Did you know the only wrong meditation is the one you do not show up for?
Many have the misconception that only their technique will bring you to true meditation. I would suggest there are many paths leading to the river that flows into meditation. Beginning or learning meditation can best be approached with an open heart and an open mind. Even if you have previous experience, each lesson has the potential to bring something new if you are open to it. Many methods are available; choose the one that resonates within you. As a friend once said to me, "sift and sort" what holds truth for you and let go of the rest. Choose the one that speaks to your soul.
There are no gold metals for a particular posture. Find a place of comfort where there is no noise and you will not be disturbed for a period of time. There is a very good book written by Will Johnson "The Posture of Meditation" if you are interested in finding more on this subject. Many of us come to the cushion, mat or chair with our self-judgment and ego fully in charge of the practice. We cannot get comfortable trying to sit in a position that does not conform to our body's condition. Our clothing binds us and our minds rant and rave about how we are doing this wrong. We are mistaken when we think we must sit for an extended period of time and that thoughts must never cross our minds. In reality, one might only sit for seconds in the beginning. It is very important to know that even a moment of stillness is all that is necessary to create a positive experience. Returning again and again to a positive experience will establish a sadhana, or meditation practice. However, it will take dedication to become a practitioner. Begin by establishing a ritual or routine for holding your practice. Following the same pattern helps the mind to settle and allows it to quiet down.
To begin sit comfortably, check your posture to make sure your diaphragm has room to expand, and your clothes are not binding. Then close your eyes and gently bring your focus to the space between the eyebrows. This is not a crossing of the eyes but a gentle upward gaze. One may practice three slow deep inhales and three slow deep exhales to calm the body and mind. Allowing the belly (below the navel) to extend out on the inhale and lift up and in on the exhale. Relax and try this now...... just allow your attention to follow a nice long inhale and then a nice long exhale repeat this several times. Remember, attention follows intention. So set your intention, it may be as simple as "May I breathe in peace".
This simple practice can lower your heart rate, calm the nervous system, improve the endocrine system sending endorphins out into the blood stream, increase blood flow, oxygenate the brain and create new brain cells…. to mention just a few of the benefits of meditation. This practice may only take a few seconds and at the end you may notice a shift or change. Please take a moment before rising to set an intention to take this peace with you out into your life.
There are many well-trained teachers and techniques available. It may be in the busy high traffic studios or off in the mountains or it may be a small quiet place near by, so look around. Many practitioners I have spoken with agree that when you are ready and available your path will lead you to what you need.
Once you have found a technique that resounds within you, establish your practice. Use the same technique for some time, a few months at least, to allow the body and mind to settle. After a time you may wish to add or change a technique to expand your experience.
I would like to take a moment to discuss what is meant by techniques and meditation. There is a large range of techniques out there, know there is one that will speak to you. Techniques are effortful tools used to bring one to the doorway of meditation. We must each walk through that doorway alone into meditation. Meditation is a one pointed effortless focus. I would be remiss if I did not add a note here about what happens when we get quiet. When stillness comes, emotions we thought were long gone will rise again. This is normal and as my meditation teacher Sri Goswami Kriyananda advised us, "The ghosts of the past want to live again". Meaning those emotions from our past that have been pushed aside or buried will rise. As we learn non-attachment by moving from an emotional state to a feeling state, they will loose their hold on us. A good teacher will be able to assist you with this. Then you will begin to live the life you were meant to live. To begin all you have to do is show up, so don't miss your chance to be present for your life.
Kitty Downey, E-RYT, CMT
©2013 Kitty Downey All rights reserved