Meditation is a technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness. Meditation is the practice of constant observation of the mind to discover the infinite knowledge and wisdom within oneself. Positive thinking and meditation are the keys to peace of mind. Meditation is the method used to calm and focus the mind.
12 Steps to Meditation
Set aside a special place for meditation – the atmosphere you build up will help still the mind.
Choose a time when your mind is free of everyday concerns – dawn and dusk are ideal.
Using the same time and place each day conditions the mind to slow down more quickly.
Sit with your back, neck and head in a straight line, facing north or east.
Instruct your mind to remain quiet for the duration of your meditation session.
Regulate your breathing – start with five minutes' deep breathing, then slow it down.
Establish a rhythmic breathing pattern – inhaling then exhaling for about three seconds.
At first let your mind wander – it will only grow more restless if you force it to concentrate.
Now bring the mind to rest on the focal point of your choice – either the Ajna Chakra (the point between your eyebrows) or the Anahata Chakra (in the middle of your chest).
Applying your chosen technique, hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.
Meditation comes when you reach a state of pure thought, but still retain your awareness of duality.
After long practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, the superconscious state, is attained.
Concentration is a Prerequisite
Meditation is only possible if you are able to focus your mind. Concentration strengthens the flow of thought – ideas that were once vague suddenly become clear; what seemed difficult, complex and confusing is now easy to grasp.
Tratak Is a very effective concentration exercise. First you focus your eyes on an external object or on a single spot without blinking. Then you close your eyes and concentrate on the mental image of this object. This exercise increases our power of attention and ultimately leads to one-pointed concentration.
Concentration on a Flower
In this exercise, you close your eyes and imagine a garden with a rich variety of flowers. Then you slowly focus your attention on a single flower. You visualise the colour, form, texture and scent of this flower, and hold this concentration for as long as possible.
Concentration on a Sound
Here, you might listen to the ticking of a clock. When your mind starts wandering, you bring it back to the sound. If there are several background sounds, you can choose the one that is most distinct and concentrate on this for some time – like a witness, without reacting in any way...
Article written by Anson Bingham. Source: Anson Bingham - ansonbinghamyoga.com, Sivananda Yoga - sivananda.org, The Divine Life Society - dlshq.org