Wishing everyone well as we continue to navigate through this very interesting time in history.
I’m going to layout the meditation methods and techniques that I’ve picked up and come to refine and hone for myself along the way since I began meditating regularly 5 years ago.
It’s always a pleasure to be able to share the tools that work for myself with others, for with the ability to meditate I know that a sense of peace is never far away, for myself and for us all.
The benefits of meditating are many and we can observe that positive changes can and do occur across many aspects of our being. The one that excites me the most is the effect meditation can have on our emotional experience.
We could say with some accuracy that our emotions are perhaps the most neglected aspect of our being. These days the idea of self-care is not a new one, and as we all collectively sift through the available resources of information and allow our awareness to expand, it becomes ever more often the case that there are just some things that we can no longer ignore.
This very tangible shift towards conscious behaviour and lifestyle choices leads us to discover the ways in which we can change, and to discover and ultimately experience the benefit of having made that change.
I like to feel good, and this is why I meditate. It’s my preference to feel good-feeling emotions because feeling good - feels good!
For me, this is an all important initial first step as a point of clarity that I find to be fundamental in the process of meditating and certainly for continuing to go back to it time after time.
What meditation is.
Any process that allows for a quietening of the mind, by bringing our conscious awareness to the events of the present moment.
How it helps us move to lighter and higher emotional states.
Emotions don’t exist in a vacuum and they are not random or without cause. We can directly associate the emotions that we feel with the definitions and beliefs that we have about ourselves. What we hold to be ‘true’. The feelings that are felt in the moment are indicators of the beliefs that are active. When positive beliefs are active then positive emotions are felt, when negative beliefs are active negative beliefs are felt. Positive beliefs would be ‘Everything’s going to be alright’, ‘I’m a worthy person’, ‘I’m blessed’. Negative beliefs would be ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m stuck’, ‘I’m cursed with bad luck’. The stuff that these beliefs and definitions are is simply thought. Thoughts that we hold as true for us. And so with the bases of our emotional experience rooted in thought, we can redefine and choose to come to new, more preferred emotional states as we go about the process of changing our minds.
By meditating, releasing thought and quietening the mind, we find that our energy state begins to rise for it is naturally buoyant, and is only kept down by the holding onto of those negative thoughts.
The main aspects that make for effective meditation:
Simplicity - As with anything we can introduce complexity to meditation. For me, keeping it simple in all the ways I can always makes for a powerful experience.
Curiosity - Coming to meditation with a sense of interest and curiosity as to what might happen, to see how it goes, this allows for the perfect point from which to begin. Such a place of intrigue is without any resistance towards the meditation, or insistence as to what we think “should” happen.
Being nice to myself - I’ve not once found any benefit from giving myself a hard time about this or anything else, so it’s best to cut it out.
Never making a chore of it - Most of us have enough obligations and responsibilities day to day, we don’t need another.
We could also say that a true meditative state does not include a sense of “having to do it”. To meditate is to be off duty, to give up on trying, to release effort and burden and free ourselves from the limitations we’ve put in place where by we think that we can’t relax, or that in order to relax and be easy we must have done something signifiant (even strenuous) to earn it.
The Steps of the Method:
Finding a comfortable seated position is best but we can also lie down. Sitting as upright as possible while still being comfortable is best to insure that we don't fall asleep but if you’re feeling particularly awake then laying down might be quite effective. Try both and see what works.
Relax. Taking a few deep breaths all the way into the belly, nourishing and soothing without any force. Every out breath is another opportunity to release tension.
Listen to the sounds you can hear. It’s best to be seated somewhere where there aren’t lots of loud noises going but also a space that isn’t without sound. All sounds occur in the present moment and by being receptive to them, by being open to them we too become more peacefully present. This is listening without interpretation, without identifying sounds as to what they are or what has caused them. Just listening to the sounds exactly as they are and enjoying that.
Let the body do the breathing. Coming into a meditative state means releasing effort and letting things be. When we’ve witnessed a person sleeping and unconscious, their breathing goes on all by itself. We’re wanting to give over the responsibility of breathing to the body, which does a fine job. Here we can just watch and wait and see when and for how long the body chooses to breathe in and breathe out. We can know for certain that we’re allowing the body to do the breathing by how comfortable it feels and how absent of strain and tension our breathing is operating. The easy feeling of it runs directly synonymous with the absence of deliberation.
Notice the thoughts. If and when we find ourselves thinking and hearing that voice in the head, let that be ok. This is the point of success with meditation. Often we can think that by noticing that we’re thinking as we sit to meditate that we’ve messed it up, that we don’t have the ability to quiet our minds and therefore conclude that we can’t meditate. But truly, this is the perfect place to be, for only by our awareness that we are indeed thinking can we do something about it, and that’s great. Upon that realisation that thoughts are occurring we can come back to..
And so we find that in the absence of thought, our emotional states rises. Like a cork that will naturally and effortlessly float to the surface of the water, when we release the thing that was holding it under, our negative thoughts, then we too can rise, simply, effortlessly, naturally, unconditionally.
I hope this can be of some help. For me meditation is something to play with, not work on. So go and play with it and have fun!
All my love to the Plant Base family,