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Directions for Meditation..

July 14, 2011

..not just another  how-to guide..

I can watch hours slip away while searching online for jokes and pranks, quirky uplifting quotes or touching photos. Recently, I have taken notice of the sheer magnitude of “how-to” yoga guides on the Internet. Perhaps this is due to my newfound blogging pastime and resulting interest in actually reading yoga articles down to the very last anecdote.  Perhaps this is due to my poor observational skills and How-to guides have always dominated Internet traffic. Examples include: How to Practice Yoga in the Summer, How to Accomplish Spring Cleaning, How to Release Anger, How to Breathe..

 Nonetheless, they appear, written by inspiring teachers across yoga communities and provide a beginner or curious mind with fundamental basics and safe methods to embark on the mission. Also, simply seeing the steps laid out may pique one’s interest into a practice that had never been previously considered.

Obligatory textbook definition:

“A how-to or a how to is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish some specific task. A how-to is usually meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic.” (Wikipedia)

I must interject here and insert a dash of concern; most how-to guides fail to mention the point of the mission (eg.. the investigatory perspective-why is this being overviewed? Why is it worth trying?). They often omit various hazards of the practice (eg.. this practice may cause a burst of rage or Warning-all of these steps may feel uncomfortable. Welcome to reality. Step up to the challenge).

And speaking of challenges brings us to today’s lesson – How to Meditate.

Read almost any book on Buddhism, Self-Help or Yoga and meditation exercises are offered. For reasons such as anxiety relief, a clearer mind, compassion towards others, cultivation of inner wisdom and so many more, meditation will help. All of us.  It helps us to BE HERE NOW (Ram Das). Meditation has nothing to do with sitting in one place with your eyes closed for 3 hours per day but rather everything to do with communicating openly with other earthly beings and accepting that our paths unfold and change direction as they should.

Carolyn’s Guide to Meditation

Long-winded forewarning

Getting Prepared

  • Position of the body – In the beginning, it is nearly impossible to find a comfortable position, especially one to find stillness in for more than 10 minutes. Sitting on a block or pillow will help, as will sitting up against a wall. You can even lie down on your back.
  • Once we settle into a pain-free position of stillness, we have our monkey mind to attend to. The tendencies to fidget and twitch really start now. Just keep breathing and think “nice try Mind, I’m not moving anywhere”
  • Altogether the experience of watching the thoughts, physical pains and breathing practices through meditation is a little bit of heartbreak, psychosis and exhaustion.
  • Finding meditation will blow your mind. After about 8 years, I realized “oh here it is”.  Some days, the meditation is not here. Some days it is. But you need to show up and become still in order to receive it.

 

The path to accomplishment

1 – Practice Practice Practice and All is Coming

(Sri K Pattabhi Jois)    ** Repeat step 1 again and again for infinity.

Addendum

  • Once you are accustomed to meditating, you can do it while standing, walking, lying or even arranging flowers. The Buddha once said that there are four positions for meditation: standing, sitting, walking and lying down. In other words, all the time (OSHO).
  • Read all the books you like and follow all the steps in how-to guides that you like; the secret is that you must do the work. Sit and breathe. Or read this, think about this and breathe. There is no one correct direction to follow along the journey. Come back to your breath. You are on your way.
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