The world today is frenetic. Between work and home and social obligations, do you find yourself strapped for time, with frayed nerves, hoping for a respite from all the chaos of daily life? We are all, of course, tied down to our duties and obligations. But who wouldn’t like a breather, a break that would energize us and enable us to cope with all the hectic activities in our lives, with calm and equanimity?
So, when you find yourself desperate to run away, do consider taking a break in an environment that offers sanctuary and peace of mind – like going into a meditative state.
You don’t even have to be religious or spiritually inclined to practice meditation. You just need to crave peace and serenity, in order to take the first step on this path. And you must tap into your hidden reservoirs of self-control and discipline, to make the most of this opportunity.
Discipline is the key to a successful meditation practice
In order to achieve the discipline required, you must be driven by the desire to find peace of mind. And to practice meditation in an environment that is conducive to the practice. Of course, a strong intention to succeed is essential to the practice. When you commit yourself to making meditation an integral part of your daily life, you will instinctively absorb the teachings and will embrace them.
Meditation in itself, is a generic term these days. There are different types of meditation practices that offer a wide range of techniques. These include:
- Silent meditation
- Zen Buddhist meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Insight meditation
- Kundalini meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Qi Gong
- Chakra meditation
- Heart Rhythm meditation
- Tai chi meditation
- Zazen; and more.
You can select the technique you want to adopt based on your personal requirements.
The first step in your journey
If you really want to benefit from your meditation practice, it is imperative to identify a good meditation teacher. Finding a wise, experienced, and qualified meditation teacher, will help you optimize your practice. When you set forth on your journey, your mind will be reeling with questions, as you try to understand the techniques and nuances of your practice. This is when the right choice of a meditation teacher can make a world of difference. A good teacher will motivate and inspire you, while steering you forward on your path to peace.
You could try reading up a bit on different meditation techniques, as this will influence your choice of teacher. You will find a variety of teachers who specialize in different techniques, the largest group being Buddhist monks who come highly trained as meditation teachers. You will also come across many Hindu gurus who are qualified to teach and do take on a lot of disciples. There are also many teachers in the West these days who teach meditation.
It is however, very important to learn the basics of yoga before you start meditating, since meditation is an essential facet of yoga – they work in tandem. Breathing techniques in particular, taught in yoga, are crucial to the correct practice of meditation. As you will learn, there is a process to be followed before you settle down to meditate.
The process and practice of meditation
Successful meditation takes time to achieve. But you can do it by preparing properly for a good meditative experience with a few basic actions:
- Find a quiet spot where you can practice meditation undisturbed
- Seat yourself as comfortably as possible, either on the floor or on a straight-backed chair
- If on the floor, you can try sitting cross-legged, or in the full or half lotus pose
- Always keep your spine erect without being stiff
- Try to face east if you can
- Close your eyes but with your gaze fixed at a point just ahead and around the top of your head, or midway between your eyebrows
- Start by relaxing your mind and body totally
- Imagine the tension draining away
- Take long even breaths
- Invoke your higher, or Devine, self to help you meditate
- Try to achieve a level of stillness by not moving at all, keeping your body relaxed
- Visualize your body as a rock – solid and grounded
- Feel your mind and body calming down
- Remain in this state for about 5 to 15 minutes if you’re a beginner. Keep increasing the duration as you continue with your practice
- Don’t get obsessed with emptying your mind of all thoughts – the opposite will happen
- If your mind wanders, bring it back to focus on the breath
These are just some of the basic steps to follow prior to beginning a good meditation practice. Different schools of meditation advocate their own techniques – your teacher will guide you accordingly.
When meditation is practiced properly, it not only heals you at a spiritual, mental and physical level, but also affects every aspect of your life by helping you achieve levels of consciousness and awareness of your inner self. This will serve to transform you and bring you great peace of mind, helping you cope with every eventuality in your life, at home and at work, in a calm and detached manner. And when the mind is at rest, the body is in good health.