You can meditate anyplace where you can experience peace and quiet. Many teachers suggest sitting facing a wall to reduce distractions. If you live near a coast, you could meditate facing the great expanse of the ocean. Your specific place of meditation is not as important as your ability to have access to it whenever you want to meditate, and your ability to avoid distraction in that location.
In sitting meditation, which is what we are discussing today, there is a certain recommended posture. There are certain keys to that posture that are important to the meditative state:
- Keep your back straight; do not slouch.
- Sit atop a thick mat or rug.
- Position a flat pillow or folded blanket under your spine.
- Raise your chin ever so slightly to maximize air flow.
- Your knees should touch the mat beneath you.
Cross your legs so that your feet are resting on top of your thighs. Choose a point in space directly above you and up slightly. (This raises your chin slightly.) Allow your eyes to drop slightly until they are in a half-closed, relaxed position.
Rest your hands on your lap. Entwine your fingers and allow the tips of your thumbs to meet, so that the shape of your hands forms an oval opening at your abdomen.
This is one of the most common meditation postures. It is called the full Lotus posture.
As you breathe, focus on your breathing. When you focus on your breathing, you are focusing on the present. The intake, then the exhale. Try not to force your breath. Do not try to control your breathing. Just be aware of your own breathing. If you are having trouble concentrating, you can try counting your breath. One for the inhale, two for the exhale, three for the inhale, and so on. If the counting itself becomes a distraction, stop counting.
When we focus our attention on our breathing, we are focusing on simply being. We are in the here and now. We are not looking forward, nor are we looking backward. We are concentrating, but not concentrating, all our attention on our own existence; simply being aware of ourselves. Nothing more is required, nothing more is needed.
As you meditate in this way, you may experience one of two things. You may experience a heaviness coming from the core of your being, pulling you down onto the earth. This is a positive experience because you are grounding. You are one with the earth, and you are completely inside yourself. It is a safe, secure feeling that is likely coming from the opening up of your first chakra, located at the base of your spine.
Alternately, you may experience a sensation of lightness, or floating. You may feel that you are floating in your sitting position, atop your mat, over the world, or even higher, into the social consciousness. This is likely an opening up of your seventh chakra, located on the top of your head. This is a positive experience that can feel a little bit like enlightenment. You may feel released from this earth, and its bounds of gravity on your human body. You may feel at one with your spirit.
There are so many different experiences that people have during and after a meditation session. You may only feel a sense of peace and contentment and that is reason enough to continue your meditation practice.
Remember always that there is no goal in meditation. Never try to achieve anything with your meditation. The main key is to experience your own glorious being. If you can do that, then you will know the happiness in the meditative state.
Here is a story to remember when you are thinking about what it is to meditate:
The Buddha sat under a fig tree as a stranger passed on the road. The stranger was so struck by the Buddha’s radiance that he was moved to ask, “Are you a god?” “No,” the Buddha answered. “What are you, then?” the man persisted. The Buddha replied. “I am awake.”
So many of us are not awake in our own lives. We allow the distractions of the world to permeate our minds and swirl through our thoughts. Our emotions are not under our control, and we react unthinking to random events and occurrences that impact our lives. Whispers of thoughts flitter about in our brains like elusive butterflies that can never be caught. We are flotsam on a sea of discontent and confusion.
Meditation is the means and the method to allow us to transcend the minute details that suck up our life force. Through meditation, you can find solace in simply being you, whoever you are, and wherever you exist on this earth. You can connect with your inner life energy sources. You can be awake.