Meditation is based on conscious presence. When we learn to stay present longer periods, memories that are recorded in our cellular memory, can raise to awareness. For example, my friend said that he had been practicing stretching on a yoga hammock. Suddenly he remembered the feeling of terror, when dad took him to doctor, when he was young. He has tried to escape but dad had grabbed his leg. The feeling was similar to a stretch he was doing while hanging on the hammock.
These images and memories from childhood have the opportunity to increase our self-understanding. What we don’t remember, we might suppress. When we remember, we can slowly start releasing the painful memories and relieve fear, weak self-confidence, anger and anxiety. Then our inner state becomes clearer and lighter, tensions relieve, and nervous system relaxes, which heals hormonal functions affecting our overall health. Self-knowledge also increased our understanding towards other people. We can see the same patterns in others that we have seen in us and we come more compassionate and emphatic. This process brings deep experiential inner wisdom, that can’t be acquired by reading books and listening to others only.
Here are some tips to meditate.
Advices to practicing mindfulness (conscious presence) according to monk Gunaratama, (Mindfulness in Plain English, 2011):
- Give up on any expectations. Aim to be relaxed and observing towards what happens in you.
- Don’t try to hurry. Be patient.
- Don’t cling on anything or resist anything. Let everything come out from your mind, happy images as well as unhappy, sad and scary memories
- Let go and release tensions
- Accept everything that comes out from your mind and body during the exercises. They are all part of you, because they arise from you. Try to accept your feelings, experiences, also your anger and despair. Don’t blame yourself but cultivate the feeling of compassion.
- Be kind towards yourself. Process, where you become something, begins from totally accepting, what you are right now. You can’t worry about the past, but you must forgive and accept it, if you want to brighten present.
- Observe yourself. Questions everything. Lean on your own experience. Insightfulness and awareness grows from inner longing to wake up and see what is true.
- Accept problems as challenges. See negative issues as opportunities to grow and become stronger. Don’t try to escape them or blame anyone. Do you have a problem? Good, its useful. Begin to observe it.
- Don’t try to think too much. Analytical thinking can’t deliberate you from the trap it has created. You need deeper experiential realization, where you need to learn to let go of the need to think and understand the solution.
- Don’t compare critically. Concentrating on differences amplifies envy and pride-based thinking. Instead try to concentrate on what is common to all humanity. Then you will focus on strengthening interconnection, not alienating from others.
Reserve 5-15 minutes time for this exercise.
Take a comfortable seat. Be aware of how you sit. Let your legs touch the ground.
You can read the instructions below and then close your eyes (it’s easier to focus inside when you don’t get visual stimulis) and do the exercise.
After closing your eyes, your senses focus more on hearing. Listen carefully all the noises around you. Where you conscious of them before you started?
Then bring your awareness to your breathing. Don’t try to breath. Just observe. Let yourself be. Right now you don’t have to do anything.
Notice how your chest moves. Is it relaxed? You can let it relax, but don’t try to force. Every exhale is your change to let go of tensions. You’ll just need to give yourself a license to do that. Be mentally ready to give up to your body, it’s sensations and needs. Don’t try to control yourself or your body during this meditation. Try to be on a observing mode towards all the sensations that breathing causes in your body, like Alice in a wonderland. You don’t want to suppress anything, instead you might want to open up to your senses.
Notice whether your diagraphm feels tensed. Is your belly moving in the rhythm of your breathing? You can let it move by letting yourself to relax, but don’t try to force. (I will later teach you some breathing practice.)
Just enjoy your moment. Be acceptive towards whatever happens in you, and whatever you notice. It’s you.
Open your eyes and come back to this moment when you are ready. If you don’t have a timer, you can make this exercise longer than 15 imutes. Your meditation moment can last two minutes or two hours, you decide, and know yourself best, what suits you right now.