Meditations do not necessarily put a person into a trance: many practices are aimed at finding a balance between the material and spiritual, they help relieve tension, train attention and develop the ability to visualize.
How to prepare for meditation
Meditation is about working with our mind and body. Meditative techniques allow us to listen to ourselves and calm our thoughts, help train our attention and renew our energy.
Meditative practices are not necessary for the sake of results and staying in some astral state – it is the process itself and the changes that occur in us that is important. You don’t have to force yourself, you have to have an inner need. However, if you decide to practice, it is important to do it regularly. There are many techniques, but the main difference is the object on which you need to concentrate. It can be an external object, breath, body, phrase.
Before meditation, you should choose a quiet ventilated place. The duration of practice depends on you: you can start with 10 minutes, gradually increasing this time. The main thing in meditative practices is comfort, for a full immersion it is necessary to create a safe space in which you can feel relaxed.
If you’ve just gotten home after a day at work, you need to switch gears first, as you won’t be able to start the meditation itself right away. Exercise, take a contrasting shower or do a little cleaning, and only then can you begin the meditation itself.
You can practice on your own or with an instructor. He will explain what to focus on and guide you with his voice. It is possible to meditate with music, but it is necessary to realize that this is another external object to which attention will be directed. In practicing mindfulness, it is better to focus it entirely on yourself. At least at least part of the time it is necessary to be in silence.
Remember that extraneous thoughts are perfectly normal. They don’t need to be chased away; observe them and become aware of them. Anxiety may arise during practice – this is also natural.
Basic meditative techniques
During this meditation, one concentrates on breathing. At first, one should observe the natural inhalations and exhalations until you feel that the mind begins to calm down. The next step is to control the breath with a simple technique:
- Breathing in through the nose for 4 counts
- Holding your breath for 16 seconds
- Exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds
You may feel slightly dizzy, in which case it is better to return to natural breathing and then resume practicing. Subsequently, you can increase the duration by counting 8-32-16 respectively. The back should be kept straight in order not to limit the movement of the respiratory organs. After this technique, stay in silence for some more time, observing how your breathing and emotional state have changed.
Mindfulness meditation aims at returning to the present moment, one feels one’s presence in the here and now. This technique helps to distract from thoughts about the future and the past.
- During mindfulness meditation we focus not on the object, but on the subject – ourselves
- Sit on a chair with both feet on the floor, or cross your legs on the floor. Your back should remain straight.
- Listen to external sounds, fixate on them, and bring your attention back to your body.
- Focus on the process of breathing, feel the pace at which you inhale and exhale.
- Observe the thoughts that arise without any evaluation: you need to accept them and let them go.
- Turn your attention to smells: try to feel what objects are around you and how they may smell.
- Return to your breathing and take deep inhalations and exhalations.
- Put your hand on the energy center: it is located in the lower abdomen, feel what changes occur in it during breathing. Imagine how this energy begins to circulate through your body.
- Focus on your body and how it feels: what temperature it is, whether it is cold or warm, whether it is tense or relaxed. If you feel tightness, you need to shift your attention to that area of the body.
Mindfulness meditation can also be practiced in everyday life. For example, you perform monotonous actions – washing dishes, arranging books on the shelf, being in the shower. The main thing is to direct all your attention to a particular action.
During this meditation, you must direct your attention to an object. For example, in trataka practice, you focus on a flame or a dot on a solid-colored wall. You can choose your own object – whether it is a flower, a painting or a figurine. This technique not only helps you relax, but also develops your visualization skill.
- At the very beginning you need to consider the object – see its shape, details, shades that you have not noticed before.
- Imagine how you touch this object first with one finger, then with the whole palm. Observe the sensations, changing the position of the imaginary hand. Experienced specialists say that at this stage you feel the energy of the object.
- Now it is necessary to feel the odor of the object without approaching it. Characterize this scent.
- If you are focusing on the flame – focus on the sounds. You can cover your eyes for a more accurate perception. Think about what the sound is like? What is the rhythm, the tempo of the burning process?
- At the last stage with closed eyes you should imagine this object in an empty space and mentally draw it, not forgetting the details. Remember what this object is by sensations, odors, mentally touch it and observe how the attitude to this object has changed.
Body relaxation meditation
One of the most popular techniques that allows you to release tension in the whole body. It is necessary to gradually relax parts of the body, transferring attention to them. It is better to start from the toes and gradually go up to the top of the head. It is best to perform it before going to bed. If some areas remain in tension – analyze why these sensations arise, what is the cause of discomfort. For example, a clenched jaw is most often associated with reticence, and tense shoulders – with the responsibility that lies on you.
During these meditations, you should repeat the text of the mantra 108 times, but you do not have to memorize the texts in an unfamiliar language, you can say any word that is meaningful to you, such as “love” or “peace”.
- Express your intention – what are you saying these words for?
- Chant the phrase, feeling the vibrations throughout your body.
- Next, move on to reciting the mantra.
- Start saying it in a whisper.
- The last step is saying the mantra to yourself. To this step it is necessary to proceed only in a state of complete calmness.
After you have uttered the mantra, stay in this state for about 10 minutes and observe your state, changes in your mood and breathing. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself out loud and answer: how am I feeling, how has my state changed, do I feel tense?
Meditation while walking
The Chinese practice of kinhin is aimed at synchronizing thoughts and movements and helps you find a balance between the spiritual and material.
- Start walking around the room or any other space at your own pace, keep one hand behind your back and the other hand clenched into a fist, creating tension at that point.
- Take steps after each full breath, gradually slowing down.
- Stop clenching your hand, but continue to clench your fist. Your back should be kept straight.
- If you are outdoors, pay attention to outside sounds and smells, gradually returning to your breathing.
- Slow down or speed up slightly depending on your own sensations and desires. The main thing is to focus on your breathing and movement.