What are the steps to a successful meditation? Find out from this article!
How to Meditate using a mantra
The most important thing is don't try too hard. Don't make a big deal out of this. It is the easiest thing that our mind can do ... perhaps that is why it is so powerful.
1) Find a quiet environment. It is best to be where you won't be disturbed.
2) Sit comfortably in a comfortable chair (don’t lie down) with the eyes closed. Try to be in a place with a minimum amount of noise and light. But don't be concerned with noises. They are not a distraction to meditation (I have meditated in airports, in the car, in boring classes or meetings, and large list of other places. The important thing is to do the process as I describe below.).
3) Begin by sitting in your chair for about 30 seconds of sitting with the eyes closed and just get yourself in tune with your internal environment (do a quick body scan). Next, begin, as effortlessly and silently as possible repeating a word to yourself (not out loud). The word you choose is called a mantra.
a. Examples of words (mantras) to use: still, one, relax, peace, empty, calm, serene, silent, tranquil, spaghetti, or any other word or phrase that is easy to remember (it makes no difference what word you use. It only matters that you proceed with the simple intention of repeating the word, over and over and over.).
b. Simply repeat silently the mantra over and over to yourself.
c. Just let your mind whisper your mantra under your thoughts, over and over and over. Don't try to change your thoughts in any way. Just allow yourself to keep whispering the word silently to yourself.
d. If you have a mind, you can practice mantra meditation
4) When you notice your mind wandering (it will) just notice it and gently bring your attention back to your breathing and your mantra. Don't think that you are a bad meditator if you don't remain with your word the entire time or even part of the time. The important thing is to gently return to the word when you catch your mind wandering ... or falling asleep.
5) Practice for approximately 10-20 minutes every day (or at least 3-4 times per week). The best times to practice meditation are first thing in the morning and in the afternoon between 4 and 6 o'clock. To enhance your experience, try a little yoga just before meditating. A few sun salutes usually does the trick.
6) Don't think that this has to be any more difficult than it is explained here. There is nothing else to do besides silently repeat your mantra. Don't try to make anything happen. Just be present with your mantra. That's all! You only have one intention while you meditate: Return to your mantra when it occurs to you to do so. There is no other effort involved whatsoever.
6) Don’t set an alarm clock but sit with a clock in view if necessary. It is okay to briefly open your eyes to check the time, then close them back and return to the mantra.
7) Slowly return to normal waking consciousness. Take at least 2 minutes to return. Don't be in a hurry or you will feel the same way you feel when an alarm clock or telephone awakens you out of a dream.
Try walking meditation. Walking meditation is alternate form of meditation which involves observing the movement of the feet and becoming aware of your body's connection to the earth. If you plan on performing long, seated meditation sessions, it is a good idea to break them up up with some walking meditation.
Choose a quiet location to practice your walking meditation, with as few distractions as possible. The space doesn't need to be very large, but you should be able to walk at least seven paces in a straight line before needing to turn around. Remove your shoes, if possible.
Holding your head up with your gaze directed straight ahead, and your hands clasped together in front of you. Take a slow, deliberate step with your right foot. Forget about any sensations or feelings in the foot and t
ry to concentrate on the movement itself. After taking the first step, stop for a moment before taking the next. Only one foot should be moving at any given time.
When you reach the end of your walking path, stop completely, with your feet together. Then, pivot on the right foot and turn around. Continue walking in the opposite direction, using the same slow, deliberate movements as before.
While practicing walking meditation, try to focus on the movement of the feet and nothing else, in the same way that you focus on the rising and falling of your breath during breathing meditation. Try to clear your mind and become aware of the connection between your foot and the earth below.
READ ALSO: How to Meditate – 5 Best Tips for Nigeria
Do a body scan. Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.
Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any contracted muscles and release any tension or tightness. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process.
Continue along your body, moving upwards from your feet to your calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck, face, ears and top of your head. Take as long as you want.
Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.
Sit in a comfortable position. As stated above, it is very important that you are comfortable while you meditate, which is why finding the best position for you is essential. Traditionally, meditation is practiced by sitting on a cushion on the ground, in a lotus or half-lotus position. Unless your legs, hips, and low back are very flexible, lotus postures tend to bow your low back and prevent you from balancing your torso around your spine. Choose a posture that allows you to be balanced tall and straight.
However, you can also sit without crossing your legs, on a cushion, chair, or meditation bench. Your pelvis needs to be tilted forwards enough for your spine to be centered over the two bony bits in your butt, the spots that bear your weight. To tilt your pelvis into the right position, sit on the forward edge of a thick cushion, or place something about 3 or 4 inches (7.6 or 10.2 cm) thick under the back legs of a chair. Meditation benches are usually built with a tilted seat. If not, put something under it to tilt it forward between a half inch and an inch.
The most important thing is that you are comfortable, relaxed, and your torso is balanced so that your spine supports all of your weight from the waist up.
Tilt your pelvis forward. Then, starting from your bottom, stack up the vertebrae in your spine, so that they are balanced one on top of another and support the whole weight of your torso, neck, and head. It requires practice to find the position that allows you to relax your whole torso almost completely, only slight effort being used to maintain your balance. Whenever you feel tension, relax the area. If you can't relax it without slumping, check the alignment of your posture and seek to re-balance your torso so that area can relax.
The traditional hand placement involves resting your hands in your lap, palms facing upward, with your right hand on top of your left. However, your can also just rest your hands on your knees or leave them hanging down by your side - whichever you prefer.
Visualization is another popular meditation technique, which involves creating a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it, until you reach a state of complete calm. The place can be anywhere you like - however, it should not be entirely real, it should be unique and personalized for you.
The place you visualize could be a warm, sandy beach, a flower-filled meadow, a quiet forest or even a comfortable sitting room with a roaring fire. Whatever place you choose, allow it to be your sanctuary.
Once you have entered your sanctuary, allow yourself to explore. There's no need to "create" your surroundings, they are already there. Allow them to come to the forefront of your mind.
Take in the sights, sounds and scents of your surroundings - feel the fresh breeze against your face, or the heat of the flames warming your body. Enjoy the space for as long as you wish, allowing it to naturally expand and become more tangible. When you are ready to leave, take a few deep breaths, then open your eyes.
Know that you can come back to this same place the next time you meditate to visualization, or you can simply create a new space. Any space you create will be unique to you and a reflection of your individual personality.