Begin your journey inside – meditating explained.
Before I began to meditate, I was pretty crazy. The craziness is still there, just now I am aware that I am crazy. I breathe, I accept, I observe and slowly, I am becoming less crazy. When I meditate I am less stressed. And through my practice I am learning to let go of the past and to be less worried and fearful of the future. I am also learning to trust.
Meditation is the best thing that I have come across to help quiet my mind and access the ‘consciousness’ that is available to everyone. There are many forms of meditation, and each one has its benefits. Master of the subconscious, David Lynch, is an advocator of transcendental meditation:
“I started Transcendental Meditation in 1973 and have not missed a single meditation ever since. Twice a day, every day. It has given me effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within. This level of life is sometimes called “pure consciousness”—it is a treasury. And this level of life is deep within us all.” – David Lynch
In 2005 he started the David Lynch foundation, which is doing a lot of good work. (davidlynchfoundation.org.uk)
Below I am giving guidelines on how to meditate. I see a lot of features online about meditating and many different downloads etc, but I wanted to give you preparation for the simple base levels, which are so important… I remember when I started a few years ago, I had no idea what to do, or what to expect to happen in my head. I thought that I would actually stop thinking, but that, my friend, is a myth (unless you’re a pro-meditator and live in a cave somewhere). You maybe get half a second of clear thoughts, but what meditating actually does, is teach you not to attach to your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You are the detached witness behind your thoughts. As I have progressed in meditating I have learned to become a channel and when I am clear and focused, inspiration, insights and ideas come through me in their pure form.
Meditating is a way to connect with yourself, to go inside, find answers in the unconscious that your conscious mind can’t always answer, to relax, feel more creative flow, switch off the mind chatter, calm the nerves, feel less stressed and ‘rushed’ all the time, find stillness in the chaos, find space to hear your heart and soul, connect to your breath and use your lung’s full capacity (as standard we only use about 30% of our lungs, especially if stressed), reduce anxiety, clean out your internal system, massage the organs with the breath, oxygenate blood flow, replenish your system, balance the mind … and lots more!
“Although breathing is mainly an unconscious process, conscious control of the breath is possible at any time. Consequently, it forms a bridge between the conscious and unconscious areas of the mind. Through the practice of breathing exercises, the energy trapped in unconscious mental patterns may be released for use in more creative and joyful activity.” (Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Bihar school of yoga)
We create many arguments in our head on why not to meditate – mostly not enough time, but this is just the egoic mind chatter (yogis call the monkey mind), telling you not to. There is also a fear to go inside and to really know the self – fear of what lurks inside. Yet, this is actually the key to everything and the deeper you go on the journey, you realize the deeper there is to go, and life shows itself as a gift; its beauty unfolding at every moment. It’s so important to meditate and connect with yourself every day. Most of our lives are focused on the outside world and we never have time for ourselves, yet THE most important relationship you will have in life, is with yourself, so it is important to cultivate this. To see how you are feeling every day (it’s amazing how little we do this), and move any stuck energies, emotions, thoughts, etc.
“Man, know thyself and thou will know the universe and God. ” – Pythagoras.
Where to meditate / what can help:
A great way is to create a space in your home for meditating, one that as soon as you go to, you know you will feel peaceful. Try to create an altar with the four elements on it – Earth – representing the physical (for example a crystal), Air – representing the mind (incense), Fire – representing the spirit (a candle), Water – representing the emotions (a glass of water, please make sure it is cleaned regularly). And maybe an image of a deity you feel aligned with, that makes you feel peace or power. Or why not a modern day God or Goddess, I actually had David Bowie on one of my altars in my last home
If this is not possible, e.g you travel a lot and are away from home, have some kind of talisman that you know as soon as you hold, you drop into yourself – for example can be a crystal (clear quartz is good – for clearing energies / enhancing energies, or rose quartz – for love, harmony and compassion of the self and others, or if you give away a lot of energy and feel ungrounded, I would suggest something like hematite, which brings you back down to earth. Black tourmaline and smoky quartz also absorb negative energies.
When you meditate, hold your crystal (or it can be anything that calms your mind) in your hand. For women, you should sit with your hands on the centre of your lap, palms up, with the right hand rested on top of the left. For men, the left hand should be rested on top of the right.
Your left side is your feminine / receiving, your right side is your masculine / giving.
Relax your grip and feel the energy. Don’t think, just feel and focus on the breath.
You can also meditate without holding anything, in which case, just let your hands rest in your lap (same hand position), or on top of the knees, palms up to receive energy.
You need somewhere where there is natural air running through and most importantly where you aren’t likely to be disturbed. Also make sure you won’t be cold.
Nature is a perfect place to meditate and a great way to connect with the elements.
Do not meditate after a heavy meal (first thing in morning is great to meditate as the mind is clear of the day, or last thing at night, so you go to sleep with a clear head).
The best way is to sit cross legged on the ground, or on a chair if cross legged is uncomfortable / you aren’t able.
The most important thing is that your back is straight so that energy – moved by your breath – can run up and down the spine. The spine is your support and backbone of life, remember this. See more here.
When comfortably seated, take a deep inhale through your nose, slowly fill your lungs fully up. As you exhale (through your nose), try to imagine that your tailbone (base of spine) is rooting down into the earth and connecting to the earth’s energies. As you deeply inhale again naturally elongate your spine up with the breath, until the breath reaches the top of your head. Keep breathing.
Be aware of the tendency to hunch your shoulders to your ears (we carry a lot of tension in our shoulders and should be conscious to not hunch up). Roll your shoulders up back and down, so that your heart is open and shoulders relaxed.
Imagine an invisible string is pulling the crown of your head towards the sky. Your chin should be parallel to the earth and your jaw should be relaxed (another tendency is to clench the jaw).
Place your hands comfortably in your lap, palms up to the sky.
What to wear:
Wear comfortable clothing / nothing restricting, make sure you won’t be too cold.
I would start with ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night, and build from here. Even ten minutes a day you will notice a difference. I have this theory about mind chatter, if you aren’t aware of your thoughts, they go round and round your head and keep adding ‘crap’ as they go around. Meditating is a great way to not attach to these thoughts and just observe them; being the witness to the mind chatter and not letting it rule you. You are not your thoughts. You are that which is behind your thoughts.
Make sure you won’t be disturbed.
The breath is the gift we have and the path to clearing everything in our body, mind, emotions and spirit. You can use it to heal yourself. So many ailments come from not breathing properly.
It is important to slooow it down. I read recently about breathing, that dogs breathe 15 – 60 breaths per minute (living on average 10- 15 years) humans breathe 8 – 14 breaths per minute and turtles breathe 3 to 5 breaths per minute, one of the longest living animals on land.
In meditation, you breathe in and out of your nose. The mouth is closed, jaw is relaxed and the tongue is rested in the mouth. Or you can place the tip of the tongue into the groove at the roof of the mouth (this is calming for the mind).
When in position, just take a few minutes to observe your breath’s natural patterns and rhythms. Is it long and deep, or shallow and fast? Just observe, don’t try to change, don’t judge yourself or your breath. Notice your breath is cool as it enters the body through the nose and warm as it leaves the body through the nose. Observe the breath as it flows down back of the throat, into the chest, the lungs. The ribcage and abdomen expanding. Your lungs expanding and relaxing. Do not control the breath, observe. You are the detached witness.
With this body awareness, begin conscious control of your breath.
There are many different breathing methods, but we will focus on the breathing pattern 4 / 4.
Inhale slowly for the mental count of 4
Exhale slowly for the mental count of 4
And continue – letting the breath gently inflate and expand your lungs as you inhale and fully leave the body as you exhale. Slow deep, breathing.
If you find this easy, you can extend the count to 5, 6, 7 etc. as long as it is a nice, slow, easy rhythmical movement.
If you find this easy, you can go to the 7 3 7 breath.
Inhale slowly for the mental count of 7
Hold the breath inside for the mental count of 3
Exhale slowly for the mental count of 7
The hold on the inhale shouldn’t be forced or difficult, if it is, just simply breathe in for 7 and out for 7. Don’t stress or strain your body in anyway, do what is comfortable, this is very important.
Any thoughts that come up, don’t attach to them, ignore and let them float away. I like to use the blue sky analogy – imagine you are looking up at a blue sky and that any thought that comes is like a cloud, just let it pass and keep looking at the blue sky (clear mind), focus on the breath, in and out of the body.
You are not your thoughts. Through meditation, you become aware of this. You experience awareness. You know not to get attached to your thoughts, but let them pass by like a cloud.
I will aim to give other kinds of meditations as this goes on. There are colours you can focus on as you inhale and exhale, mantras, sounds around you, focusing on the belly expanding and falling.
The most important is that it feels right and resonates with you.
Other things that can be a meditation include cooking, dancing, walking, yoga, drawing, writing, listening to music, playing music, making music, gardening, sports. Anything you make a conscious activity – applying breath and focus to it – can be a meditation.
Some good links to check:
For iphones: check the headspace app
https://chopracentermeditation.com/ – regularly does 21 day meditation challenges
This post was written by Kim Booth