Someone asked a person the other day, “What do you think about when you meditate?” And they answered— “I don’t think”. There are many different qualities of meditation lets explore that a little more.
To really go inward to find the God within God that lives in our heart it’s important to quiet the mind, and that can only be done in complete silence. And that also means the mind has to be completely silent. That’s the whole reason for doing meditation, to quiet the mind and thus find inner peace and find that great storehouse a wisdom which lies within. If the mind is yakking away how can we find that great store house of wisdom? It’s impossible! Thus we never allow the great Buddha, the Great Jesus, the Great Saint Francis of Assisi, or many other great saints, gurus, and avatars to come forth and spread wisdom, because we can only hear our mind chatter.
In reality the process of stilling the mind is easy, yet it takes practice, but the rewards of practice are great.
Vipassana or Breath Work Meditation – This is probably the most common way of meditating. Going inward and meditating in silence, concentrating on our breath, breathing in and out. And if a thought comes into our head just saying “I see that but I will get back to that later” and going back to focus on breathing— in and out. Feeling the breath moving in through the nose, and out through the nose. Some even center their attention on their upper lip, and all the sensations of cool air moving in and then warm air moving out. At first perhaps only a minute or two will pass until a thought intrudes. But with time the mind quiets down and longer sessions of meditation take hold. It’s important to put in the time, no matter what the quality of meditation. Putting in at least 30 minutes first thing in the morning and 30 minutes about 5 or 6 PM in the evening to again calm the mind.
Mantra – Another great way to meditate is mantra meditation or focusing one word, or 2 or 3 words, or a verse, and saying that silently in our mind over and over again. Again this is a way of quieting the mind. A way to allow the pure essence of who we are, which is peace, to come forth and spread love within the body. Thus allowing us to connect to our spirit or soul. That mantra is repeated, and repeated, and if a thought comes in, the mind is redirected back to the mantra. And as with Vipassana mediation, mantra meditation takes practice. And even if someone has been meditating years, it does not mean a thing. A person who is a novice might have a deeper meditation the first time, than someone who’s been practicing for 30 years. But as we learn to quiet the mind, we also learn to quiet our emotions, and our feelings become centered… instead of having everything in life impinge upon us creating havoc. Thus the little ups and downs of life don’t seem like mountains any more, they seem like molehills and thus life flows with ease.
There was a Zen Buddhist meditation student who had been meditating for 20 years under the great Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki. And the student one day during meditation had a still small voice come to him and say “Just Accept Yourself” and that brought the student to tears. And so the student went to Master Suzuki and asked “Is it OK to Listen and Accept My Self as I Am” and the great Master said, “It took me 20 years to figure that out” and the student said “When I am right on track, it also took me 20 years too”.
And so when it really comes right down to it, great realizations of wisdom can come at any time, it may be tomorrow, or it may be the next day, or it may be 20 years from now. But no matter how long it takes, life becomes much more pleasant, loving, and kind with the practice of meditate. And there are other side effects too, such as our brain becomes bigger, and we have more creativity. And who doesn’t want a bigger brain and more creativity?
And at the same time stress starts to melt away and stress hormones like cortisol start to disappear. Our blood pressure lowers, and all the inflammation in our body starts to disappear, and our heart becomes stronger, and our immune system is given a boost and we just feel good… plus about 700 other amazing things that meditation can do for the mind/body.
So start your practice of meditation and life will become peaceful, effortless, and full of loving kindness.
Many Blessings to Everyone
Dr. Paul Haider
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