I was introduced to meditation in 2008 when I did a basic course from Art of Living Foundation. During the first day of the course, we were made to do Panchkosha Meditation. It was a blissful experience. I have been practicing meditation daily ever since and it’s undoubtedly one of the best habits I have developed.
What is meditation? Merriam- Webster dictionary defines mediation in quite simple words as “spending time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation.” Meditation can be categorized in two ways: focus attention and open monitoring.
During the Focused Attention Meditation, we bring our attention to a particular sound or or object. We can focus our attention on a particular mantra, breath, some part of the body or an external object. Chakra meditation, Kundalini dhyan. mantra meditation etc. fall in this category.
In Open Monitoring Meditation, we monitor or observe an experience in a detached manner.Mindfulness meditation and Vipassana fall under this category.
Before you start practicing meditation, you must keep the thumb rules of meditation in mind. My spiritual master H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar gives a simple formula for meditation – “Achaha Aprayatna Akinchana”. Achaha means I want nothing, Aprayatana means I do nothing and Akinchana means I am nothing. While sitting in meditation, we should leave our desires & ego behind and be effortless.
There are various ways to practice meditation. The simplest way is to sit in lotus-position with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath in and exhale. Now take deep, long breaths and focus your attention on the inhaling and exhaling breath. After a few minutes, slowly open your eyes. You can gradually increase the duration of meditation.
Other popular and effective ways of meditation are as follows:
• Zen Meditation Zen or Zazen meditation means seated meditation. Sit on a floor in lotus or half-lotus position while keeping your back straight. Lower your eyes and keep your gaze fixed at the ground 2-3 feet in front of you. Now focus your attention on your breath.
• Vipassana Meditation Vipassana is an ancient word in Pali language which means clear insight. Vipassana meditation starts with practicing mindfulness of breath so that the mind settles down. Slowly and gradually the meditation practice moves towards developing clear insights on bodily experiences and mental thoughts by observing them nonchalantly without developing an attachment.
• Mindfulness Meditation Here the practitioner focuses on the present moment by accepting and embracing the sensations, thoughts and feelings that arise in the moment. Mindfulness can be practiced in our daily activities too while walking, eating, talking etc by paying full attention to the task in hand.
• Mantra Meditation This is practiced while sitting with back erect and eyes closed. The mantra is repeated in the mind silently during the session which creates positive vibrations that brings the practitioner to a state of bliss. One can use different mantras like Om, Om Namah Shivaya, Hare Krishna , So hum.
• Chakra Meditation There are seven chakras or energy centres in the body. During Chakra meditation, the attention is taken to the seven chakras in the body starting from Muladhara Chakra which is located at the base of the spine and gradually taken to the other chakras culminating at Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head.
I mainly practice guided meditations by my spiritual master which include Hari Om meditation, Panchkosha meditation, Anusmriti and Nirvana meditation. Sometimes I also do Sehaj Samadhi which is a form of mantra meditation. I also chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra daily which is a very potent mantra.
Whatever form of meditation you chose but make sure to make meditation a part of your day. Meditation is an antidote to stress. It is the best way for a peaceful and blissful life.
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