There are many types of meditation; transcendental, yoga, mindfulness, contemplative and guided practices and exercises. Then there are the practices for beginners and the advanced and each having specific ways of practice.
It is not the purpose of meditation to stop all thoughts, for the mind has a purpose and through meditation you will come to see what that purpose is. The way of meditation is to eventually lead the practitioner to self-realization and the attainment of enlightenment.
Through meditation we “open out a way for the imprisoned splendor to escape” and open our consciousness to let the Divine within reveal Its presence. It is in this splendid silence that spiritual truth is awakened in us.
The requirements to having a meditation period are simple. Find a place where you will not be disturbed for awhile. Take a moment to wash hands and face, wear loose clothing, take off the shoes and sit in a comfortable position in a comfortable chair with the back straight. The object is to get the body comfortable so it does not begin to rebel.
While some prefer the silence only, some may like to use incense, candles, flowers and music but that is a personal preference. You may want to experiment with these suggestions and see if any of them work for you, just be sure the items are not distracting and leading you into thinking instead of focusing on your meditation.
First, take a few minutes to relax the body.
Meditation to Relax the Body: [mp3player width=177 height=35 config=insidepage.xml playlist=insidepage.xml]
CONTEMPLATIVE MEDITATION ~
Now, for our way here we will use the contemplative practice of meditation for the beginner to the more advanced.
In contemplative meditation we select a spiritual truth as the focus point for the mind to ponder on. A spiritual truth such as: “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” or “I will not leave you comfortless. Let whatever of a spiritual truth comes to you be used.
This will be our focus when the mind tries to wander off and we gently bring the mind back to contemplation as hand. Give this focus five to ten minutes, especially beginners, as you contemplate the selected truth and as you go along more truths will come to you for your contemplation. Practice this at least once or twice a day in the beginning and let your meditation periods extend to longer periods naturally, but do not try to force them.
Eventually the mind comes to a rest and you will realize you are in the Divine silence. It will only last a moment but you will have recognized this holy place in you.
The Long and Short of Meditation ~
Students often ask, “How long should I meditate or how often should I meditate?”
While there are no set parameters, there are suggestions; one of those suggestions being, “as long and as often as we can”.
The long meditations may not be easy for beginning students, because a certain amount of mental dominion has not yet been attained, therefore many short meditations throughout the day are suggested and more easily accomplished.
A short meditation can be as short as taking a breath, turning to a moment of silent listening and then on about the business at hand. This type takes only a few seconds to do—such as while walking to your car, going from one room to another, getting a glass of water—I think you can see all the possibilities for taking the few seconds and these can easily be done 50 times a day. This practice will help develop a discipline of being still and being in charge of maintaining a quiet serene mind. The trick is remembering to take those few seconds, but taking those few seconds can have far reaching benefits.
The next step is where you sit comfortably and do relaxing work if needed, and contemplate some spiritual truth for a few minutes, then give another 30-60 seconds of quiet listening. Here you may just watch thoughts go by and not get involved with them, do not take up a thread of thought and certainly to not judge any thought going through. This too develops a disciple and a recognition that you truly are in charge of the mind’s activity.
As these two suggestions are followed longer meditations become the natural thing and without effort. Once effort to meditate sets in, it is time to stop—return to the short ones and the few minute ones and then later come back to giving 15-20 minutes.
Always be kind and gentle with yourself in doing this work. It never does anyone any good to criticize or be negative about how your meditations are going or for that matter with any of your daily activities and work.
The key is to just relax and let it happen. And enjoy the new found freedom of a quiet joyful mind.
Meditation With Mala Beads ~
There are many ways to use a mala in your meditation practice. One way is to chant or use a mantra or a scared passage. This repetition acts as a focus for the mind bringing a deep calm to the practitioner. Recite the mantra or prayer as you move across each beads, usually held in the left hand and pulled forward, using the thumb to move past each bead.
One of the ways the students are using their Mala is to sit quietly and as you rest at a bead let a thought of thanks giving come up from the heart. Such as: I give thanks to the divine presence within me, thank you-thy presence is infinite, I give gratitude that my spirit is complete in peace, no where can I be where my spirit is not, thank you that my life is eternal, etc. The joy here is to give gratitude and thanks giving to an Absolute Presence of Love that is within and without.
Another way to use the beads is that at each bead there is a recognition of a higher spiritual Self that is our rightful identity. This is of great benefit in the acknowledgement that there is more to us than meets the physical eye, so to speak and that within us is the spark of the divine and through our meditations we begin to acknowledge this Self and to accept this Self as present in our daily life.
The beads come in rounds of 108 beads or bracelet length beads so there is a convent length for your need. The large bead is called the guru or end bead and it is not crossed over but instead the meditator reverses direction. This is a wonderful way to do a long mind attentive meditation and while it does take some time to complete the 108 beads it is well worth the devotion of spending this time with the I Am self. If you are not able to do a complete round do not worry, we always do what we can and let it unfold as it will.
Remember you are the meditator and there is no way to do to give thanks and acknowledgement incorrectly when you are following the inner directions of your heart.
You can purchase mala beads at our shop here