in the mental processes of planning, analyzing, strategizing, plotting, judging, juggling, resolving conflicts, and matters such as these. We have things to do, people to see, places to be, goals to accomplish, bills to pay, children to feed……we are BUSY beings. This can contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, angry, agitated, and frustrated. Over time, it can reach a chronic level, leading to even more negative states of mind.
The Buddha taught that your true nature is obscured by the veils of wanting, fear, and delusion, (or ignorance). He urged that you look at the nature of your mind systematically, and observe how these three mind-states condition what you think, and value, and how you behave. He taught that it is the identification with these mind-states that causes suffering; for instance, you mistakenly believe that just because you feel the emotion of wanting, your true nature is the same as that wanting.
So, if you are not your thoughts, then what is your true nature, how do you find it, and how do you live so that it may flourish? These are the perennial questions for anyone who starts to develop an inner life. In Jesus’s teachings, love is at the center of all being. Love that is forgiving, unconditional, and not self-serving. Therefore, Meditation is a chance to connect to our inner being, and to put things in perspective. A chance to quiet, and still the inner turmoil that has become so much a part of our nature, we may no longer recognize the potential negative side affects.
Meditation is a a mirror to show us who we really are, not our conditioned selves, but our truest nature, at every level of our being; Physical, Emotional, Psychological, Social, Cultural, and Spiritual. Meditation is a path to Self discovery, self realization, and ultimately, Self acceptance. In order to release even one of these mind states takes time, and constant, consistent repetition.
Meditation invokes a shift in consciousness. When you are in the midst of your day, and your mind is restless, or disturbed, taking some time out for yourself can be a way to restore the equilibrium of the mind. This enables you to gain greater awareness, and to bring some peace into the world around you. To see what is truly important.
Through our actions, which are controlled by our thoughts, Meditation enables us to learn different methods for dealing with life with more creativity, and agility. We begin to see than any opportunity that comes to our life is of our own creation. It does not come of itself, by chance, nor by good luck. Opportunities are either created now, or have been created at some time in the close, or distant past, by our own rightly guided will.
If you see no opportunity now, create one during the times you spend in Meditation. Create them by your will, which is a divine instrument within you. Say, “I will do everything for myself with my own will, which is a reflection in me of Divine Will.” Act on this truth, and opportunity will come to you.
Because the mind is a very difficult thing to discipline, many people find meditation difficult. Thus, the reason Yoga, and meditation, and Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) are fast becoming popular alternative to other exercise, and fitness programs. The principal being that the body is far easier to discipline than the mind. People have tried meditation for years, and not been able to achieve the same affects, as working it the other way around. As the mind, and the body are not two separate entities, when you work through the body, the mind, too, is affected.
Yoga alleviates the extraneous mind chatter that can turn every day burdens into misery, through relentless anxiety. Yoga encourages living within the limits imposed by the body. When we yoke the body, and the mind together, we train ourselves to find where we truly are, and to stay within that boundary.
During our yoga practice we become aware of our states of mind. Though we may find that through repetition of the poses (asanas) we are able through strength, or flexibility, determination, or relentlessness to attain the shape of the pose, this, like everything, has its price. You will never find the freedom that is that is so much a part of the yoga experience, if you are simply imposing new patterns of force, hardness, and tension on old.
It is essential that you work the other way, layer by layer, stripping away wall after wall that we have built up throughout our lives. Hatha Yoga then is not superficial relaxation. It is much deeper than that. It is not covering up, or avoiding uncomfortable feelings. That can best be done by having a glass of wine, a massage and/or a hot bath. Hatha Yoga challenges, reveals, and releases our embodied tension resulting in a release of our full potential.
Keeping body, and mind healthy may seem a difficult thing to achieve, but in actuality, it is possible if you believe. Once you believe, this belief sets into motion the desire within ourselves to move into this state of being. Then everything we think, and do begins to manifest this reality immediately! Our entire body/mind system is a connecting link to all levels of universal consciousness. Each one of us is interconnected, a holographic part of ‘All That Is’. As we open ourselves into greater expression of love, caring, wisdom, power, joy and other positive emotions, we give a wonderful gift to ourselves and to all of creation.
This is done in a precise, pragmatic, and systematic manner. It is not in anyway haphazard. Repeated, and accurate application of the techniques elicits specific, and predictable results. You experience a deep sense of relaxation, and freedom within your own being. The manifestation of this freedom is gratitude, appreciation, compassion, and enthusiasm for life, and living.
Breathing is the most important aspect of your Yoga and Meditation Practice. On a basic level, focusing on the breath gives the mind something to do. A place to rest, while it settles back down into its essential nature, which is of a deeper nature. In ‘The Science of Pranayama,’ Swami Sivananda writes, “There is an intimate connection between the breath, nerve currents, and control of the inner prana, or vital forces. Prana becomes visible on the physical plane as motion, and action, and on the mental plane as thought. Pranayama is the means by which a yogi tries to realize within his individual body, the whole cosmic nature, and attempts to attain perfection by attaining all the powers of the universe.”
The breath is intimately linked to all aspects of human experience. Most people breathe incorrectly, using only a small part of their lung capacity. The breathing is then generally shallow”, depriving the body of oxygen, and the prana essential to its good health. In addition, they help focus the awareness on the breathing process which is otherwise normally ignored. Practitioners develop sensitivity to the respiratory process, and retrain the muscles of the pulmonary cavity, enhancing their vital capacity, and preparing them for pranayama.
Rhythmic, deep and slow respiration sublimates, and is stimulated by calm, content, states of mind. Irregular breathing disrupts the rhythms of the brain, and leads to physical, emotional, and mental blocks. These in turn, lead to inner conflicts, imbalances, personality disorders, destructive lifestyles, and disease. Pranayama establishes regular breathing patterns, breaking this negative cycle, and reversing the process.
Deep breathing also increases the absorption of energy by the pranamaya kosha, enhancing dynamism, vitality and general wellbeing. Pranayama and the spiritual aspirant Pranayama practices, establish a healthy body by removing blockages in the pranamaya kosha, enabling an increased absorption of prana. The spiritual seeker, however. also requires tranquility of mind as an essential prelude to spiritual practice.
Yoga, meditation, and pranayama takes practice, and there may be a period of time before you are able to advance. Therefore, refrain from judging your practice, and from asking yourself questions like, ‘Am I meditating’, ‘Am I doing this right’, or ‘How do I know if I am in a state of mediation.’ There are countless ways to meditate. It’s important to find a technique that resonates with you. The most important thing is to not get hung up on a technique. Or, the attachment to feelings that arise.
Do not get caught up by your expectations. Release these, and any others in order to get the most from your practice. Use your meditation practice to move between states of storminess, and stillness. Relax, enjoy, and accept whatever comes your way. Move between your states of mind with awareness, and flexibility. Stay in the present moment. Thinking not of what has happened to you before this moment, or what it is to come.
Do not try to suppress any feeling. Witness, observe, be aware of the ever-present fluctuations of your moods, and mental states, and follow the breath. Allow all feelings to show themselves, as you watch them float by, as though you are watching clouds move across the sky. Don’t get emotionally caught up in them. Keep in mind that the mind is like a child demanding attention. The more you give it, the more it demands. Eventually it will stop. This could take years, so don’t approach your practice in a goal oriented way.
The inner spaciousness within is always there, with its clarity, love, and innate goodness. It is like the sky that suddenly appears over our heads when we step out of the kitchen door after a harried morning, and glance upward. The Self, like the sky, is ever present yet hidden by the ceiling, and walls of our minds. In approaching the Self, it helps to have a doorway we can comfortably walk through, rather than having to break through the wall of thoughts separating us from our inner space.
Meditation methods are portals. Entry points into the spaciousness that underlies the mind. Once we become aware of how we respond to different perceptual modes, we can often adjust a practice so it works for us. No technique is an end in itself, and no matter which one people use, it will eventually dissolve when their meditation deepens.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about any practice is to keep looking for its subtle essence. This release will happen more easily if we can allow ourselves to give up any feeling of separation from the technique. Nearly always, when people have difficulties going deeper into meditation, it is because they are keeping some sort of separation between themselves, their method, and between themselves, and the goal.
The antidote for nearly every problem that arises in meditation is to remember that the meditator, the technique of meditation, and the goal of meditation are one: that within the inner field of Awareness, everything is simply Awareness itself.
Ultimately no meditation practice is going to work unless you like doing it. This piece of wisdom comes from no less an authority than Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, a text so fundamental that every yogic tradition in India makes it the basis for meditation practice. After listing a string of practices for focusing the mind, Patanjali ended his chapter on concentration by saying, “Concentrate wherever the mind finds satisfaction.” So it’s essential to relax, and simply enjoy the experience.
Proceed with your pursuit of these paths with openness, putting aside your drive, and competitiveness, and your desire to have all the answers today. You are embarking on a life long journey, and all will come in time. It’s important to remember that usually all that is possible in daily life is to be present in the moment, to pay attention to how we react, to be alert to greed, fear, or confusion, and to respond with as much compassion, and wisdom as we are capable. Meditation enables us to gain a greater understanding, and acceptance to the fact that the only control we truly have is how we respond, not just react to what is happening around us. For more information on these two paths, visit the rest of this site.