Meditation means many different things for different people, but the purpose of meditation is like the purpose of life. What is the purpose of life? Why do we do the things we do? Why are we all here today?
We want to be happy; that’s why we do everything that we do. If someone told you that by coming here today you would suffer, you wouldn’t have come, right? Every step, every action, every word, every breath is toward happiness.
Sometimes we are willing to suffer on the way for some final goal… but that goal will always be something we think will make us happy.
How Meditation Works
Here is a story that explains how meditation works:
A student approached his teacher and asked: “Oh, my teacher, please tell me, what is your secret? How is it that you are always so happy, peaceful, relaxed, energetic, healthy… How do you do it?”
The teacher answered: “It’s very simple; when I walk, I walk; when I eat, I eat; when I talk to someone, I talk to them; when I work, I work; when I do yoga, I do yoga… that’s all.”
The student said: “But I’m doing the same; when I walk I walk, when I eat I eat…”
The teacher replied: “That’s not accurate…when you walk, you think about your work. When you work, you think about your vacation. When you are on your vacation, you think about your home. When you are at home, you think about yoga. When you do yoga, you think about food."
"Whatever you do, you are not really there, your mind is somewhere else and that’s why you are missing out on life, that’s why this happiness slips away from you.”
Happiness is right here and now — inside of you, outside of you, and all around you…you are just not here to experience it.
Then the student understood the secret of being happy, which is nothing but being in the here and now. In these moments of pure happiness, we are present — not thinking about other things, not wanting something different. When we are present, we are happy.
But when our mind is all over the place, this happiness slips away. So the secret of happiness is simple; just be in the here and now.
Meditation is many things, but first and foremost, it is simply being present. It is training the mind to be focused on the here and now. In order to have strong muscles, we have to use them again and again, and in the same way, to train the mind to be one-pointed we need to focus it again and again.
This kind of concentration is the basis of successful studying and successful living. Whatever work you do with a focused mind, you do twice as fast and ten times better than if you would do it with a distracted mind.
The following are fun ways to quiet the mind and become present. Want to know how to meditate? Don’t take any exercise too seriously. Take a deep breath, do your best, and have fun!
Are you ready to meditate?
This is what I call Chocolate Meditation. But dude, don’t just read it here, make sure to try it for yourself now!
- Close your eyes and don’t open them whatever happens.
- Open your mouth just a little.
- We are going to put something in your mouth; don’t chew it…just let it melt.
- Try to experience all the things about it that you might have missed before because your mind was somewhere else. Feel the many tastes of it, the texture, the temperature, the softness and the hardness…smell it feel it…
- Don’t chew. Breathe, let it melt, and as it melts, let your mind melt into it.
- After a few minutes, you can start to chew and let the flavors and the sensations penetrate even deeper…swirl it all around your mouth using your tongue and taste it in places you never tasted it before.
- Feel how different the experience is with this new awareness…
- Now you can swallow and become one with it…
- Stay with these sensations for another moment…enjoying the bliss from within.
Meditation should not be hard…it’s easy if you find YOUR meditation. It can be walking or swimming, reading a book, writing, painting, playing music or anything else. Explore doing these activities with even more awareness – this is all real meditation!
Silent Walking Meditation
With walking meditation, we’ll put all the thoughts about what has happened or what will happen aside and we’ll try to be present. We won’t let our body be in one place and our mind in another place; we’ll try to connect them and be in the here and now.
As we start walking around the room (or outside is even better), we’ll pay attention to each and every step, we’ll feel the connection between our feet and the earth.
We’ll take deep breaths and smell the nature around us, feel the wind caressing our skin, listen to the songs of the birds or the sound of our breath, and we’ll look around and really notice all the little details of the beautiful world we live in.
All other thoughts can wait; we’ll be totally present in the here and now. Try it! There is so much joy in this practice!
Meditation Using Your Senses
We are sensual beings, and our senses naturally turn outward to the world. So, one of the easiest ways to meditate is using the senses:
Sit with your eyes closed and focus on the smell of a flower, burning incense, essential oils, chocolate etc..
You can also start this meditation with corn flakes, crackers or something else that has a lot of texture and makes a lot of noise. Then you can meditate with honey… and of course chocolate as we tried before, GOOD chocolate!
Sit with your eyes closed and explore movement in your body to some music; try rocking forward and back, side to side, circles, figure eight, spirals... After a couple of minutes slowly find total stillness.
Then slowly begin massaging yourself one body part at a time, starting with a foot and ending with the face. While massaging, use the body movements we just explored. Try to use your whole body when you massage yourself, not just your hands. Pour your body weight into the parts of the body that you massage.
You can even pound on your chest when you get there; pounding on the chest really helps improve self-confidence. At the end sit still and enjoy the amazing sensations.
Concentrate your full attention on the ticking of a clock, flowing water, the song of birds, the sound of the rain, music etc... Let yourself become totally absorbed in that sound.
Om - Chant Om loudly for about a minute or two and then keep repeating the sound mentally for another minute. How does it feel?
Ocean Breath - Sit tall or lie down. Place your fingers inside your ears so that you can’t hear anything from the outside. Now breathe deeply and listen carefully. You will hear the sound of the ocean in your breath.
Listen to the waves coming in and out and let yourself become completely relaxed.
With eyes open, focus on a flower, a picture, scenery, the room, your friend’s face or eyes, a candle flame etc... and notice all the little details you never saw before. After a minute or two, close your eyes and visualize what you saw as clearly as you can in your mind.
Candle Gazing (Tratak) - This exercise is best practiced in a dark room. Place a lit candle at eye level and gaze at the brightest part of the flame without blinking.
Keep gazing at the flame until your eyes tear up a bit or until you feel a slight burning sensation, then you can close your eyes and keep seeing the flame in your mind, imagining it to be between your eyebrows.
When the image fades, you can reopen your eyes and do the exercise again. Try not to think of other things while doing this practice, focus on the candle only. This exercise is also said to help improve the eyesight.
Don’t hold back! Let yourself dive head first into whatever you choose to focus your mind on. And most importantly, enjoy the journey!