This article discusses the mysterious practice that seems to have a positive effect on so many aspects of our lives. Many people ask why and wonder how the practice of sitting still and "doing nothing" actually make a difference in ones life ?
The answer I think lies in the understanding of who we really our and the make up of our Mind, Body, Spirit selves. We are all of these and when we have integrated our Mind, Body and Spirit our whole perspective and awareness of Self changes thus influencing the quality of our lives.
I have been asked by several friends, recently;
- What are the benefits of Meditation?
- How can I start meditating?
- I just cannot seem to be able to sit still and keep my mind blank !
This article will try to shed some initial thoughts on the subject. To begin, I would like to bring your attention to the concept of Awareness. The awareness of self, I believe is paramount in accessing and maintaining a life of quality, a life of peace and a life rich with meaning and value. Many people ask the question - What is the purpose of Life? What am I doing here? What is important? What should I be doing?
Awareness of who you are, what your purpose is and why you live will bring about much peace and joy. Your questions would have been answered and you will have the contentment of knowing what you need to do and what is important to you. Armed with such inner wisdom and peace your life will take on a joyous note.
There are several methodologies that one can follow when trying to meditate. Hence I like to ask people to identify the outcome they seek before they start practicing meditation. If it is money and wealth, then meditation and focusing the mind of money and wealth is all they need to do. If it is inner peace and happiness then all they need to do is focus on that. I on the other hand believe that it is important for us to develop our spiritual nature and be aware of the inner selves, so that we can then develop as whole and complete human beings in total awareness of who we really are.
I have practiced Raja Yoga through the organization of Sahaj Marg (www.srcm.org) they practice a very effective system of developing awareness by focusing on the heart - on divine light - on the presence of divine grace in your heart. In developing this awareness of your own divine nature you will actually tap into a whole new world of feeling and reason.
Developing your relationship with your heart is a very profound practice. For the heart is your energetic center for Universal Love and higher wisdom. The sacred heart of Jesus is located in the center of the chest, to reflect this same reasoning, to help us access this and open this center of Love. The Indian energetic system of Chakras also outline the same belief.
Once you develop this relationship with your heart you will find yourself using your higher wisdom in decision making processes, in self expression and in your daily interaction with the world. You begin to not rely solely on your brain, on your mind and on logic as we conventionally know it. You will begin to hear the voice of intuition and your higher self whispering to you. You will develop a certain calmness and knowing that things are just they are.
The Practice: (I got this from Sahaj Marg - a Raja Yoga practice - www.srcm.org)
Get yourself onto a quite environment, where you will not be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable position, with your back straight. You could be sitting on a chair, on a stool or on the floor, it really does not matter. Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down and close your eyes. Stay like that for a few moments and just sit. Notice your thoughts, just the nature of thoughts you are having, all the issues that keep coming up and just notice them, do not try to block them out. Allow them to flow through your mind.
Then begin to focus your mind on the "Presence of Divine Love or Grace in the Heart" you want to focus on the "Presence of …" try to Feel that presence of Divine Grace. The inner spirit of Love.
Keep this thought in your mind and direct your mind to seek its presence. Know that this Presence of Divine Love is already there and all you have to do is begin to be aware of it and "feel" it.
Stay in the space for a while - begin with just 15 minutes and extend that to 45 minutes to an hour.
This is one piece of the equation to a holistic practice of a lifestyle of inner awareness. There are more practices that I think are essential, but this is a good start.