What is Meditation?
I have been participating in the Chopra Center’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra. This is not my first experience with him and I dare say it will not be my last.
The first go around the focus was on LOVE, love of self and love of others. I was sad when it was over because it had become an integral part of my day and I felt such peace & tranquility as a result of doing the practices. I certainly need to focus on what I learned during the challenge!
This time the focus is on ABUNDANCE. Each day we have a centering thought to focus upon. For example, Day 2’s thought is, “I create my personal abundance from an infinite source.”. The mantra for that day was Aham Brahmasmi (Sanskrit)
The core of my being is the ultimate reality, the root and ground of the universe, the source of all that exists.(English)
Deepak Defines Meditation – Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.
According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind – the mystery that some people call the spirit or God. We don’t have to use those terms, but it’s your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:
- It’s a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.
- Everything is connected to everything else.
- It’s a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.
- It is a place where there is something called observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.
In meditation, we get into this space so we find ourselves infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That’s what meditation is really about. One of the benefits is how good you feel when you have finished.
Where to Meditate
If you are doing guided meditations, you can plug in, close your eyes, and go within in any safe place you choose where you will not be disturbed. Once you become accustomed to meditating, you can do it anywhere and I do mean anywhere. I have gone into meditation of public transportation. The people around me may think I am asleep, but I am fully aware fo my surroundings, while going deeper into myself. People have commented to me that there is a peace about me that they couldn’t put their finger on until they saw me meditate.
When to Meditate
Morning and evening coincide with our body’s quieter rhythms. Our body knows how to be still; we just have to give it opportunity. Studies show that routines begun in the morning last the longest, but any time you look forward to meditating is the right time. This goes along with the Ayurvedic medicinal philosophy of our body’s rhythms. My experience is that I need to be up for at least a half hour to an hour before I can meditate. Some people do it upon rising in the morning. I think it is important to discover your own bodies rhythms.
Being comfortable is most important. It is preferable to sit up straight on the floor or on a chair to help cultivate alertness, but if you are ill or need to lie down, that is fine. The mind has been conditioned to sleep when the body is lying down so you may feel sleepier. Your hands can relax on your lap, palms up or any way that you feel most open.
Thoughts will inevitably drift in and dance around your mind, but that’s normal. Don’t try to do anything with them – let them be. If you find yourself thinking about what’s passing through your mind, just return to focusing your awareness on the mantra or your breath – you will soon slip into the space between thoughts. I have also been instructed by others who have been meditating for a long time that when thoughts occur we are to simply observe them & let them pass. Do not dwell on the thought or try to come to a resolution regarding the thought. Let it pass like a cloud in the sky.
When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. In an unforced, natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly. It is important to use proper breathing. For instance, does your diaphram fill with air or are you shallow breathing with your chest. It took me a little bit to remind myself to breath as babies do, with the diaphram.
The effects of meditation are cumulative, and setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to retreat and rejuvenate is beneficial. Many schools of meditation prescribe 30 minutes of meditation twice a day, and as your meditation practice evolves, you can extend your time. It’s better to spend just a few minutes meditating every day rather than meditating for an hour a week. I have found that once I get into a deep meditation I am loathe for it to end! It feels so good to sit in nothingness sometimes, especially when you have a busy, hectic life.
The Five Things That Can Happen During Meditation
During meditation, five things can happen:
- We can experience thoughts.
- We can mentally repeat the mantra.
- We can have thoughts and repeat the mantra at the same time. If this happens to you, place greater attention on the mantra.
- Our thoughts and the mantra can cancel each other out, and we can slip into that place of stillness between our thoughts, the “gap.”
- We can fall asleep. If you fall asleep, when you awaken and if time permits, allow yourself about five or ten minutes to complete your meditation.
Sources: Me and http://www.chopra.com/meditationtips#whatis