The art of meditation is one of the most profound spiritual practices or techniques we can engage in. Through meditation, we anchor ourselves in the Holy Now which means that we step out of time and into the eternal. The eternal is that which is beyond time.
With this definition, we can be said to be meditating any time we step out of time, out of opinions, judgments or labeling. Whenever we are observing something without having to put a name onto it, we can be said to be meditating.
Even when we are formally meditating, we move in and out of actually meditating. We may be said to be meditating when we “are awake” and fully present. And we are preparing to meditate as we “fall asleep” and get caught up by trains of thought.
When we meditate, we allow ourselves to become still enough to realize that we are not our thoughts, not our bodies and not our emotions. But that we are the one experiencing these. We connect with the truth of our being. We know that we are spiritual beings having a human incarnation. Not merely having a human experience.
The Practice of Meditation
Now, there are different forms of meditation and infinite ways to practice meditation that we will not go into here. However, we are wise to find a meditation practice that best meets our needs and desires.
Whatever form we use to meditate, it is of great need that we do not just sit down without first stating the intention of our sitting. As a spiritual practice, the intention should always be to wake up. To come into a greater realization of that which is real. To have more profound insights that God is all and that we are all in and of God.
As we enter into formal meditation, we do so being alert an aware. Diving deep into the Holy Now, we enter into deep communion with God. We become increasingly open, available and receptive to catch intuitive hits and hunches.
Repetition is the key to growth and unfolding
Repetition is the key to growth and unfolding. And so the more we practice anchoring ourselves in the Holy Now, the more we strengthen our presence muscles. The stronger they are, the easier it will be to remain present. Both in general and when challenging situations or circumstances arise.
In these challenging circumstances, being present is necessary if we want to make use of our ability to choose. To respond rather than react.
Also, if we lose our footing and fall back into time, it will be easier and quicker for us to regain our presence in the eternal once we become aware that we have fallen out of it.
We need to make it a habit to meditate every day in some form or shape. Even if it is just for a few minutes. We are all vibrational beings. As such all our thoughts feelings and actions carry energetic vibrations. All our choices send a vibrational message to the Universe which then corresponds to those vibrations guiding and assisting us accordingly.
By sending the message that we truly desire to take conscious part in the evolution of our soul – God will respond to that and assist us with every means available. This is how we grow and unfold.
Remain non-attached to the outcome of your meditation practice
Another important point with meditation is that we need to remain non-attached to the outcome of it. We have set our intention to meditate to have a closer encounter with God and eternity. However, it is crucial that we do not judge or deem our practice.
Sometimes as we meditate, we are able to maintain a high level of presence. Other time we may be pulled off into fantasy-land the minute we sit down. And we only wake up for brief moments during the entire session.
As with all spiritual practices, the art of meditating should not be performed in order to get something or to get somewhere. We are not here to make or force anything to happen. But we are here merely to allow something to happen in and through us.
We sit and meditate knowing that we are precisely where we are supposed to be and that all that happens is working together for our good.
There are so many benefits from meditation. So much to be grateful for. It is a blessed practice. The practice of non-action – which is really the basis of all action. Giving thanks for the meditation practice is a beautiful way to both start and end each session.
Daniel Roquéo is a freelance writer and founder of The Love & Light Store.
He helps individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses do what they may not have the time, inspiration or the skills to do for themselves. Bringing their passions to life through the written word.
Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing.
Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.
Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).
Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.
Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?
Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.
Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.
Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.
Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.
This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN
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