Daily life in modern society is often so busy and hectic that you may feel there is no time to stop for a moment and meditate. Meditation gives you more time by allowing your mind to become calmer and more focused. Meditation also helps you transform your thoughts and feelings so you feel more positive, peaceful, grounded and focused in your daily activities.
A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation can help you to overcome stress and negative thinking. It will also calm your thoughts, feelings and help you become more grounded, balanced and focused. Meditation can also help you understand your own mind.
The purpose of meditation is to let your mind become calm and peaceful. If your mind is peaceful then you will be free from worries and mental discomfort and you will experience true happiness. However, if your mind is not peaceful, you will find it very difficult to be happy. This is so even if you are living in the very best conditions. By training your mind in meditation and mindfulness you will gradually become more and more peaceful and will experience inner contentment and happiness. Eventually, you will be able to stay happy all the time and be able to flow with anything that life throws at you.
You may find it difficult to control your own mind because it is blown around by the wind of your external circumstances. If things go well, your mind is happy, but if they go badly it may immediately become unhappy. You cannot have everything you want and when you are separated from your friends and possessions, your attachment to these causes more pain. If you do not get what you want, or if you lose something that you like, you may feel depressed or irritated. Then you are more likely to become angry and make poor decisions.
These mood fluctuations arise because you are too closely involved in the activity or situation which you are currently experiencing at work, home, or on your travels. You are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first made but becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By meditating regularly you create an inner space and clarity that enables you to control your mind regardless of your external circumstances. Gradually you develop a balanced mind that is connected to your heart and is tuned into the present moment and not the worries and concerns of the past or future.
If you meditate for just 15 minutes on a daily basis, after some time you will be able to watch your thoughts and feelings as they arise. Also you will begin to notice and stop the appearance of delusions, such as anger and attachment to things and people that are the causes of all of your problems and suffering. In this way, you will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as liberation or nirvana. Then you will experience peace and happiness all day and all night.
When you practice meditation decide if you are sitting cross legged on a cushion on the floor, or upright on a chair. When beginning a regular meditation practice it is not necessary to sit cross-legged in the lotus posture. When meditating on a chair it is important to have a comfortable seat and a good posture with a straight back. If you are sitting on a cushion, ensure that the back of the cushion is slightly higher than the front thus inclining your pelvis slightly forward. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent your mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
Place the right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. This helps to develop good concentration and alertness without feeling sleepy. Keep your back straight but not tense. It also helps you to develop and maintain a clear mind and allows subtle energy winds to flow freely through your channels and meridians. Keep your shoulders level and elbows held slightly away from the sides to let the air circulate around you.
It also helps to have your eyes half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. Closing your eyes may encourage you to feel tired and drop off to sleep during meditation. Tip your head a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that your eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement. Also place your tongue gently against the back of your upper teeth.
Focus on your breathing to stop distractions and make your mind clearer and more lucid. Choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. Sit with your eyes partially closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath and become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is your object of meditation. Concentrate on this sensation to the exclusion of everything else.
Initially your mind will become very busy and you may even feel that the meditation is making your mind busier. In reality you are becoming more aware of how busy your mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but you should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of your breath. If you lose focus and notice your mind wondering away from the breath then immediately return focus to the breath. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary until your mind settles on the breath.
You can choose to focus on the sensation of your breath entering or leaving your nostrils or the feeling of the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. You can also mentally count each breath as this may help you focus on your breathing and give an initially unsettled mind something tangible to focus on. Your meditation can be as short or long as you like, for a minute each hour, or 15 to 30 minutes a day in the morning and/or evening. Even 5 minutes sitting in meditation in the morning is beneficial. You can usually find the time to stop and focus on your breath for a minute to calm yourself, connect with the present moment, and recollect your composure.
Benefits of Meditation
Through regular daily meditation over a period of weeks or months you will feel a change within yourself. You will gradually clear your distracting thoughts and you will also experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Your mind will feel lucid and spacious and you will feel refreshed.
When the sea is rough it disturbs the sediment on the sea bed and the water becomes murky. When the currents in the sea die down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. Similarly, your mind becomes unusually lucid and clear when the flow of your distracting thoughts calms down. You stop dredging up negative thoughts and feelings and your mind becomes clear as crystal.
Breathing meditation can be quite powerful. You can see that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind without having to depend at all upon external conditions. You can also meditate in similar fashion by focusing on virtuous objects such as the image of a Buddha or angel, the feeling of love in your heart, or the preciousness of your life on earth.
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and your mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises within. This feeling of well-being helps you to cope with the daily grind and its challenges and opportunities. So much of the stress and tension you normally experience comes from your mind and many of the problems you experience, including the illusion of ill health and feeling overwhelmed, are caused or aggravated by stress.
By happily allowing 10 or 15 minutes each day for breathing meditation you will be able to reduce this stress. You will experience a calm spacious feeling in the mind and many of your normal problems will disappear because they were inventions of an agitated mind which is now calm. With a dedicated meditation routine, difficult situations will be easier to handle and you will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, your relationships will improve and it will be easier to make enlightened decisions and become your higher self.
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