I meditate because:
– when I don’t, I feel disconnected and get ever more caught up in my ‘monkey mind’ and all of its fears, uncertainties and contradictions
– it sets the tone for the entire day. I seem to be able to handle situations better (not be so reactive), have more understanding and acceptance of people/situations and everything feels lighter and brighter
– it is the only time (apart from sleeping) when we connect back to source, to our soul and universal consciousness. Everyday we live our lives distracted by the mind’s constant chattering… regrets about the past, worries about the future. Meditating brings us back into the present moment, it centres us and breeds clarity, opening us up to unimaginable spheres of love and creativity
– it reminds me that we are all connected, everything and everyone on this planet. It helps reestablish that connection within me and brings about a sense of gratitude and appreciation of the beauty that surrounds me
– of course it opens us up to new levels of awareness which allows us to bring more focus into our lives, finding answers to problems that have been bothering us. It helps me to stay focused on what’s important in life and not get wrapped up in minor issues or consumerism
– mostly, it makes me a better person.
We all seem to be searching for something; something or someone outside ourselves that will ‘complete’ us and make us happy. Meditation reminds us that the truth and answers lie within. We all have the potential to access this part of ourselves (and already do so unconsciously), we are after all spiritual beings at the core, but we can become disconnected, so it’s up to us to reestablish that connection and find our true selves again. As Deepak Chopra says, our physical bodies (which are pure energy) are the junction points between the invisible and visible worlds.
People always say “I really want to start meditating but I don’t know how”. Ofcourse there are many different methods, but here is a simple one. The idea is to develop a daily practice, start off with 10 minutes a day and build up to 20 minutes. The morning is a great time to practice and consistency is key. Eventually, ideally you could build up to 20 minutes in the morning and evening.
- Light a candle or some incense and set your timer for 10 minutes
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor, on a small pillow to ensure your hips are slightly raised and your back is straight. Gently draw your shoulders back and down. Place your index fingers into your thumbs (Gyan Mudra) and backs of palms to knees.
- Close your eyes and move your awareness inside your body, notice the tension, breathe into it and let go.
- If you like, begin by chanting 3 AUMs, (AUM is the universal sound of consciousness and sets the tone for your practice), then…
- Complete 6 full yogic breaths (Breath down deeply into your belly for 3 counts, then fill up your lungs (feel your ribcage rise) for 3 counts and finally breathe up into your chest (right up to collarbones) for 2 counts. Hold.. then slowly exhale, starting from your lower abdomen, then lungs and finally releasing the air from your chest for the same number of counts. Make your exhalation the same length as your inhalation (deep, long, slow breaths).
- Bring your breathing back to normal. Notice how your body feels. Now simply observe your natural breath, without control, as it enters and leaves the body. (You can focus on your heart chakra or third eye, the space between eyebrows area, whatever resonates with you)
- As thoughts enter your awareness (and they will!), just let them pass by without attachment or judgement, and bring your attention back to your breath.
- To end, you can chant “Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti (Peace, peace, perfect peace)” and perhaps take a moment to give gratitude for the blessings in your life
* NOTE: If you like, you can focus your awareness on a mantra instead of the breath. For example, the mantra “SO HUM” – meaning “I am That”. Imagine the “So” sound on your inhalation and “Hum” on your exhalation.