Meditation: 5 basic rules
The different types of meditation
A method of deep relaxation, transcendental meditation also helps to develop one's consciousness. It is based on the repetition of mantras (or on a sound, the famous "aum").
This can make it easier to practice for some people who find it difficult to remain solely focused on themselves.
Practiced in "mindfulness", this meditation is performed by being attentive to each moment (the present moment), to one's body (internal sensations), to others and to one's environment (perceptions).
Mindfulness here is an awareness that does not seek to analyze and put into words, but simply to observe and experience without judgment and without expectation. It can be practiced while walking, while doing one's activities, but all in full awareness.
Vipassana meditation is based on breathing. While it is one of the oldest in India, it is the one most known in the West. It is generally used to begin the practice of meditation.
It allows in particular to concentrate better and to develop its attention. It trains to look inside ourselves and to observe how things happen in our mind and body.
As its name indicates, this meditation is done either in the presence of a person who will guide you step by step to relax and reach certain states of being, or with an audio accompaniment (relaxation music or other).
The first impulse is essential. If you take 10 minutes in the morning to settle down, or even just concentrate on a mandala or a sacred symbol, you will put all the chances on your side to give a good impulse and positive energy to your day.
Meditation for sleep
If you are prone to insomnia, for example, doing a short meditation of 10 or 20 minutes in the evening can be a good way to find sleep quickly. Indeed, having calmed all your thoughts and your worries of the daily life, you will be in better dispositions to fall asleep.
The benefits of meditation
Meditation, when practiced regularly (this point is essential), allows, after a few months, to free the mind of stressful or harmful thoughts so that it can clarify and calm down.
This gradually leads to a profound transformation which results, for example, in :
- A strengthening of the immune system (approximately 25% increase in antibodies and the number of stem cells in the blood);
- A reduction in the level of cholesterol in the blood and a decrease in blood pressure (with a consequent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular problems);
- An improvement of mental capacities(concentration and attention but also alertness);
- A development of creativity;
- A change in behaviour towards others (one becomes more gentle, more attentive, more sociable, etc.);
- A better management of emotions (anger, depression...) and stress in general;
- A slowing down of brain aging (because of its action on stress, anxiety, negative emotions and sleep problems).
A look back at my first experience of meditation
I still remember it as if it were yesterday! And I would like to share it with you because I think I have accumulated all the things you really need to avoid to meditate well.
It was in 2008.
The atmosphere was sacred. The silence was palpable in the group.
At the time I had a zafu that I had never really used, except for a few minutes
And so the work begins... and I, very quickly, started to have horrible pain in my legs. An advice: if you are not flexible, run away from the meditation cushion!
And when you concentrate on these problems, I can tell you that in meditation, you are not there at all! You start fidgeting to find the right posture, your thoughts scatter, you create noise and confusion around you.
The following sessions I tried other ways to pose my body.... Sitting on my knees.... No more !!!! Sitting against a wall.... I think this is the best way to doze off!
And then I test the meditation bench. THE revelation! Finally the tool that suits me perfectly.
Once I had found the right posture, the work would finally begin..
Rule n°1: find the right posture
You will have understood, meditation should not be a torture or a gym session. The best posture is the one that suits you, the one in which you feel the best
Nevertheless, some rules must be respected.
Which position for meditation?
A basic criterion is that you should be sitting, because this posture allows you to be alert and awake
Moreover, it is important that the sacrum and coccyx, which carry the memory of what you are, are in contact with Mother Earth.
It is necessary that the back is straight, but without forcing, without creating tension. When the posture is right, the back is straight naturally, without effort. The straight back brings the presence of dignity, promotes awakening and connects man to the energy of the sun.
If you sit on a chair, you will have to place yourself on the edge to find the right balance, so that the back enters the straightness without effort (otherwise beware of the risks of dozing off!)
If you sit on the floor, you will have to raise your body slightly so that the back enters naturally in the straightness. Place yourself on a meditation mat if necessary.
The secret of the right posture is not in the posture itself, but rather in theinner attitude and awareness. It is important to sit on the earth with gentleness, love, respect and awareness
The more your consciousness is awake, the more you will find the right posture.
Find the right posture that will allow you to enter deeply into the experience of meditation. Your meditation can become real, alive, intense, effective.
Rule 2: Breathe to meditate
Meditation requires silence and calm in the mind. Before you begin, take a few minutes of deep breathing to bring peace to yourself. Breathing is also a good support, throughout the meditation.
The breathing that consists in breathing in by filling the body with air from the belly to the collarbones and breathing out by emptying the body from the collarbones to the belly, is effective. But if you are not comfortable, you can adopt abdominal breathing, which consists of inflating only the belly on the inhalation and retracting it on the exhalation (without making efforts).
Focusing on the breath is also a great exercise for calming the mind.
Rule 3: achieve stillness and emptiness
When we talk about stillness, what do you think of at first?
The immobility of the body, of course! But you will see that it is not as simple as that!
To put our body, to place it in the immobility are the keys of meditation, but the simple fact of wanting it is enough to make appear in us many things which want to move.
To remain in the immobility is difficult, it is a training and we are not trained.
If you manage to stay in perfect immobility of your body for 20 minutes, in an upright posture, by putting down what comes towards you on the ground, that is to say all the tensions of your body, all the thoughts, all the feelings, the states of mind, the forces inside you which disturb you, everything will become clear in you, your body will disappear
Enter in consciousness in a state of external immobility by observing yourself.
And now try to seek inner stillness. Become an observer of what is happening inside you.
Observe the thoughts going through you. Sometimes it is real chaos inside. The problem with our contemporary lives is that we don't take the time to sit still at all and we never stop to observe our own inner state
Even if you see bad thoughts, do not dismiss them, do not judge them.
As you stand still on the ground, direct your attention within yourself, to the center.
Remain centered and be an observer of what you perceive: a sound, a noise outside, an emotion, a state of mind... no matter what manifests itself, do the exercise of remaining in your center, of maintaining stillness.
By not allowing yourself to be off center, by not moving externally or internally, you will reinforce more and more this state of inner stillness.
My advice: Imagine that you are a lake. Everything that comes towards you, thoughts, feelings, everything that does not conform to the harmony, put it at the bottom of the lake. And let the silt fall back down by itself, so that the water of your lake is clear and pure.
Rule 4: Use mantras to meditate
A mantra is a statement of sacred words or sounds with spiritual meaning and power. This combination of words is invested with the power to protect, purify, transform, the one who repeats them, and can be initiatory and secret. The repetition serves as an auditory support to transmit the idea or the symbol in a vibratory way through the word.
The most famous mantra is certainly the Om, or Aum. For the Hindus, it is the primordial sound which corresponds to the first creation of the universe (the sound before matter), which contains in it all the vibration of the universe and whose repetition puts us in harmony with the universal consciousness. The most used sound, Om (Aum) is the root mantra from which all other mantras come.
- The letter "A" represents Brahman, the creator god. It is the earthly world, the creation, the beginning, the birth.
- The letter 'U' stands for Vishnu, the patron god. It is the intermediate world, the dream, the continuation, the life.
- The letter "M" represents Shiva, the destroyer. It is the centrifugal force, sleep, the end, death. "M" is the state of deep sleep, the celestial world.
Chanting A-U-M harmonizes the psyche and relaxes the entire body by gradually bringing back calm. The repetition of the mantra Om occupies the whole field of consciousness, which leaves little room for the formulation of parasitic phrases: concentration is improved, the state of consciousness refined, thanks to a better control of the mind.
To learn more about this mantra, I invite you to read this article
Rule 5: Use a visual aid for meditation
The mandala, or the symbols of sacred geometry in general, can be used as a visual support for meditation. But a photo that makes sense to you, a statue, a stone ... can also replace the mandala to guide you in your meditation. You focus your attention exclusively on this object, observe its line, its material, and associate ideas that this object suggests to you.
The simplest and most accessible way to focus your attention is to observe without judgment.
When you are in front of your mandala, your symbol, look at it with your child's eyes, without putting any concept on what it represents or on the virtue it carries.
Tell it or think inwardly that you wish to get in touch with it, to weave a link, to understand how to approach it. Ask him to accompany you throughout your day.
Fill the center of your chest with his light and gentle atmosphere.
During the day, mentally visualize your mandala. If you have the possibility (depending on the medium you have chosen - the harmonizing disk is ideal for this), carry it with you everywhere and look at it as much as necessary throughout the day.
And finally, before going to bed at night, look at it again, let its beautiful energy fill your whole being and ask your mandala to accompany you while you sleep. If you wish, you can light a candle and enter into meditation to connect with your mandala in consciousness.
And if you are a yoga teacher, a therapist, or if you are simply looking for a Mandala for meditation, a Flower of Life for meditation, you are in the right place! For this, we recommend the printed canvas that you can hang on the wall. Know that the larger the symbols of sacred geometry are printed, the more powerfully they radiate.
And if you are on the move, on a journey, favour smaller supports, such as harmonising discs, on which you can concentrate very easily.
Beyond a simple practice that we integrate into our lives, meditation can be not only a tool to reconnect us to our inner being, to find calm, serenity, the right inspiration, the right guidance, but it can also become an entirely new way of living.
There are several degrees of internalization. Meditation can be more or less profound, make us live different states of inner awakening and consciousness, and really enlighten and transform our life
But beyond the practice itself, which may only take a short time, meditation can be seen in a broader dimension and be permanently integrated into our lives as an art of vigilance, concentration, and inner mastery.
Mastering the awakening, the right posture, the silence, the calm, the clarity, the serenity can be done through regular meditation practices. But beyond these experiences limited in time, it is in everyday life that we can develop these virtues and give them a growing place in our life.
"Some rules for meditation" at Essenia Ed
Ooreka for the "benefits of meditation" part