Lama Surya Das in his book Awakening The Buddha Within says,
“Meditation is not just something to do; it’s a method of being and seeing – an unconditional way of living moment by moment.”
In other words, learning to live in this moment because this moment is all we have.
Henry Winkler is quoted as saying;
“A human being’s first responsibility is to shake hands with himself.”
Meditation is an opportunity to ‘shake hands with ourselves’ in a safe, simple way and to balance our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Meditation takes many forms in today’s society. All have one thing in common. They use concentration techniques to still the mind and stop thought.
Various practices exist such as chanting (Mantra), focusing on energy centres in the body (Chakra Meditation), breathing, mindfulness (Mahamudra), loving kindness, formal sitting (Vipassana), expressive practices (Siddha Yoga), and walking to name some of the styles.
Try each style and see what works for you or you may want to alternate between the techniques from time to time. For the purposes of this article, I will discuss Mahamudra and walking meditation.
Practical Steps To Begin Meditating
- Find a place where there are few external distractions. A place where you feel emotionally comfortable, safe, removed from pressure and stress is the optimal location.
- Wear clothing that is loose and sit or lie in a comfortable position.
- Plan to meditate in an area that is warm and comfortable. You might want to have a blanket or light covering as some people experience a feeling of coolness when they aren’t moving around for a period of time.
- We can use candles to focus attention on the task at hand. If you use them, remember to be cautious and extinguish them before leaving the room.
- Relaxation is a key component of meditation. Take a few moments to bring about a state of relaxation by taking a deep breath through your nose, expanding your lungs and diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel relaxed.