Building a Meditation Practice
There is only one way get better at meditation and to receive more benefits from it– and that is regular as well as punctual practice. There are no short cuts.
Here are some tips that will help you build a daily practice into your busy life.
1. Choose a time - first thing in the morning - where you can set aside 15 minutes to be calm and quiet. Be realistic, choose a time when you are actually going to be able to get up and give it your best effort – every day. Yes that does include Sundays.
2. Create a beautiful space where you will practice you meditation. Put flowers and candles there. Find inspiring images of nature. Keep some inspiring and spiritual books within easy reach. Set up a sound system where you can play spiritual music. Make it a sanctuary where you will want to spend time. Only use this space for your meditation and reflection.
3. Make sure you shower and wear clean, light and loose fitting clothing for your meditation practice.
The above will help provide an environment that is conducive to a more fulfilling inner experience.
1. Begin by closing your eyes. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe if it is shallow or deep. Is it fast and superficial?
2. Make an effort to slow your breathing down. Work on filling and emptying your entire lungs. Concentrate on filling your lower lungs by expanding your belly then fill your upper lungs by expanding your upper rib cage and back ribs.
3. To ensure you fully exhale collapse your upper chest emptying that part of your lungs and then contract your belly by drawing your belly button toward you spine. Imagine these breaths to be cleansing you of built up tension and stress. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for at least 5 minutes.
4. Now draw your attention to your muscles and consciously relax all the muscle groups beginning from the tiny muscles in your face and back of your head. In rhythm with each breath choose a muscle group or part of you body to soften and release tension. From your face and head work on down your neck, shoulders, chest and so on, all the way down to your toes.
5. Open your eyes just enough to let light in. Rest your eyes on either a candle flame or a flower that you have in front of you. Don’t think about anything just allow you attention to be focus on the object in front of you.
6. Feel you are breathing in the quality of either the candle flame – light or the flower – beauty. With each breath feel that quality entering into you.
7. After 3-4 minutes close your eyes and imagine the candle flame or flower inside your heart. Feel these qualities of light or beauty radiating out into your entire being.
8. Finish by chanting 13 times a quality which you would like to increase in your life and share with the world. Here are some suggestions “Peace,” “Light,” “Beauty,” “Love,” “Joy.”
Good luck and happy meditating.
About the Author
Salil Wilson has been practicing meditation for 27 years under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy. Salil also serves as the Executive Director of the World Harmony Run, an global Torch-Relay - promoting the ideals of peace and international understanding.