Know this before starting: Why meditate. Seriously! So let’s begin
Physically, meditation takes place when although eyes maybe closed you remain awake, which forces the beginners mind to create an inner world for visualization, an inner playground.
Starting Meditation can begin by closing your eyes, but remaining aware, not going to sleep. Usually when our eyes are closed the brain finds it only logical to go to sleep soon. But being able to remain awake while eyes are closed creates an inner-space, an inner playground, for thoughts, ideas, intuition, pre-notion and for designing manifestation. Once this playground is comfortable for the conscious mind, it can expand in its ability of understanding encapsulating beyond the physical human being.
Approximate time required: 20-40 mins
Sit in a comfortable posture (See previous chapter on meditation ‘posture’). You will be sitting for 20-40 minutes. During this experience you will have many a thoughts coming in. For those who rarely sit idle or going through stress, the steam of thoughts could get overwhelming. The purpose of this meditation is to create and become comfortable with your inner space. Generally, when we close our eyes we usually soon fall asleep. Here we will remain awake, and with no external visual input it will be just you and your thoughts alone. You must allow your thoughts to ‘be’ and become comfortable staying with them. Only then will they appear meaningfully to you and reveal the secrets of the Universe. Use the following instruction as guide for your first meditation:-
Phase 1: Let your thoughts settle and mind clear
- In the beginning, allow the thoughts to appear as they do naturally. Do Not try to control your thoughts. Let them come. Watch them. Let them settle at the bottom. As like the mud is settling in the bottom of the jar on the diagram on the right side, let them settle gently.
- Be patient, as your mud settles, and water clears.
- This is the beginning of being able to create that inner space.
Phase 2: Pop the thought bubbles
- As you continue to sit in the meditation, thoughts will continue to come in; Some will be big thoughts, some will be smaller.
- Imagine the bigger thoughts to be like soap bubbles and pop the bubbles calmly as they arise.
- Let new thoughts appear and gently keep popping them as they arise. This should be a peaceful interaction with the thought bubbles.
Phase 3: Letting your thoughts go
- As you allow thoughts to settle down, and pop some thought bubbles, you will find that some thoughts will not burst like bubble and cling on to you during your peaceful state of meditating. As they build up in a corner, let them peacefully ‘go’ like falling off of the cliff of a mountain. (see the image on the right.) Imagine your thoughts are like little Lilliputs clinging on to the edge of the mountain (you). As they cling on to the edges, let them go off gently.
Soon you will experience absolute silence, peace, and raw consciousness, and be able to observe the observer who observes. As you observe the observer who observes, be aware of the observer of the observer, and realize (in that crystal clear state during meditation) your body is something you have been wearing.
Now, with a gentle smile of your consciousness, hold that blissful state while becoming aware of the body’s existence. Realize, it has its purpose and role to play. And that it is driven by impulses and emotions in the daily life. Observe the breathe and try to imagine the millions of bodily activities which take place continuously. And realize its composition, of meat and bones.
Living life as a human can be compared with a boat or a ship in the ocean. Depending on the skies and whether there is a storm, it can be a peaceful ride or a storm can wreak havoc on the ship. Only ‘you’, the one who is dissociated from the body, yet fully in charge and responsible for it, can navigate it in the best possible manner regardless of the weather, and provide it fulfillment of its existence. Allow this observation of consciousness separated from the body to gain deeper and meaningful introspection intuitively and arouse reckonings as it does within yourself naturally.
Mistake 1: Controlling the mind to the point of making it frozen stiff, overly fine and subtle.
Mistake 2: Letting go to mindlessly following ignorant indulgent thoughts.
We begin to practice the mind will either go wandering off thinking of this and that, unaware that the mind is thinking, or we will want to be good and practice well, and will hold the mind still or suppress it. These are the two directions in which we can falter- total control, or mindlessly following the lure of the defilements. They are the two extremes. One is pulling in too much on controlling too much, the other is letting go too much and following the impurities of mind. As Buddhism also teaches the middle way, it is recommended to find the balanced way, the Simple Way.
This was the First Step towards meditation.
The next exercise will provide the building block for further inner discovery and is very important. But that will base off of this one. So it is advised to practice this for a week or more.
Practice this daily for a month
Meditation is not like physical exercise, that you can get away with practicing only two or three times a week. It’s actually the sort of thing that you need to do daily—just like eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth. It’s in that category of activities.
Because you are exposed to stress on a daily basis.
Because your mind may be bogging you down with negative thoughts and attachments on a daily basis.
Because your ego is working on a daily basis.
So you need to meditate on a daily basis too.
Otherwise it will be very difficult to reverse negative pattern of thoughts and emotions, and get in touch with deeper states of consciousness. Thoughts are spinning in your head non-stop, and anxiety doesn’t go on vacation.
What happens if you meditate only once a week?
There is no doubt that you will experience some benefits. Right after the meditation, you will likely feel more calm, centered, and focused. You may immediately feel more clear and present. But that won’t last—because once a week is not enough for you to get real momentum in the practice.
Suppose that you want to boil water. You need to leave your kettle on for 5 minutes, so water will boil. But instead you leave it on for 2 minutes, then turn it off, and come back to it the following week to turn it on for more 2 minutes…
You may do that for all the weeks of your life, but water will never boil. Because in the following week the water doesn’t continue from the temperature it was at the end of your 2 minutes; rather, it has now completely cooled down, so you are starting from zero again.
In a way, meditation practice is like this. And that is why it’s essential to practice it every day—even if for only 5 to 10 minutes a day. If you do that, you will have some continuity in your practice, and it will grow.
The daily habit is what makes a difference between having a practice that feels good when you do it, and one that will actually transform you and your daily life.
You don’t need to make it hard for yourself. Meditation doesn’t need to take half an hour, involve difficult postures, and be a battle with your mind. But it does need to happen daily.