The position you take for meditation should allow for the alignmentof the head, neck and trunk. This allows for natural comfortable breathingthat is all important. For those who have limited flexibility it is quiteall right to sit in a chair. For others kneeling with a cushion behindyour buttocks, half and full lotus are common poses. A comfortable poseis called the auspicious pose where you bend the right leg at the kneeand place the sole of the right foot against the left thigh.
The left ankleis brought under the right ankle and the sole of the left foot againstthe right thigh. The feet are positioned so that only the big toe is visible.Place a firm cushion under the buttocks and this will help for the naturalalignment of the head neck and trunk.Once comfortably in a pose you begin diaphragmatic breathing wherebyyou inhale by relaxing your abdominal muscles and letting the air flowin. On exhalation gently pull your abdominal muscles in as you expel theair.
This is the more active phase of the two. Once this has been establishedyou should now make your breathing smooth and even eliminating any jerks,jumps or noise. Time your inhalations and exhalations to be equal in length.The main thing is not to force this process but work on a smooth rhythmicalmotion. Begin to scan your body for little areas of tension beginning withyour hands and fingers working up your arms and neck and down to your legs,feet and toes. Finally release any tension in the face with the feelingof muscles just drooping down.Try now to count your exhalations up to ten and then start over again.
If this is comfortable count your exhalations down from one hundred andthen back up again. If you lose count and you probably will try not tojudge this as good or bad but simply accept as part of the process andbegin again. Some people use mantras such as Om mani padme hum and otherssimply get deeper into the meditation by focusing on the inhalation/ exhalationcycle.
Try a few different methods yourself.Get used to the idea of non striving in the meditation. Instead of strugglingand striving to manage our thoughts we need to practice total acceptance,patience and a non judgmental attitude. Whatever thoughts come into yourmind don’t classify them as good or bad but simply thoughts. If you findyourself particularly distracted at any time, accept and return to focuson the breathing cycle. As this non striving attitude begins to take overwe begin to develop an important dimension called witnessing (not the JWkind).
This is the ability to watch your thoughts without necessarily reactingto them. This can be called non-attachment and I liken it to being an impartialobserver looking through a glass window as our thoughts flow past it.One of the most common distractions is the sensation of muscle or jointdiscomfort. A lot of this can be eliminated by loose stretching beforehandand taking the correct posture for you body. A more dramatic distractionmay be a strong emotional reaction.
This may be due to some incident orupset from that day that could also be causing a physical restlessness.Try focus on your witnessing skills so you can view the incident withoutbeing involved. Increase your awareness of your breath feeling as manydimensions as you can such as your abdominals moving, the subtle soundof your breath and the sensation as the air passes into the nose and downinto the lungs. This will help bring you to the present out of the past.Sometimes we are distracted by positive experiences such as innovativeideas and creative solutions that soon become much larger than the originalthought.
Let go of these ideas as well as they will come back when youneed them and return to your breathing pattern. After returning from anydistraction it is a good time to check your body alignment and that notension as crept into your bodyThe benefits of meditation are cumulative and the longer we practice,the greater the positive influence on our physical and emotional health.
It is important to make meditation enjoyable and not as one more task thathas to be completed in the daily grind of activities. Life has many dimensionsbut one is to enjoy the present and meditation is one of the best waysto do this. Having certain attitudes towards life blend with the meditativeprocess to give people clearer insights into life.
These attitudes aredesigned to reduce the social and mental turmoil that disturbs meditation.Cultivating a loving, accepting attitude towards all living things andhaving non violent thoughts, words and actions as ideals are very worthy.