I am a (fairly) long time meditator. But I have to admit it has not been easy. I mean where do you start with this kind of thing? I was initially attracted because I was noticing I was losing my temper quite a bit at what seemed relatively inconsequential things. Although I thought I was pretty happy I believed that there must have been some problems lurking just below the surface. Having seen so called gurus looking so at peace and the act of meditation cropping up as a means to achieve this I assumed I had to give it a shot.
My first meditation
So I did some reading on how to meditate and thought I would give it a shot. I sat down initially facing a blank wall just a few feet away. I sat on the floor with closed legs and half shut my eyes. (This was the instructions given in the ‘manual’ I was reading). I sat there and attempted to meditate. Thoughts immediately started flooding my mind and mostly self-conscious ones at that. ‘Am I doing this correctly?’ ‘What if my wife walks in, what shall I say I am doing?’ ‘What colour is this wall?’ ‘How shut should I have my eyes?’ ‘I’m a little hungry?’ ‘When did I last eat?’ ‘A sandwich would be nice right now’ and on and on the thoughts flowed.
After what seemed a very long time my body was starting to feel very uncomfortable and I was becoming somewhat restless. I checked my watch and it had been only 7 minutes. The so called ‘manual’ stated that people usually meditate for 45 minutes, sometimes hours. I suddenly realised this meditation lark wasn’t going to be quite as straight forward as I had initially thought...
My next attempts — Apps!
However if nothing else I was determined to pursue this activity because the word ‘meditation’ was cropping up everywhere and I thought there must be something in it. Surely not everyone was sitting there like an irritable monkey having a montage of thoughts bombarding their precious presence from every possible angle!
So I did what any right minded person would do... I turned to my trusty iPhone and started downloading apps to help me on my path. I tried quite a few to be honest including some guided meditations and some with soothing music. However the one that I stuck on for quite some time was the Pranayama Breathing App. I don’t know if this counts as a meditation app but it really did help me. It has an array of different settings which you can choose from and then plays sound effects which you can breathe in time to. This act of pranayama is supposedly very good for the body. I tended towards the 10 minute range and would keep the settings very simple. Breathe in for 3 seconds. Breathe out for 6 seconds. And repeat for 10 minutes.
This app really helped me settle into the very act of meditation and also helped me create some sort of routine. I wasn’t military with my discipline and would miss some days but generally I was able to maintain this practise everyday for quite some time.
In hindsight what this enabled me to do was to settle into the act of sitting there quietly with one’s thoughts. My mind was no way blank and thoughts continually entered my mind but I did feel my mind settling down. It was similar to a snow globe that had been vigorously shaken and then place on a table and left. Initially the snow is flying all over the place in a whirlwind of activity but eventually it starts to settle and become calm. This is exactly how it felt in my mind.
So I would say I have been meditating on and off for 5 years now. I eventually stopped using apps as I felt a dependence on them which didn’t sit right with me. However I believed they helped me tremendously in reaching the point at where I am now.
My Current Practice
I usually like to meditate mid morning if possible. That way I haven’t just eaten so don’t have any food in my stomach. I have done some work and jobs in the morning so I don’t have anything like this on my mind. The kids are at school so less chance of being interrupted. I have a meditation pillow in my room and I sit on this with my legs crossed facing in the direction of the sun. I sit with a straight back and place the back of my hands onto the top of my knees. I close my eyes and breath deeply. On the inhale I say to myself silently ‘I am not this body’ and on the exhale I say silently ‘I am not even this mind’. I learned this meditation from Sadhguru. If you don’t know him check him out on youtube.
I mutter these phrases whilst I breathe slowly in and out for about 5 minutes. After which I become silent. I still have some thoughts sometimes but I treat them like clouds in the sky. They come into my awareness and then they leave. After another 5 minutes or so I feel this tremendous wave of peace flow over me. I can distinctly feel this feeling in my mind and body. It is quite tricky to describe in words but it is incredibly calming. My whole body also feels different. Sometimes any niggles or aches from sitting completely vanish and sitting straight feels like the easiest thing in the world. The feeling of bliss usually lasts anything from 10 to 15 minutes. It is sort of like a temporary high because when the feeling subsides it does feel like I am coming down. Not in any kind of dramatic way but slightly noticeable.
This is where I am at the moment with meditation. It feels like I am going quite deep and I am so thankful I am able to experience this. I will continue with this practise as when it all fits into place the feeling is quite overwhelming. I also notice I am calmer and more at peace in my day to day physical existence. I sometimes can also sink into this feeling when driving or sitting at my desk. I can feel my breath take over and my body just relaxes. Anyway I wish you luck on your journey.
Peace and Bliss to all.