Beginning Practice

            Now that we know some of the benefits to be gained from meditation, how do we begin to practice?

Your Place

            First, find quiet corner in your house where you can meditate.  Make it a plain and simple place with a little fresh air and very little noise.  Pick a spot where you feel relaxed and comfortable.  To avoid distractions many people just use a simple wall in their meditation spot.  Or you may want to place a beautiful picture there, or a graceful vase with a single flower, or another inspiring image.  Any arrangement or painting should be symmetrical and peace-giving,  Modern paintings which are distorted or very stimulating may be good at other times, but not during meditation.  The pictuire reflects on the brain cells and they pick up what is in front of you.  That is why the statues in temples are so beautiful and peaceful, with serene in temples are so beautiful and peaceful, with serene faces and sweet smiles.  They create an atmosphere of peace, as you should do in choosing your place for meditation.

Your Time

            Next, select one special time each day for your meditation.  It may be in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening; it does no matter what time of day as long as you have time for yourself and no other duties to perform just then so that you will not be disturbed.  If you are busy with other things when you meditate, your mind will be loaded or bombarded with all your obligations.  So make a peaceful time for yourself.  Decide that you are entitled to twenty-four minutes a day just for yourself.  Aren’t you entitled to allow yourself one minute of peace for each hour of the day?  If you feel that it is absolutely impossible for you to find twenty-four minutes for yourself in a day, this does not suggest that meditation is not for you, but that meditation is a necessity for you.  If your priorities are so arranged that you cannot carve out a brief period each day to come to yourself, your priorities need reordering.

            You may give the rest of the day to your family, your friends, your business or your work, but give the gift of this time for meditation to yourself.  It is a time to be with yourself.  Forget about what you gain or don’t gain.  This thought itself creates tension and there can be no attention when there is tension.  Give freely to yourself this gift of time and remind yourself that for this twenty-four minutes you have nothing to do.  These are a few minutes of leisure and pleasure, simple to feel what you feel inside.

            If you choose the same time every day to meditate, your body will gradually adjust to this new schedule.  If you enjoy a cup of coffee every day at three o’clock, then you will begin to feel sleepy as that time approaches.  Your body is reminding you to have your coffee.  Our body’s reactions are nothing but a series of habits.  It will adjust itself to any new habit we form.  Nothing is impossible.  Some things may be difficult and may take time, but with awareness and persistence, any new pattern can be formed.  Then your body will be your friend and it will even remind you each day that your time for meditation has arrived.

Your Posture

            Now we have a pleasant place and the right time for meditation; the next thing we need is a good posture.  If you can sit in the lotus pose, that is excellent, but do not feel embarrassed or inadequate if you cannot.  If your joints become sore and painful, you will be distracted and you will give up before long.  The lotus position has become famous because in India the people do not usually and so from childhood onward the people sit on the floor.  Their bodies are conditioned in this way, and if they were made to sit on a chair, they would become stiff and uncomfortable.  The beauty of the lotus pose is that it keeps the spine erect, but it is not compulsory for meditation.

            You may sit in a chair or on the floor with your back against a wall, or you may even try lying down.  The two main things to remember in the posture you choose are to have your back straight and to be relaxed and comfortable.  The spine is a beautiful column of energy.  It is an electric line, and all the energy from toe to head passes through that line.  If you know how to keep the spine straight and strong, you will reduce the risk of disease.  That is why the aspirants sleep on a harder surface, to keep the spine from beig bent in sleep.  This helps to keep you healthy and gives longevity and an impressive apperance.

            If you see someone sitting, standing or walking with a slumping posture, you do not think so much of him.  Those who are standing straight and tall naturally please our eye and impress us.  Once you have the habit of being straight then you will always walk and ist with your head up.  No feeling of depression or lowliness will come over you.  The World is nothing but you reflection.  Your posture reflects you.

            The spine is also very important in digestion.  When the spine is straight, all the organs are held in place and our system is kept in order.  When we slump over, the digestive organs are squashed and the blood supply is not as good and fresh.  How can digestion be good when our internal organs are under this kind of pressure?  Constipation results from not eating properly and from not keeping the spine stright.0

            Another benefit of sitting with the spine erect is that our breath can go deep into our lungs.  Shallow breath hurts the body and makes us feel sluggish and drowsy.  When we breathe in naturally and properly, the air goes deep into our body and the diaphragm expands so that the abdomen is pushed out.  Then the navel goes back in when we exhale.  Breathing in this way we feel alert and calm.  You will notice when someone becomes angry or passionate, his breath is very rapid and shallow.  In depression and emotional disturbances we see quick and jagged breathing.  But when you are in meditation or thinking a beautiful thought, you feel calmness and the breath is very slow and deep.

            Experiencing this, we realize how important the breath is to our mind and thinking, to our peace and calm, When we breathe properly, we won’t have fatigue or depression.  The body will receive the proper oxygen supply and flow of blood, and disease will not be able to take root.  To enjoy proper breathing, we must have good posture.

            If you now have any problem with you back or your digestion, you can alleviate it by sitting straight, breathing properly and concentrating on health and vitality.  A story illustrates this point.

            It was noticed that a prince’s spine was not growing straight.  All the cour5 doctors were summoned and it was agreed that unless some treatment was devised, the child would become a hunchback.

            This news greatly disturbed the king, who sent out word throughout the land that a large reward would be paid to anyone who could cure his son of the curvature of his spine.  From that day on, a steady stream of doctors, nurses, scientists, healers, magicians and other sorts poured into the place with every imaginable herb, root, exercise, potion and incantation.  None of the methods improved the boy in anyway.

            Finally a wise sculptor who knew the art of meditation heard of the poor child’s problem and came to the king.  He asked only for some sculpturing supplies and materials and the chance to spend three days with the boy.  However, he warned the king that it had taken a long time for the condition to reach this stage, and they must allow time for it to disappear.  The treatment would take two years.

            For two days the wise sculptor worked on a composition, carefully studying the boy’s physique from many angles.  During this time no one was allowed to see the piece.  Finally the third day came and the sculpture was unveiled.  It was a perfect statue of the boy standing straight and tall.

            Then the sculptor explained the method of treatment.  Each day the boy was to go before the statue and stand in exactly the same upright pose for as long as he could without strain or pain.  He was to imitate exactly the posture of th e statue, including the dignified ad regal look the figure had on its face and the way it held its head.

            The sculptor spent the third day with the boy explaining that as he stood before the statue he must think of himself growing straight and tall and taking the shape of the figure before him.  Each day while standing he was to visualize himself in his mind’s eye as becoming straight and tall like the statue.  The most important thing to remember, the Master told the boy, was not ever to miss a single day.  To be certain, he should do his standing the first thing in the morning when his mind was clear and fresh, before anyone’s glance or remark could remind him of his hunched condition.

            The boy was then eight years old.  O the fourth day the Master left the king’s palace with no reward.  He said that he would return in two years to collect the reward, after the treatment had been proven.  The boy kept up the practice of standing before the figure each morning very early before anyone else in the house was up and around.  Each day he felt himself growing stronger and saw himself growing taller and straighter.  Each day he felt better and better and his confidence improved.  Those who were living around him and saw him every day did not notice any change at first but then they began to see it also.  First they noticed that the boy’s attitude was changing, that he was happier and more sure of himself.  Then they saw the change in his body begin.

            When the wise sculptor returned two years later, the boy was the picture of health.  He cut a truly regal figure, standing as straight and tall as any boy in te entire kingdom.  His father was overjoyed and offered to give the Master anything he desired.  The joy of seeing the boy in health and strength was reward enough for the wise man and he left as quickly and quietly as he had arrived.

            This example gives a glimpse of the power of meditation, our own inner power to change the conditions of life.

Next


What is Meditation? |Beinning Practice | Beginning Meditation: calming Down and Observing Yourself and Your Breathing| Developing One-Pointedness |Deeping Meditation: Emtrying and Focusing | Impediments to Growth: The Ego |Continuing Practice: Meditation on Hrim and Breathing |How Shall we Approach Life Through Meditation? |The Use of Mantras: Veerum and Sohum |Seeking Our True Nature |Deepening Meditation: who Am I? |Deepening  Meditation: Eliminating  Negative Traits |Meditation: The Art of Life and Experience of Light | Review |Meditation and the Art of Communication |Guided Meditation: Experiencing Light and Life| Meditation in Jain Philosophy|Sense Beyond the Senses| Perfection Is in Us|Realize What You Are

 

 

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