Eyes open or closed, using movement or sitting, silent, listening to music or guided, setting an intention, visualisation, feeling the inner body, using a mantra, following the breath, bringing attention to the heart, staying in a state of alert presence, mindfulness ...the list goes on.
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, sometimes referred to as Self Enquiry.
Two fundamental key ingredients are HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS and BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
The only goal is to investigate who am I, or who is the meditator? - all will come from this.
When preparing for seated meditation, be comfortable but not so you can fall asleep – upright back, relaxed, in a position you can sustain for the duration of the session. It is said that the best times are sunrise and sunset. After gentle yoga or stretching is always nice, but any time is OK, although ideally not too soon after eating or exercise. Set your intention to meditate for a period of time, then set an alarm so you can relax and not get distracted by thoughts about time. Don't meditate alongside someone who is not meditating because their energy will be incompatible with the meditative state. 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 when 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 all that is temporary: all thoughts, sensations, as if leaving them behind or on the surface. Even let the body itself go, along with everything associated to it (your name, gender, beliefs etc). As you do this, see if you can discover what is left untouched, observing the letting go. Keep coming back to that question, ‘who am I that is still here?’ If you experience a space or emptiness that cannot be described, a stillness, no thoughts – that’s a sure sign of progress. Rest there and in time it will develop a quality of total peace, serenity, a subtle and profound contented happiness. As this becomes stable and established, then again 'see' if you can sense 'who' is experiencing this? Any description that comes into your awareness, keep looking for that which is 'behind' it.
Throughout your meditation, when you notice you are thinking or experiencing sensations, gently return your focus to looking for the I who is aware?
Even just a few seconds during each session experiencing no thought in total stillness, is beautiful and will stay with you.
When the "I" drops away... This is where words stop.