Managing with Meditation
Meditating each day has a definite effect on how calm and relaxed you are. Spending just 20 minutes a day in meditation can have a tremendous impact on your health. Meditating on a regular basis helps calm a frantic lifestyle.
Peace and Meditation − Paramahansa Yogananda was the creator of the 'Self-Realization Fellowship' and the author of 'Inner Peace'. In this book he stated, "Calmness is the ideal state in which we should receive all life's experiences." He also says that meditation allows the cultivation of an inner quiet, to chase away nervousness and stress. Although he died in 1952, he is considered to be one of the outstanding spiritual teachers that connected the West to the East.
In order to properly meditate, you must shut out the outside world. No distractions are allowed during meditation – so all phones, computers, etc. should be turned off.
We are constantly bombarded with technology throughout our day. Meditation gives you an escape from those distractions. Studies reveal that meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day, can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Meditation Hints – Some helpful hints on meditating are:
- Where to meditate : Find a quiet, peaceful area in which to meditate. It may be a room in your home, dedicated to meditation, or simply a corner of a room. Furnish it with items that hold spiritual meaning to you, to create a kind of shrine − whatever will get you in a reflective mood. You may want to meditate outside so as to listen to the ocean or hear a stream trickle by. You may choose a quiet forest setting, or watching the moon rise.
- How to sit : When you picture meditation, most people envision sitting with your legs folded with your hands on your knees. You can do this, but whatever sitting position is most comfortable for you is what you should do. Meditation can be done anywhere and at anytime.
- Do I close my eyes? It is best to keep your eyes open, in order to keep all of your senses alert. You are not trying to go to sleep, but to put your body in a condition of ‘relaxed alertness’. Although your eyes are open, you should not be focusing on anything specific. You should also have your mouth slightly open.
- When to meditate : Most books on meditation suggest doing it twice a day for 20 minutes. The length of time is unimportant so long as, according to Sogyal Rinpoche, it "brings you to a certain state of mindfulness and presence, where you are a little open and able to connect with your heart essence". When you first start meditating, aim for four to five minutes at a time; then take a one minute break. Rinpoche believes that meditation happens frequently during this break. It is also suggested that you should meditate at the same time each day. A Benedictine monk, David Steindle-Rast, advocates starting your day fifteen minutes earlier in order to meditate.
Meditation Fundamentals – There are four fundamental guides to meditation:
- Breathing : Begin by exhaling deeply several times, to free your lungs of carbon dioxide. You may want to learn the method of picturing a lotus blossom in your lower abdomen then, as your breath fills your abdomen, picture the petals of the blossom expanding. Then, whilst you exhale, imagine the petals closing up.
- Focus : Focus lightly on an object. This could be any item that is spiritual in nature to you. Observe the object in a peaceful manner.
- Recitation : The word mantra means ‘that which protects the mind’. When you chant, or recite a mantra, you are giving your energy and breath power from that mantra. As with the object you focus on, choose a mantra that embraces your spirituality. You should chant your mantra softly, paying intense attention to it. Allow your mantra, your breath and your awareness become one.
- Guided meditation : Guided meditation means to focus and direct your imagination to a conscious goal. This is very similar to guided imagery.
Meditation benefits are subtle – you probably won’t feel the benefits whilst you are meditating, but you will notice them later, as you respond to emergencies in your day in a calm manner. Meditation is something you do to reap the benefits later on.
Rinpoche says that "the real miracle of meditation is a subtle transformation that happens not only in your mind and your emotions, but also in your body. He says "even your cells are more joyful."