Meditation is the natural process of withdrawing attention from environmental,physical and mental processes and consciously directing it inward to a chosen focus.But not many people know how to practise meditation for personal benefit and spiritual growth.
The beneficial effects of regular meditation include stress reduction,strengthening of the immune system,more orderly thinking,improvement in powers of concentration, and a slowing of the ageing process.Meditation practice is recommended by doctors as a harmless way for patient – clients to be more responsible for their total well – being.The primary purpose of meditation practice,however,is to bring forth clear states of awareness that will make authentic spiritual growth easier to experience.
Cultivation of inner contentment prevents us from getting swept away by circumstances.Engaging in self-examination and self-discipline is important in order to clear away any of the psychological conflicts that might pose a problem.Study of ‘lower’ or secular knowledge helps us function effectively in the world.Many get educated so that they can live more effectively. But also important is the acquisition of higher knowledge or metaphysics to inquire about God,cosmic mind,manifestation of universes,our relationship with God: Why are we here,and for what purpose?
Then the formal practice of meditation begins. First, decide to practice meditation for atleast 30 minutes a day.Sit upright in a comfortable chair or assume a cross-legged posture on the floor.Hold your head erect, with attention flowing into the area situated in the front region of the brain which is related to creativity,will power and discernment.Next,inhale and exhale deeply once or twice to elicit physical relaxation.Remain still for a few minutes until you feel calmly poised.If you have a devotional temparament,invoke the presence and blessings of God or your favourite deity or object of worship. If you have a guru,reverentially acknowledge him.
Make a conscious effort to be aware of your natural breathing rhythm.When inhalation occurs, mentally recite a chosen word or mantra such as God,peace,joy,or any other pleasant word that is agreeable to you.When you exhale,feel happy and peaceful.Feel the sound of the mentra spontaneously emerging into your mind and awareness.Continue this procedure without any anxiety about the results of practice.When a state of mental calmness is experienced,disregard your breathing,listening only to the mantra.Eventually,allow even the mantra to fade away and rest in a state of mental peace and clarity of awareness for a while,until you feel inclined to conclude the session.
For optimum results,meditate once or twice a day.Do this for at least 30 days before trying to evaluate the results. When you are proficient in the practice of meditation,you could extend the session by calmly contemplating the essence of your being – your true Self – and your relationship with the Infinite.Or you may just sit longer in that calm state until you feel fulfilled.
When engaged in daily activities and relationships,endeavour to maintain a state of mental calmness and self-awareness.Cultivate cheerfulness and optimism.Maintain your emotional balance.Adhere to wholesome routines of activity and rest.Maintain a healthy lifestyle:choose a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.
Let all your thoughts ,feelings and actions be wholesome and constructive.You will then be empowered to live enjoyably,effectively and successfully.
From THE TIMES OF INDIA,HYDERABAD,FRIDAY,MAY 09,2008.
By — Roy Eugene Davis.