Monday, May 3, 2010
Don't Let Worldly Matters Upset You: Some Meditation Tips
"That's a worldly matter: don't let it upset you". I've been trying to focus on this statement lately when something comes along that is disturbing or causes some fear or fret. "Remember your calm place" my inner voice intones.
The calm place is that place that i go to during meditation. It has taken me years of meditation practice to consistently find it. I notice that when i'm meditating daily i can remember it easily, but if i start skipping days and am inconsistent then i spend most of my time trying to calm the discursive thoughts.
beginners find this discursiveness frustrating and often give up. experienced meditators recognize it as an aspect of mind, and work through it.
i let my state of mind be a signal to me of my stress level: if i can't easily calm my thoughts, then i know i must work at reducing the stress in my life which is preventing me from being calm.
when i sit in meditation i begin with some yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) followed by chanting. this helps to quiet the mind. i chant om mani padme hum . any repetitive world or phase from any spiritual tradition will be helpful. choose a phrase that is meaningful to you. Om is a universal spiritual sound, pronounced "Aum" or ah-o-mmm. it is the root for the word amen .
Wikipedia on Om
before the breathing and the chanting, i like to state my purpose for meditating: why am i sitting today and what do i wish to accomplish from this meditation session. when my mind begins to wander i call it back, and try to remember my purpose in sitting.
when the thoughts get especially discursive and i cannot stay quiet, i visualize an image that's meaningful and inspiring to me. a deity, prophet or saint from any spiritual tradition will be helpful for this purpose. Whatever is inspirational to you and can help you to keep your focus.
when i'm meditating daily i can usually go fairly quickly to that place of calm abiding. in the body, i find it in my chest, behind my sternum (breast bone). it's connected to the heart energy. if i don't immediately find it, i can sometimes get there by focusing on the third eye (the spiritual center, between the eyebrows) and the heart energy simultaneously (i literally go to to the area of my physical heart behind the ribs in my chest). when i have those 2 centers in focus, i stay with it for a bit. then i go the well of my true being. not the one that flitters about, one minute happy, making plans, later angry or sad, but the wise, knowing 'old soul' as some may call it. i find this place physically behind the sternum. i remind myself to remember where this place is so i can easily find it again. when i waver, i call myself back to this dwelling place.
when i find myself fretting, worrying, sad or angry, i remind my self that the problem is a worldly matter and to find the place of calm abiding in which to dwell. KB