Excerpt from Chapter 2, Happy For No Good Reason by Swami Shankarananda
magnaha svachittena pravishet
Meditation is achieved by diving into the
deeper levels of the mind. (Shiva Sutras III.21)
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF modern technology you can immediately begin to meditate. The value you receive from these teachings will depend, most of all, upon your commitment to a daily practice of meditation. I suggest you sit down and listen to the Chakra Meditation, the first two tracks, after reading this short chapter.
The first track is just under eight minutes long. I use this technique in all my meditation courses. It helps you become aware of inner tension. In this meditation you investigate the thoughts and feelings in four of the seven chakras: the navel, the heart, the throat and the brow. I ask questions like: “Is the feeling pleasant or unpleasant, tense or relaxed?” This gives you an awareness of the tensions and blocks you may be carrying and also puts you in touch with expanded and uplifting feelings.The second part is the Healing Meditation . Here relaxation and wellbeing are emphasized. You return to the four chakras with a view towards acceptance,love and peace. Follow my narration using its statements and images to release the tension. Experiment with each idea and image. At the end you can find the best feeling and focus on it for the rest of the meditation.
ESTABLISHING YOUR PRACTICE: WHERE AND WHEN
The traditional time for meditation is early morning. Your mind is calm,the phone is not ringing and the children are asleep. Another good time to meditate is at night before you go to bed or early evening just after you have come home from work. Experiment and see what works for you.A proper meditation posture helps the energy of meditation flow throughout the body. Zen meditation quite rightly describes two ways not to meditate. The first is called Kontin, the posture is too “mushy,” too loose—the chin falls, the back bends. The second, sanran , is the opposite. The meditator manifests too much rigidity and tension in the body. One is too easy-going and surrendered,the other too tight and self-willed.You can sit in a comfortable easy chair or on a cushion on the floor. Your posture should be relaxed and comfortable but also alert. It is best to sit with your back straight and hold your head erect but without tension. It is all right if your head falls forward or backward after you have been meditating for a while.Wear comfortable clothes. You may want to keep a blanket or a favourite sweater handy in case your temperature drops. You may feel cool one moment and warm the next.
Hatha Yoga has become very popular in the West and is practised to prepare the body to sit for meditation. The postures increase flexibility,strengthen the spine and release tension. Hatha Yoga works on every aspect of the body, including the organs. It is physical culture for the 21st Century. Good health and suppleness are by-products. I suggest you find a good teacher in your area and learn the postures. It will help you meditate effectively.
Where possible set aside a room or a niche for meditation. When you meditate in the same place every day, the meditation energy builds. You can create an energy-filled space by placing pictures of great beings or symbols of higher Consciousness around the area—whatever objects or music you find conducive for entering meditation. You might want to burn some essential oils or incense. This creates a positive atmosphere.
I knew a woman whose husband was violently opposed to meditation. If her meditation paraphernalia was visible it caused turmoil in the house. She cleaned out her closet and created a meditation “cave”. She put her meditation pillow in there and had a tape of the mantra playing constantly. She would tell her family: “I am going to my cave to meditate.” She was, in every sense of the word, a closet meditator.
Meditation is the single most important discovery I have ever made.Without doubt it has transformed my experience of life. It gives me great joy to welcome you to the practice.
YOUR FIRST MEDITATION
Now is a good time to sit down and become familiar with the Chakra Meditation. Close your eyes, turn within and follow the instructions on the CD or do the written meditation in the appendix. Meditate to the first two tracks.
KEY IDEAS OF CHAPTER TWO: YOUR FIRST MEDITATION
- The traditional time for meditation is early morning.
- Proper posture helps the energy flow.
- Sit comfortably. Keep your back straight but relaxed. Do not become rigid.
- Hatha Yoga helps prepare the body to sit for meditation.
- You can create an energy-filled meditation space.
- Meditating in the same place every day builds the energy.
- Use your CD or your Chakra Meditation every day for at least half
- an hour.
- Even if you have the CD it is useful to read through the written form in the appendix one time.
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