how to meditate
WORDS BY CAROLYNE GOWEN, STILL YOUR MIND
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as we work long hours, skip lunch, have back to back meetings, worry about the kids and lose sleep over our monster mortgages.
There are many different forms of meditation, there is no right or no wrong. It all depends on what type you resonate with. It’s just like exercise, what makes you feel the best – running, yoga, boot camp, pilates, walking, swimming?
Some of the different ways of meditating are – mindfulness meditation (which is focussing on the breath and observing your thoughts and actions in the present moment without judging yourself), guided meditation, candle focus meditation (place a candle where the flame is in front of the third eye and focus on the flame), open eye meditation (looking into some else’s eyes or a mirror for 20 minutes), TM, breath meditation, and many more.
The most essential thing with meditation is to be comfortable. You don’t want to be sitting for 20 minutes and thinking that your legs, arms or bottom is hurting as it will prevent you from meditating. It is best to sit in an upright position with good back support whether that be sitting on a chair, on the sofa, on a meditation cushion or on your bed . Place your hands comfortably sitting over one another or gently in your lap. You may like to burn a candle and some incense, however, this is optional.
It is important not to lie down when you meditate as your body is in ‘the sleep’ position and it will think that it’s time for bed and you may fall asleep. The only exception to this is you are in bed sick or are in hospital.
The instructions below are for mantra meditation.
A mantra is a sound or a vibration that has no particular meaning so there is nothing to keep your focus at the level of the mind. By repeating your mantra over and over again, it helps to stop the constant flow of thoughts and therefore you are able to still your mind. When there are no thoughts and no mantra you are able to access your core consciousness, infinite possibilities, creativity and imagination. At this point, your body receives its maximum amount of rest.
- Close your eyes and start gently and silently repeating the mantra ‘OM’ or ‘So-Hum” to yourself. When you notice that your mantra has drifted away and you are focussing on your thoughts or you are listening to a noise outside, gently go back to repeating your mantra. Always favour your mantra over your thoughts or outside distractions. Continue this process for 20 minutes.
- If you have thoughts such as ‘this is silly’, ‘I feel stupid’, ‘I can’t do this’, this is your ego talking. Your ego likes your life the way it is now and doesn’t want you to change. Tell the voice to ‘dismiss’ and go back to saying your mantra.
- After 20 minutes, stop repeating your mantra and take a few moments before you slowly open your eyes. You will find that your body and your breathing will really start to settle down and you will feel more relaxed, calm and energised.
- For maximum benefits, it is best to meditate twice a day – in the morning and late afternoon or early evening.
To learn more about meditation or to enrol in Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound (mantra) meditation course, go to www.stillyourmind.com.au
Meditation/ Floor Cushions
Posture is a key factor in meditation practise.
The Still Your Mind range of meditation cushions have been specifically designed to anchor the back and help keep the spine aligned. They are natural and sustainable. The covers are 100% cotton/linen and the filling is made from PET (recycled plastic bottles) creating a comfortable, environmentally friendly and stable foundation for meditation. Each cushion saves 85 plastic bottles from landfill. The outer layer of each cushion can be removed for hand washing and the handles allow the cushions to be carried easily.
The cushions can also be used as floor cushions and they come in a fashionable range of colors – grey / black . chocolate / biscuit . pink / pink . lilac / lilac . orange / lime green
The cushions can be purchased from www.stillyourmind.com.au