“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.” -Alan Cohen
Meditation is THE TOOL. A simple ten to twenty minutes of meditation can help you overcome stress, find inner peace and balance. People often think they are too busy to stop and meditate but it’s because of how busy we are we all need to stop and take time out to simply BE. (Please read that last sentence again and really think about it.) Do you think we are really here to just be busy or active 100% of the time? Maybe that’s why God (Universe, Allah, etc) created sleep; to force us to take time to just BE. That’s all meditation is; taking time out to just BE. Not doing, not planning, or even thinking.
If you’re looking to increase your happiness level meditation can do the trick. As your mind becomes more peaceful you’ll experience more moments of Pure Happiness – Authentic Happiness; that is not attached to circumstances, possessions, achievements, or substances. Non-Authentic happiness feels good in the moment – but is fleeting and is often followed by feelings of discomfort.
With practice you will be able to stay authentically happy 90% of the time, even in the most difficult circumstances. I know to some that last sentence sounds far-fetched but it is not only possible – with daily meditation practices it is probable. (Please Read “Negative” Emotions are Good!! Page to understand why being “unhappy” some of the time is exceptionally helpful and a necessity.)
- Increased happiness
- Reduced stress
- Increased intelligence
- Reduced high blood pressure
- Increased creativity
- Improved memory
- Improved health
- Improved relationships
- Increased energy
- Reduced insomnia
- Reversal of biological aging
- The answers to the questions you are asking
It is not necessary at first to sit cross-legged, but it is a good idea to become accustomed to sitting in the posture of Buddha Vairochana.
The seven features of Vairochana’s posture are:
1. The legs are crossed in the vajra posture. This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.
2. The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers’ width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom – the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.
3. The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely.
4. The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry.
5. The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement.
6. The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking.
7. The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate.
To begin chose a primary meditation location – Meditation can be done anywhere & at any time but you’ll want to have one location (can be a corner of a room) that will just be for meditating.
Try to choose a spot that is free of distractions and electronics. You can decorate you meditating spot with any item that reminds you of what you’re aiming to accomplish; like: images that remind you of peace and relaxation. Overtime your spot will grow in “meditation energy” and when you sit down you will immediately feel all that positive, peaceful energy you have been repeatedly giving to that location.
To practice meditation you need to have a comfortable seat and a good posture. You can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or you can sit in a chair (you can choose a chair that has a special meaning to you) To make sure your back straight you may want to put a small pillow behind you. Posture is really important because it will keep you from just making meditation time nap time.
Start by letting go of any worries or fears. Tell yourself that you can come back to those later. But for now you will just be with yourself.
Turn all your attention to your breathing. Just breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils and out your mouth. Don’t attempt to control your breath. Just pay attention to it try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. Follow it where ever it goes. Fill it with an attitude of gratitude. Try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
Don’t worry at first, your mind will be very busy, and you might even feel that the meditation is making your mind busier; but it’s just that you are becoming more aware of how busy your mind actually is. You will probably feel tempted to follow thoughts as they arise, but just allow them to pass and remain focused on the sensation of your breath. With practice your distracting thoughts will subside and you will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation.
I recommend beginners start with committing to 5 minutes daily. Set a timer/alarm for 5 minutes before each meditation practice. When the timer goes off you have the choice of resetting it for another 5 minutes if you wish to continue. At first 5 minutes will be challenging enough. Most importantly DO NOT JUDGE YOUR MEDITATION. As with all things in life practice makes perfect. Be easy about it.
Please note – Meditation can be practiced any where, in any position
& for any amount of time (even only 30 seconds).
If the idea of having a special place to meditate, maintaining a special posture, or carving out a certain amount of time hinders you in any way from taking time out to meditate – LET GO OF THOSE IDEAS. And just do what you can easily and peacefully.