Meditation is not prayer.
Meditation is the art and practice of calming one’s mind. The basic premise of meditation is to calm yourself – in mind and body, build positive internal forces, and develop compassion towards everyone and everything.
Meditative practices are simple really. All you need to do is turn inward, forget the past, stop worrying about the future, and concentrate on nothing. But, that simplicity is the most difficult thing to comprehend, and achieve.
It turns out the art of calming yourself is not as easy as it looks. Either you are being happy or sad about a recent moment in the past, being fearful or anxious about a certain moment in future, and thinking of thousand different things instead of nothing.
The mind seems to have a mind of its own.
So, how indeed does a person go about meditation?
You start doing this in a simplified simple manner. While going about your normal life – in office, at home or in a queue, you realign perspectives and bring self-awareness. This happens bit by bit, but it is perfectly possible to happen all the time. Look at the below 10 meditation tips that can help you achieve just that.
- Sit down and “become a human still life”. Don’t do anything. Just breathe.
- Let small chores act as a stop sign to “breathe, relax and experience peace.”
- Listen for the quietest sound.
- In the beginning of the week, pick an activity you normally do on autopilot, such as washing your hands, applying makeup or getting into your car. Pause for several seconds before starting the activity. Then perform it with your full attention.
- Send yourself some loving-kindness (or “metta”). Focus your attention on an aspect of your mind or body that you feel separated from. Acknowledge this. You might say something like: “May I accept this. May I be filled with loving-kindness toward this. May I use the pain of this experience for the welfare of all.”
- As you’re trying to fall asleep, “imagine that with each breath you are melting into an ocean of light and space.”
- When you turn on the faucet, focus on the bigger picture. “See the water flowing down from the glaciers and mountains, running deep into the earth, sustaining you and all life.”
- When you wake up, feel your feet touch the floor. “Be aware of their weight, the floor supporting your body, and the motion of your feet and legs as you begin to walk.”
- When you get home from work, every day, stand in front of your door and appreciate the moment. Rejoice in it. “Breathe in and out three times.”
- Visualize a mountain lake with a smooth, glassy surface. A breeze sends ripples across the water. As the breeze quiets down, so do the ripples, and the water returns to being smooth. When something ruffles you, return to this visualization. “Feel the ripples and then let them settle.”
These and other such meditative techniques have been drawn from eastern philosophies and practices, including Zen, Yoga, and Sufism. The techniques can be as portable as you want them to be.
All these “mini-meditation” techniques, tips and methods are accumulated in a book by a kind soul. The book called “Self-Meditation: 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes and Koans for Peace and Serenity” by Barbara Ann Kipfer does a decent job of this collation of tips, and present it in a way that is easily assimilated. The 10 tips given above are amongst the other thousands that hopefully can change your life for good.