Meditation how? Does what??

Have you heard that meditation prevents heart disease, relaxes muscle tension and creates a tranquil state???

The idea of starting a meditation practice may seem like a distant goal.  If you are seeking peace of mind through meditation, it is important to “let go” of expectations of what it may bring.  The benefits of meditation, from a diligent practitioner, will shine through with patience and consistency. We won’t receive instant gratification because meditation is a practice that involves daily effort.  Sometimes the rewards are subtle and gradual.   

I’m often asked, “how do you rid yourself from thoughts?”  As though meditation is suppose to free you from all disturbing thoughts.  Meditation provides you with the ability to witness your thoughts and the thoughts that you may be suffering from.  In addition, it offers freedom from attaching to negative or unwanted thoughts. I often describe meditation with the concept of a washing machine for the mind.  It takes you to a deeper level of consciousness to provide an emotional support system. Eventually, you will experience more peace, joy and connectivity to your blissful self within.     

First, a successful meditation practice begins with taking time for yourself everyday.  Carve out a piece of your day, at the same time everyday, to create habit. Typically, a traditional practitioner, meditates as the sun rises in the early morning.  Because the mind is minimally stimulated before your day begins, you will find it easier to focus.   

Once you have committed to a time, you will need to find a comfortable sitting position for yourself.  This depends on the person’s physical abilities to sit cross legged or with sit bones over ankles with feet behind you.  In the cross legged position, you should make sure your knees are lower than your hips by using a cushion, pillow or block.  Perhaps you have a limited range of motion and find the two typical sitting poses, mentioned above, are not comfortable for your body.  In that case, you may sit on a chair. After finding your comfortable sitting pose, stack your spine in an extended upright position with shoulders over hips and allow the head to float above the support of your body.          

Next, You will bring awareness to breath and cultivate a relaxed and quiet breath.  Imagine feeling your lungs from the bottom up with breath. Let yourself relax between the transitions of inhalations and exhalations to embrace the seamless quality.  

Now that the body is at rest and the breath is relaxed we can close our eyes and bring our mind’s awareness to the eyebrow center.  Begin to watch as the breath moves through the nostrils feeling it’s warm and cool qualities with each passing.  

Lastly, start linking the vibrational sound of “SO” with every inhalation (quietly to yourself) and the vibrational sound of “HUM” with every exhalation.  The repetition (SUTRA 1:28) of vibrational sound of mantra brings protection and guidance as we navigate through meditation. With that brings elimination of impediments (SUTRA 1:29).  A mind free of doubt, fear, worry and grief finds no reason to be distracted by worldly matters. 

Meditation has transformed my views from a situation that would typically cause me suffering into a stable feeling of peace. I now celebrate the death of a loved one by feeling gratitude for the time spent with them rather than feeling the loss of their presence. I now respond to more stressful situations rather than react. That peaceful place within is more familiar and closer to the surface because of my meditation practice.   

A credentialed teacher ,who practices daily, may help guide you towards mastery over the practice of meditation. One who understands Yoga Philosophy and it’s gifts.   

I wrote this blog on Guru Purnima Day in honor of my teacher’s; Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Shari Friedrichsen, Luke Ketterhagen, Kathryn Chalfant Templeton, Judy Moulton, Sarah Guglielmi, Sandra Anderson, Rolf Solvik and Dr Claudia Welch.  May they always be blessed with eager learners who value this sacred practice.  

I hope for peace, love and blessings to all who read.  May you always be truthful and intentional in your lives.