Easy Does It Meditation

At the 40th anniversary of my Zen Master’s ordination, I asked him “Reverend Master Daishen, after 40 years in the monastery what is the most significant thing you have learned?”  Without hesitation he replied, “When the bell rings, go to the meditation hall.”  In other words, just do it, stop making excuses, be consistent.  When the time comes to sit, just sit.

When we first met, we were sitting in a room, just the two of us drinking tea.  I was giving a litany of reasons why I couldn’t meditate.  My mind is too hyper, I can’t sit still for very long, I’m really kind of crazy, I have problems, etc…  I continued on and on, maybe a bit too long.  Finally he said, (and this is the kindest person I have ever known) “Friend, we don’t care what you think or what you believe, JUST SIT AND FACE THE WALL!”

He believed as did his teacher, that the most “direct path” was through Soto Zen or Serene Reflection Mediation and that is the path that I chose, but there is a large variety of meditation to choose from. It isn’t all just sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut. Let’s explore types of meditation.

Types of meditation include Buddhist practices, transcendental, zen, mantra, chakra, sound, guided and active. How can someone choose where to start? Think about the type of person you are overall, the amount of time and dedication you have, and where your interests lie. What do you intend to get out of meditation?

Here are some benefits from practicing:

  • Relaxation
  • Healing the body
  • Handle stress better
  • Feel less anxious
  • Increased energy
  • Improved focus
  • Deeper spiritual connection to oneself
  • Increased amount of positive feelings

The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind and bring your consciousness to the present moment. In addition, meditation helps one connect with the inner self and increases connection to others and the whole of creation. Meditation eases persistent mental noise, improves focus, creativity and is calming. Almost any activity can be meditative if it absorbs your attention and keeps you present. Let’s consider some meditation exercises:

Qigong, tai chi, yoga – These exercises cultivate “life energy” and promote the circulation of energy (Qi) through the focus on breathing and movement. In particular these exercises circulate oxygen and blood. If you are interested in one of these, seek out a qualified instructor.

    

Activity mindfulness – Walking or doing other enjoyable activities such as sports, art, music or writing promote activity mindfulness. Doing dishes, gardening or cleaning can also be considered a meditation if we are focused and present while enjoying the experience.

    

Guided meditation – This type of meditation is where one sits and focuses on specific imagery given by an instructor or through audio. This form of meditation is often used in healing, as one can focus on specific parts of the body.

 

Sound – The focus of this meditation is on a sound, repeated mantra or vibration.

    

Mantra – Mantra meditation is repeating a mantra such as “Om” or “Om mani padme hum.” transcendental meditation, a very popular and well-known practice includes a mantra and is usually practiced about 20 minutes twice a day. It might be a good idea to seek out an instructor for transcendental meditation, as it has specific techniques that might require a higher level of assistance.

    

Sitting – Sitting meditation is very common and can incorporate focus on sound, a mantra or breathing. Practices tend to originate from Buddhism, and established positions, such as the lotus, have been taught to encourage deeper inner connection.

 

Binaural Beats – This is a modern addition to the meditation circle. Binaural beats are special frequencies that put the brain into meditative states such as alpha or theta. The frequencies, which synchronize brain waves, have benefits such as increased awareness. Binaural beats tend to quickly enhance mood. They can be found easily using an Internet search.

If you are ready for meditation, start slowly with one that looks enjoyable. Better yet, start right now by looking around you or going through every part your body with thoughts of appreciation.

This article was posted in Meditation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.