Meditation happens when you are riveted on any one idea or object to the exclusion of all other ideas or objects. Students, for example, meditate on their choosen subjects quite naturally when they are studying. Meditation is really much more common place than you would at first suppose. Meditation is really a natural quality of the mind. You are usually able to concentrate very effectively on any subject which you find interesting. You have a natural innate abilty to concentrate, to Meditate, this rivited concentration is the quality of mind that you are trying at first to recognize, and then begin to control through Meditation. You Meditate to develope more control over your mental facalties and to utilize your focused awareness for other great tasks. You may need your focused awareness to restore your physical health, or your emotional equilibrium, or your mental acuity. Meditation can bring peace and harmony to your the mind because it provides it with an oasis of silence and rest. If you want you can also use your Meditation skills to probe the depths of your own soul, this takes unusual courage and fortitude but the rewards are spectacular. Meditation is a tool, use it to bring joy and love into your life.
Silence is the first prerequisite to provoking a meditative state. Find a quiet place in your house or out of doors, but always where you will not be disturbed. Try to reduce your sensory input as much as you can. Sit comfortably in lotus pose or half lotus pose, and make sure your on a soft comfortable surface. Dim the lights if your indoors. You may want to wrap yourself in a blanket to keep warm. Follow the sequence of meditations which are given below. Stay with each meditation practice until you feel it has become effortless. You are training your mind to pay attention and to focus on your command. You are also learning to quiet the thought traffic in your mind thereby freeing up mental and physical energy. Meditation can heal, it can also give you an oppertunity to witness to the phenomenon of perception itself. Take care, take your time, dont rush your experiences, enjoy each Meditation session for itself. Meditate regularily and create a special atmosphere of peace and beauty around all your Meditation sessions. Make the place you do your Meditation a place you love to be. Your mood must become positively influenced by your surroundings. Take at least a half an hour for your Meditation sessions and try to have them at the same time each day. Children can also be taught to meditate, they love the experience, a time for reverence and introspection can be very grounding for children, if you have children they can be included in some you your sessions. It is a marvelous family event when everyone can be together in total silence. Make Meditation an important part of your day.
The basis of meditation is to adopt a posture of body and mind (viewed as inseparable) that allows one to remain comfortably (relatively anyway) for long periods of time without expending significant amounts of energy. It is important to adapt to your particular circumstances of body and mind and especially to recognize that there is no single posture that is best for everyone - not one size fits all. Never force yourself into a posture that may harm your body. While meditating wear loose, comfortable clothing and be sure to remove your shoes.
Many believe with good reason that arranging the lower body in a stable three-point base is the foundation of good posture. The classic sitting posture the "full lotus" in which one sits on the floor with each foot placed on the opposite thigh.
The "half lotus," in which one foot (either one) is on the opposite thigh and the other foot is resting on the floor, is both less symmetric and less stable than the full lotus. However, most find it easier to sit on the front of a cushion with our legs crossed and our knees resting on the floor in front of us.
You will find the sitting postures almost hopeless without sitting on a cushion or folded blanket to get your buttocks above the floor. In any sitting posture, you should be sitting on no more than the front half of the cushion. There are specific cushions designed for meditation. The Japanese use circular cushions they call zafus. The Tibetans use square cushions. However, any cushion or a folded blanket will work. Just find a comfortable seat, and vary it from period to period to avoid stiffness and pain in the lower body.
Kneeling is a stable posture that many people find useful as an exclusive position or as a change from the sitting position. A common approach is to set a firm meditation cushion perpendicular to the floor and under the buttocks with the knees in front and the feet pressing against the cushion from both sides. If your thighs are limber, you can set the cushion parallel to the floor for greater stability. Kneeling benches slope from back to front and are placed over the legs and under the buttocks. In the future, ergonomic devices may be developed that make it easy to maintain a stable posture for long periods of time.
One can also sit on the front part of a chair without using its back, stand, or lie flat on your back. It is not against any law. The status of your health and physical condition does not limit practice. It is just necessary to find a posture that works for you.
The spine should be held by gravity in a gentle s-curve above the base. One approach to positioning the spine is to thrust forward from the diaphragm while pulling the head back and tucking the chin so the eyes are slightly downcast and the nose is in line with the navel. In this position, the spine is given a gentle stretch and the chest is kept open.
The arms and shoulders should be kept as relaxed as possible. Flap the arms about and let them fall into the lap with palms up one on top of the other. The ends of the thumbs are touched together making an ellipse. The arms should be positioned so that the shoulders are completely relaxed with the shoulders neither held up nor bent forward. Each of us has a different arm length, and this effects where we position our hands to keep our shoulders tension-free.
Please read the Meditation Essay on the side bar of this site for further information on meditation