Meditation Made Simple

Hari Venkatesan

Meditation is very simple. All it involves is a willingness to close our eyes and take a pause. Short as it may be, this pause is of great significance. It allows us to take a break from the incessant wanderings of the mind and dive into peace and tranquility ever present within us, the result is a refreshed mind and body, ready to take on new challenges.

So how do we meditate? Many people who are attracted by the idea of meditation often give up due to stringent requirements. While these requirements have a basis in history and tradition, they may no longer be suitable for life today. In any case, they should not be a reason to restrict the practice of meditation and miss out on its benefits in the process.

First of all, we do not need to meditate for long hours, sitting in the lotus position with our back upright. Ideally, we should start our day with 30 minutes of meditation which is sufficient to allow the mind and body to come to rest and reach depths that leave one refreshed. It would greatly help if we could have a fixed place and time for meditation as regularity helps us prepare in advance. However, where work schedules or practical constraints make this difficult, one can meditate at any time and place. Also, the half hour of morning meditation can be supplemented with more practice for any length of time and at any time and place during the course of the day. This would be a much better use of time than allowing the mind to aimlessly or compulsively shuttle between past memories and future concerns.

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The lotus position depicted in pictures of people meditating was adopted by ancient sages as they found it to be in sync with the idea of retreating inwards. The turn towards the inside begins with the feet and hands drawn inwards and not extending outwards. However, if you are not used to this posture, you could simply sit on a chair with the legs gently crossed and the palms resting in a comfortable position. It is worth experimenting with various postures to determine which posture aids meditation best for you. Of course, we cannot lie down and meditate, this is because that degree of relaxation will trigger sleep. It can of course be a good solution for sleepless nights, where instead of twisting and turning, you could simply relax and think that I am going to meditate, chances are that you will fall asleep soon.

Once you have found a comfortable position, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and imagine that each time you breathe in it extends to the top of your head and each time you breathe out, it goes out through your toes, progressively relaxing your entire system. Repeat this a few times till your body is relaxed, without any tension anywhere. Any time you are feeling tense or anxious, another way to effectively relax is to slowly guide your body and mind. Begin with your toes and slowly move upwards, consciously letting your muscles loosen. The abdomen and face muscles are crucial and they are often tense for prolonged periods.

Once you are relaxed and comfortable, remind yourself that as far as possible, you will maintain this position unaltered. Of course, if there is any pain, numbness or discomfort, you are free to adjust your position at all times. Now tell yourself that in what is to come, you do not have to do anything or think anything, you simply have to relax, step back and be a witness.

Also Read: Heartfulness meditation: The elixir of life

Turn your attention towards your heart i.e., the point where you can feel your heartbeat. If you are unable to feel it, simply take the centre of your chest as the point. Tell yourself that a divine light is present in your heart and you are simply waiting for it to reveal itself. In other words, you are not imagining what this light looks like, nor are you thinking about what you are supposed to see. You are simply waiting for something to emerge by itself. Now remain in this state of waiting and witnessing. As you do this, it is natural for thoughts to come and go. Simply ignore them. What this means is that when you become aware that you have started following a train of thought and are actively thinking, planning or worrying, gently remind yourself to put it down and return to the state of waiting and witnessing. After a few times you might find yourself going deeper and deeper, as though you are about to go into sleep. Do not resist, simply relax and let go. The key to a good meditation is simply the ability to let go and relax, problems arise only when we struggle with thoughts or anxiously hope to revisit a pleasurable experience.

As we need to get used to the process, it would be good to set an alarm clock for 30 minutes and tell your mind beforehand that whatever happens you will rise only when the alarm rings. This is simply because once the mind begins racing with thoughts, it will tell you that there is so much to do, perhaps it would be better to get up and get going and return to meditation another day. When thoughts become too bothersome or you begin feeling trapped, simply open your eyes, take a moment to look around and then close your eyes again and continue. This will effectively release the struggle. Remind yourself that this is a process, 30 minutes well spent in one day. We meditate precisely because the mind feels besieged with things that cannot be resolved immediately. When effectively done, meditation will put things into perspective and help us focus on what we can do, naturally. The most important part of meditation is not what you feel during the process, but instead what happens after meditation. Record your state of mind and any changes you observe in yourself after meditation and gradually you will be able to perceive the balancing effect of meditation.

Also Read: Finding peace with heartfulness meditation

Heartfulness meditation aided by yogic transmission is particularly suited to ordinary people with busy lives, who wish to attain balance and inner peace through a simple yet effective practice. The unique features of transmission and cleaning help seekers achieve deep meditation and transformations very early in their practice.