Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finding the Point of Stillness

The key to successful meditation lies in performing a delicate balancing act.  Your body must be held still, but without tension.  You have to be relaxed, but not sleepy.  Your mind needs to be receptive, but alert.

Central station - You might wonderhow you can do all these apparently contradictory things at once.  In time it will happen of itw own accord if you just hold your mind fixed steady on one point of concentration.

This can be your breath.  It can be an object, a word, a picture, such as an icon, or an idea.  Whatever it is, the point of concentration is like an anchor in a stormy sea.  For a long while the waves -- the restless thoughts -- surge around you and threaten to carry you away.  But if you can hold onto the anchor long enough, the waves subside and the sea is calm.  When this happens you experience a sublte, but important shift to an altered state of consciousness.  There are no more interfering thoughts, just a gentle peace and an all-encompassing tranquillity.

You will have arrived at the still center, sometimes symbolized as a dot within a circle.  This is the place where you become at one with your inner being.

Calm in the Storm

As you persevere, the elusive moments of total peace will become easier to reach.  This peace will impact on the rest of your life.

Sacred Space

Meditation takes us to the sacred place within us.  This is the place where mystics journeyed to commune with spiritual powers.

Sea of Troubles

The way to the center of our being is strewn with turbulence.  It takes perseverance to endure the storm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Overcoming Mental Resistance

The breathing meditation might sound very simple, but in fact it is very difficult to perform.  You will find that, as soon as you try to concentrate, all kinds of thoughts and images flood into your mind.

Interference:  Bodily sensations become magnified.  Your nose itches or you want to fidget.  Outside noises seem unnaturally loud and startling.  You might start drifting off to sleep, or else become bored and think you are wasting your time.  Often it is the hands that want to fidget first -- craving something to do.

Don't be discouraged by any of this.  Everyone experiences these difficulties in the early days of meditation.  The rational mind, which is used to being firmly in control of your thought processes, rebels when you set it aside and turn your attention in ward.  It behaves like a child that feels neglected and clamors for attention and entertainment.

So you can overcome the problem by treating it like a child.  Be gentle, but firm.  Refuse to give into its demands.  Acknowledge the thoughts and sensations that inevitably arise, but do not allow yourself to be drawn into them.  Simply view them as if from a distance, then refocus your attention.

It may be necessary to practice this technique time and time again, and there may well be occasions when you fell it is a hopeless task.  But persevere -- it will become easier with practice.

WORLD RESIDUE - all of su have pressures and worries about our everyday lives that can interfere with meditation.  Meditation helps make these worries less troubling.

STRANGE NEW WORLD - When we start to meditate, our inner world can seem unfamiliar territory.  With regular practice we become comfortable with ourselves.


The brain is an incredible organ, capable of thousands of calculations every second.  In essence, we write a book every day with our constant thinking, worrying, and planning.  Meditation puts us in touch with an equally amazing ability of our minds -- one far more rewarding than intelligence or wit.  With it we can get in touch with a spiritual level far beyond the experience of most people.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Take another deep breath and, as you let it out, feel that you are breathing out all tension and anxiety so that you become freer and lighter.  Enjoy these moments, when you can heal and nurture yourself.

INNER LESSONS:  Focusing on your breath can help to bring insights about the essential flux of all things, from the tides of the oceans to the seasons and the natural cycles of life and death.

It is often thought that, in order to meditate, you have to make your mind go blank.  This is almost impossible to achieve and, in fact, it is not necessary to try.  It is far easier and more effective to give your mind something on which to focus.  There are numberous techniques for doing this, some of which will be described later.  A very good exercise to start with involves the use of breath.


  1. Close your eyes and do the progressive relaxation exercise described in the previous post.  Then let the breath fall into its natural rhythm.
  2. Do not attempt to control it: merely observe.  Be conscious of the air entering and leaving your nostrils.  Note the rise and fall of your ribcage.
  3. Focus on nothings but the breath.  When other thoughts intrude, dismiss them gently without haste and return your attention to the breath.
  4. After a while you will notice that something strange happens.  You have the sensation that, rather than breathing, you are "being breathed."
Breathing Meditation

Mindfulness of breathing, as breathing meditation is sometimes known, is one of the oldest, simplest, and perhaps most effective forms of meditation.  It is meditation in its most essential form.  It guides us toward giving our minds totally to the act of listening.  Not to the sounds around us, but to the underlying meaning behind all existence.  In this open state, the meditator is receptive to enlightenment.

If you have difficulty with this process on your own you can pick up a YOGA CD that walks you through meditation.  After several sessions you will be able to do this on your own.

Monday, October 25, 2010


In order to meditate effectively you need to be relaxed.  Most people carry far more tention than they realize, both in the body and in the mind.  Until this is released, it is hard to enter into a condition of stillness.

Progressive relaxation exercise:

  1. Close your eyes.  Make sure your spine is erect.  Take a few deep breaths, drawing the breath deep down into your chest, feeling it expand.  Just focus entirely on your breathing, allow other thoughts to simply to come and then go.
  2. Now expand your ribcage, then your upper chest.  Hold the breath for a few seconds, then let it out gradually in reverse order, first from your upper chest, then the rigcage, and finally from your abdomen.  Again, keep focused on your breathing.
  3. Exhale until all the air is expelled.  Hold the outbreath for a few seconds, then breathe in as before.  Do this until you establish a comfortable, steady rhythm.  Focus on your breath as it touches your lips and then reaches deep into your chest.
  4. Now bring your attention to your feet.  Tense the muscles of your toes, then relax them.  As you do so, mentally command your toes to relax.  Do the same with your feet and legs.  Work your way up, tensing and releasing all the muscles in turn.
The relaxation procedure is very simple -- but most meditation students find that it takes a few weeks of practice to get it right.  You might need to go through it several times before you fell it has really worked.  Don't hurry over this.  Even if all you learn in your first few sessions is how to achieve a fully relaxed state, you will have learned a valuable lesson.

Friday, October 22, 2010

POSTURE - Sitting Comfortably?

The traditional posture for meditation in the East is the lotus posture.  However, it can be hard to maintain this position.  Meditation does not go well with cramp!  If you have issues with your knees like I do, it will be difficult at first to maintain that position.

Fortunately, you can meditate just as well sitting on a chair, as long as it is firm and upright.  Take care before you start that your spine is erect.  Your whole body should be comfortable:  poised but relaxed, your feet firmly on the floor, hands resting lightly on your knees or in your lap.

You do not need to wear any special clothing.  Once again, the first rule is comfort:  don't wear anything too tight.  The idea is to forget about the body so that the mind can be free.

Make sure that the room is suitably lit: dim and restful, but not too dark.  The temperature should be pleasantly warm, but not overly hot.  All these preparations will help you to adopt the correct mental attitude -- and make it less likely that you will fall asleep.

When you first start to meditate, it can be hard to ignore outside noise.  You will be in a highly sensitive state in which loud noises are interruptions jar the nerves.  So make the family promise not to disturb you, disconnect the telephone, then shut the door.  You are now ready to begin your adventure of self-discovery.

Semi Lotus:  If you can't quite manage the lotus position, try sitting cross-legged on the floor.  If you don't have carpet or rugs down, sit on a thin pillow.

Back Traight:  If you use a chair for meditation, choose one with a straight back and spend a few moments before you meditate getting your spine upright.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Everyone can learn to meditate.  All it takes is patience and perseverance.  You don't have to be religious or into "far-out philosophies."  Before you start, you need to create the right conditions.

Meditation space:  Ideally, you should set aside a room which is kept only for meditation, where the spiritual energy you generate can build up and be held.  If, like most people, you cannot afford the luxury of a meditation room, choose somewhere -- perhaps a corner of your bedroom -- where you can sit and meditate without being disturbed.

This area should be simply furnished.  All you need is an upright chair (not an armchair) and a table.  Keep the room neat and tidy.  Open the window frequently to let in fresh air to cleanse it.  Decorate it with pictures you find uplifting and keep fresh flowers there.  This is your special place, your sanctuary.

Try to make time to meditate every day.  You don't need long:  10 or 15 minutes is enough to start with, increasing to half an hour or more as you become more experienced.  Quality is definitely better than quantity!  Early morning is generally considered the best time for meditation, while your mind is still fresh and before you become absorbed in the business of the day.  If you cannot manage this, the next best time is the evening.  But the most important thing is to choose the time that suits you and stick to it.  Good, regular practice acts to condition and train the mind.  You'll find that the more regularly and often you practice, the eaiser meditation becomes.

Basic Setup:  The physical requirements for meditation are few.  Use a straight-backed chair, not an armchair.

Flower Power:  Fresh flowers are a soothing refreshing presence in any room.  Use them in your sacred space to keep your mind engaged and focused.


Meditation brings benefits on all levels of our being.  Physically, it has been shown to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, banish insominia, and aid pain control.


Emotionally, meditation calms us down.  It helps us to rise above all the conflicting emotions, hopes, desires, anxieties, and fears that shape and sometimes distort our thinking.  Through regular practice, we learn how to enter a still space in the mind in which all these feelings are seen as transient and ultimately unimportant in the scheme of things.  From this perspective, we discover what really matters, where we are in life, and where we are going.

This innter tranquillity brings with it greater clarity of mind.  We cope better with stress and can work more effectively.  We become more tolerant and loving in our relationships with others.

But the most significant benefit of meditation is in our spiritual development.  Many people today are looking for something to believe in.  They sense that there is a spiritual dimension to life, but they are dissatisfied with traditional religions and dogmas.  Meditation leads us inward, to our deep center, where we touch the eternal spirit within.  Here, we find our own truth and discover an infinite source of wisdome and love.

REAL REWARDS:  In the stress and business of today's world, it is easy to start feeling out of control.  Meditation can help us to keep a proper perspective on life and to be able to cope with difficult every day experiences.

STILL WATERS:  Just as the sun reflects clearly off still waters, so the world is seen most clearly by a serene mind.  Stress distorts reality and makes things see much worse than they are.

NO MYSTERY:  Meditation is a journey -- so the sooner you start, the sooner you start enjoying its many rewards.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A key part of a healthy life style is meditation.  When we feel good from the inside it begins to radiate to the outside.

What is meditation?

Meditation means many things to many people.  For some it is simply a way of relaxing.  Others use it to bring about peace of mind.  Spiritual seekers see it as a vital tool for connecting to deeper levels of reality.

Meditation has been used in the East for thousands of years, wehre it forms a central part of spiritual practice and discipline.  The western world has been slower to appreciate its benefits.  However, mediation is now becoming accepted not merely as a weird New Age pasttime, but as a practical aid to inner growth and positive personal development.

Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not a passive activity.  It is not a matter of closing your eyes and going into a trance or drifting off into a daydream.  Rather, it is a means of actively focusing the mind on a single point of concentration.  When this focus is achieved, something wonderful happens.  The out mind, the "monkey mind" as Buddhists call it, which is always darting restlessly from one thought to another, slows down.  The meditator enters a state in which he or she is totally centered, and mind, body, and spirit are brought into harmony.

Meditation is a transforming process that can ultimately reach into every aspect of our lives.  It is the first step in a magical journey of self-discovery.