The definitions and goals of meditation are many and varied. The practices too.
Here are a few of the more common: with eyes open or closed, using movement or sitting, either silent, listening to music or ‘guided’, setting an intention, visualisation, feeling the inner body, saying a mantra, following the breath, bringing attention to the heart, self-enquiry, staying in a state of alert presence, mindfulness ...the list is long.
In this post I wanted to just focus on what could be argued is the ultimate and purest meditation; the investigation into the nature of who we truly are, which is STILLNESS, SILENCE - THE PEACE THAT LIES BEHIND THE BELIEF THAT WE ARE OUR BODY, MIND AND EXPERIENCES.
Throughout your meditation it is vital that you have NO EXPECTATIONS and are PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
The only goal is to CONNECT WITH THE INNER STILLNESS AND SILENCE – AND REST THERE - all will come from this.
When preparing to meditate, if sitting, be comfortable but not so you can fall asleep – upright back, relaxed, in a position you can sustain for the duration of the session. Best times are sunrise and sunset, and especially after gentle yoga or stretching, but any time is OK, although ideally not too soon after eating or exercise. Use an alarm so you can relax and not get distracted by thoughts about the time. Don't meditate alongside someone who is not because their energy will be incompatible with the meditative state you seek to achieve. Be warm because meditation decreases your temperature. Meditation needs to be a regular (daily if possible) practice to feel progress. It is easiest to maintain if you establish a schedule that is realistic according to your life situation.
An effective way to begin your meditation, once you have relaxed and started to feel settled, is to gradually consciously visualise or ‘feel’ yourself letting go or dropping all that is temporary to who you are; all thoughts, all sensations, as if leaving them behind or moving beyond them. Even let the body itself fall away, along with everything associated to it (your name, gender, beliefs etc). As you do this, see if you can discover what is left untouched. Keep coming back to that question, ‘who am I that is not my body and mind?’ If you experience a space or emptiness that cannot be described, a stillness, no thought – that’s it! Rest there and in time it will develop a quality of total peace, serenity, a subtle and profound contented happiness.
Throughout your meditation, when you notice you are thinking or experiencing sensations, gently return your focus to discovering where these come from, beyond your mind and body.
Even just a few seconds during each session experiencing no thought in total stillness, is beautiful and will stay with you.
Try it and see what happens!