HOW TO MEDITATE
Have you ever wondered how to meditation? I'd be happy to show you how. This is how. . .
I know, very trite. I couldn't resist! Just like Reiki, Meditation is one of those things that people love to talk about. In fact the best way to learn it is through direct experience. Meditation can be very difficult sometimes because when we meditate, we are basically asking our body to focus in on ONE thing (whether that is nothingness, or oneness). The moment we try to consolidate all of our energy toward one thing, our natural bipedal, bi-polar body responds with resistance. We have left and right feet; we have a left and right brain. We move forward in life by working them dynamically in opposition. We move forward emotionally by making decisions that limit our experience in order to have a fuller more expanded experience.
For this reason and more, meditation can be challenging to master. That's why we call it "a practice." You practice it a little bit each day, and every time you do so, you receive benefit.
People make the mistake of believing that they must meditate a certain way, and that it must the very same way for the rest of their lives. I don't know about you, but that sounds mighty dreary! Because we are creative beings by nature, we feel better if we have choices. We ultimately may choose to do the same meditation everyday because we have fallen in love with it. If that works for you, then enjoy it! If you thrive on change, then plan to change your meditations frequently, allowing a more holistic approach to calming the mind.
TYPES OF MEDITATION
You don't need to sit still on a cushion in order to meditate unless you really love it. There are many, many kinds of meditation, of which just a few are covered below:
Sitting Meditation. Sitting meditation can be done anywhere. My favorite place for many years was at the beach. My most frequented place was at my home buddhist altar, where my eyes could rest upon familiar visuals that would help me drop into a meditative, reflective state. While sitting, you may choose to work with the breath in different sequences. This supports opening the energy centers and clearing the mind.
Walking Meditation. Circumambulation has been practiced in many traditions around the world as a form of meditation. Monks and priestesses have walked through labyrinths across Europe, and in circles around temple Stupas in India, Africa, and the Middle East. Many tribes will do long meditative walks and vision quests, seeking answers and spiritual openness through movement. A beginner can start with a local labyrinth. There are several across the Bay Area, so if you're not sure, post below and I'll share what I know. However, you can also begin by simply walking around your block. This is a great way to get to know the energy of where you live.
Dancing Meditation. Anyone can dance as a meditation. Sufis dance to connect with the bliss and truth of God. People all around the world have sacred cultural dances that are intended to connect them with the mind of God. Today's modern forms include Dances for Universal Peace, 5 Rhythms, Tantric Dance of Feminine Power, Maya Mandala Dance, and more. Most large cities teach regular classes in at least one of these models. Beginners can start with an inspired music cd and intentional dance. In our current Healing the Chakras class, and in other past Healing Heart Reiki classes, we have incorporated movement sequences as a way of reawakening our connection to the body and bringing it into our evolving state of consciousness. It is so easy to become disconnected from the wealth of wisdom in the body.
Mantra Meditation. Singing, chanting, and repetition of mantras to raise us to the bliss state and a oneness mind are quite common in Buddhist, Hindu, and shamanic indigenous traditions around the world. By focusing repeatedly on a single mantra, the mind can unwind from its busy-ness and find balance as the body begins to relax. Beginners may want to check out a book. There are several wonderful mantras that can be found online, or if you're looking for the right mantra, you are welcome to post below and I will try to suggest from the ones I know.
Mindfulness Meditation. Sometimes the work of meditation may not be to eradicate thoughts but instead it may be to sharpen or heighten certain processes in order to create changes in how life is being lived. This mindfulness is then brought into everyday activities, into ritual spaces, and into the spirit of the meditation itself. Most large cities have classes on mindfulness meditation, and there are several resources online for the beginning.
Mixed Meditation. If you are already extremely familiar with all of these meditations, I challenge you to mix and match them for a rich and varied practice. In many established spiritual temples, the monks who have devoted themselves to spiritual practice do more than one form of meditation. Working in the garden may become a practice in mindfulness. Morning fire ceremonies to clear and open the temple are a practice in moving and mantra meditation. Sitting meditation becomes just one part of a larger day that is geared toward welcoming conscious spiritual connection in all things. We don't have to be in a monastery for participate in fire ceremonies to welcome conscious spiritual connection into our lives.
CHOOSING THE BEST TYPE OF MEDITATION FOR YOU
Do you already meditate? Is there a certain form of meditation above that really speaks to you, and that you would like to learn more about? Take a moment to choose a form that resonates for you. You don't need to join a meditation center in order to meditate. You simply need to make the decision. Make a decision to meditate everyday for two weeks. See how it feels! Remember, ultimately, meditation is all about the relationship between you and your highest self and/or divinity.
Once you know what type of meditation you'd like to explore, you then need to set up a space. We'll cover that next week!
This is a short series on meditation! The next part will come out on monday!