Meditation is a practice used for relaxation and rejuvenation. It brings you to a state of peace and bliss, clearing the mind of the day’s stresses so you can live happy. The purpose of meditation is to bring you to the now and to awaken to your true self; you are that which is aware of your thoughts and feelings, not your thoughts and feelings themselves. This is mindfulness meditation. Through contemplation and practice you can sense who you really are. As you meditate every day, you will continue to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the world. There’s no end to the depth of the indescribable feelings and senses which you gain through meditation.
Meditation can help to let go of past grudges that you may be holding towards others, situations or circumstances, let go of any worry or anticipation for the future and bring you to a state of no thought. Life is happening now, not yesterday or tomorrow. During meditation you may also have epiphanies, perhaps relevant to a problem you may be experiencing or simply associated with life itself. Practicing every day balances the mind, body and spirit. The best way to gain an understanding of meditation is to try it yourself.
There are many different ways to meditate, from sitting cross legged to lying on your back, even moving poses. You may chant “aum”, focus on your breath, body, energy or chakras. You can take yourself on journeys to your own sanctuary or practice happiness meditation by focusing on positivity. You may connect with your higher self and find solutions to any problems. Here are a few ways to practice meditation.
Meditation is about living and experiencing life right now. Try this exercise and then bring it with you throughout your day:
Close your eyes and pretend as though you’re new to this world, you have no labels or ideas about anything. Take a few breaths to let go, feel your energy, relax and just be. Open your eyes with the idea that you’re seeing everything around you for the first time. You may pick up small items from around you, preferably things that have no sentimental meaning to you or writing as those types of things cause you to think.
Most people simply label everything, that’s a pen, a keyboard, a tree but when you do that, you never really look. Pick up an object that has no meaning to you and really look at it, if this is your first time you may realise you never really looked at anything because you’re so entrenched in the mind and in thought. Try this exercise outside and see the true beauty of nature. Bring this with you all day, stay present and feel joy in everything you do.
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit with no distractions. If you’re out of practice sitting with your legs crossed then sitting with your legs forward is fine. Also if you’d prefer to lean back on something such as the back of a chair, you may, however be aware that by being too comfortable you may fall asleep.
Close your eyes and take a moment to adjust yourself to be sure you’re comfortable. With your eyes closed, begin to focus on your breath. Take slow deep breaths; use your imagination and your senses to focus completely on your breath. Feel it move through your nose, down your throat, through your chest, into your belly, all the way down to your hips and back up and out again. Imagine watching your breath as it moves down your body and back out. Use your senses to feel as your body moves, expands and shrinks, feel as your chest, belly, sides and back all expand with your breath. Feel the oxygen throughout your whole body.
You will find this exercise very relaxing. Other than relaxation, the purpose of this practice is to bring you to a state of no thought however, you can’t try not to think as that is more thinking! This exercise distracts you away from thinking. As you practice, you will find thoughts sneak back in, each time you realise, simply re-focus on your breath.
Noise and Sound
Eventually through practice every day, you will realise there are no distractions outside of you and you will be able to keep your concentration through external noise. It’s only your internal noise which distracts you, your thoughts. When there’s noise around you, you can simply stay as the awareness and use it to practice focussing on your senses. Listen to any sound completely, with no labels or thoughts about it, listen to the silence between the sound and listen to the space which allows the sound to be.
You can, of course, purposely use sound for meditation. Put on some meditation music and listen completely or head outside to listen to birds, wind in the trees, waves crashing on the beach and even cars passing by. There are also binaural beats which can be found online for purchase or for free which assist you to have a deep meditation.
While focussing on your breath can be a full meditation in itself, it can also be a starting point before practicing other meditation types. Always start by getting comfortable and focussing on your breath for a few minutes to gain the initial relaxation. Once you are in the state of stillness you can then focus on your body. Start with the top of your head, relax and without moving, try to feel the inner energy of the top of your head. Move down your body to each part, relaxing and feeling your inner energy. Relax your forehead, feel the inner energy, relax between your eyebrows and feel the inner energy of the top of your head, forehead and between your eyebrows all at once. Keep moving down until your whole body is relaxed and you can feel all of your energy. It may feel like a buzzing, tingling or warmth.
If you’ve never felt your inner energy before or are having a hard time gaining an understanding, try this small exercise: Lift your hand so it’s not touching anything. Close your eyes and try to feel your hand, the inner energy of your hand. You may feel a warmth or tingling. If you’re having trouble feeling it ask yourself, “How do I know my hand is still there?” Then feel for the inner energy.
You may take yourself on a journey or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. You can use this type of meditation to completely let go and surround yourself with peace and serenity and you can also use this to connect to your higher self. Here are some techniques and examples.
Start by relaxing yourself through awareness of the breath. When you are fully relaxed, imagine yourself in a beautiful garden. This is your secret garden, a place for you and only you. It can look and feel any way you like, have things in your garden that relax you and bring joy. Imagine the look of the plants, flowers and any wild life which may be in your garden, enjoy the vibrant colours. Imagine the smell of beautiful flowers and even herbs. Contemplate how the ground feels under your feet and touch the soft petals of the flowers. Imagine the sound of wind through the trees and the sweet sound of birds singing. What else can you see, touch, hear and smell in your garden?
Train Journey to Meet Your Higher Self
This meditation, I stumbled across a few years ago and I’ve had quite profound experiences with this practice although I have only used it 2-3 times. The train journey meditation guides you to meet your higher self. Your higher self is that which is connected to all, it is who you essentially are. Remember, you are not your thoughts and feelings; you are that which is aware of your thoughts and feelings. When we practice meeting with our higher self within meditation, it’s to tap into our subconscious/oneness/true self. Just like your secret garden, your higher self can look however you wish. You will see your higher self as a separate being to you but this is only because this is how we as humans are comfortable, as this is how our world is, people are seen as separate but your higher self is a part of you and a part of all. If you have a problem you can ask your higher self, you will usually have an instant answer that you just know and this is because you are bringing your subconscious knowing through to conscious knowing.
People with different belief systems have their own interpretation of who they meet and what they see during meditations. Some believe they meet with God or Jesus as they are Christian in belief, others believe they are meeting with Angels who are there to guide them in life and some believe you may meet ghosts, spirits and demons. These people warn that when doing such meditations simply imagine a bubble around you which guards against any evil, choose your favourite colour and put out the intent that it’s for your safety and you only wish to see that which has your best intentions at heart. I personally believe that when I meet other people during meditation, it is aspects of myself. For example, I have met with my inner child. I don’t believe in evil demons trying to take over my body or scare me however, I still put my shield on as a precaution.
Once again, begin by relaxing through breath awareness. Once relaxed, imagine yourself at your train station. This can look how you’d like; this is your station after all. There may be other people there, or it may be just you. Look around your station, how does it look and feel to you, what features does it have?
When you’re ready, a train will come. Board the train and find a place to sit. Enjoy the train ride, look around at the features of the train and watch out the window, what do you see? Eventually the train will go around a large bend and soon after you will arrive at another train station. This is where your higher self is. How does this station look? You may leave the train and go sit with your higher self, ask any questions you feel you’d like answers to, perhaps ask about any problems you may be experiencing in your life. You may not always receive an answer but there will be times when you’re amazed by sudden epiphanies. When you’re finished meeting with your higher self, board back onto the train and go back to your station.
During this meditation you may also meet others on the train. I personally meet different aspects of myself on the train which I only realise who they were afterwards but I always have a very profound, eye opening experience with great epiphanies and lessons.
Through daily practice you will find that your life is happier, peaceful and more at ease. With the practice of mindfulness meditation, you will expand your awareness and live in the now. Your reality and life is in this present moment, live completely by being here and now and find that everything naturally falls into place when you simply just be.