Quieting the Monkey Mind
In a world filled with video games, computers and candy, its no wonder spiritual people are struggling to learn meditation. In 2004, I had the privilege of learning beginning meditation from a Buddhist Monk. Through the Venerable, I gained valuable insights and learned solid techniques. By combining the Buddhist system and my own personal solutions to challenges, I offer these simple tools to help beginners quiet their mind and begin the process of a meditation practice.
Meditation is a practice, we must work at it to experience results. The good news is that with regular practice results are quick. Make a commitment: 10 to 15 minutes in the morning and evening each day.
Its important to have a special place to sit quietly. This could be in a room next to a window, a converted closet or under a tree. Wherever the space, feel safe and secure.
People experienced in meditation do not need aids. However, western beginners do. Two things will really help. A small blanket to stay warm and a meditation cushion. If you have issues with movement, use a chair with a solid back. If you do not have a meditation cushion, grab a small firm pillow and place a folded blanket over the top. The idea is that your bum will be slightly lifted and this will promote comfort, a straight back and concentration.
Giving Ourselves Permission
Westerners have a tough time sitting still for very long. Socially, we’ve been taught idleness is laziness. Not true. We must prepare by giving ourselves permission to sit quietly. Go to your sacred space, get comfortable, and say out loud:
“I give myself permission to sit in silence. I embrace meditation as part of a healthy lifestyle. I honor myself”.
Continue by repeating this silently to yourself. Sit quietly and get to know your sacred space.
A Yoga Monk taught me this technique to help me center into a meditative place:
Spend some time thinking about a place you visited in nature, where you were happy. Hold this image in your mind. This will be your personal starting point in meditation. If you get stressed out at work, bring this image into your mind and you will feel calm.
Place your right hand inside of your left, so the tip of your thumbs are touching each other. Hold this position while meditating.
– Turn of the cell phone, computer, television and radio.
– Go to your sacred space.
– Sit down, get comfortable.
– Wrap the blanket around you if needed.
– Say a prayer or mantra in harmony with your spiritual beliefs.
– Become aware of your breath.
– Inhale and exhale until you feel centered.
– Place your hands in position.
– Center into your visualization. If your moves to a higher place, allow it to go.
– When you have completed your meditation close with a prayer.
If your mind wanders, re-commit to your visualization.
If your legs go numb, power through, eventually this will pass.
If you start to feel itchy, don’t scratch, just re-commit to your vision.
Discomforts will come up, its the EGO trying to stop you.
– Do not eat a heavy meal prior to meditation.
– Do drink water.
– Make sure you are clean before entering your sacred space.
– Some people feel they need “white noise”. In the beginning, if you really need to have sound, play a cd with the sound of water. If you play music, you’re not really quieting the mind.
Hopefully, these techniques will help you quiet the noise in your mind and prepare you for a more serious meditation practice. Please know, you can go to ANY Buddhist Temple and ask to learn meditation, the Monks and Nuns will greet you happily.
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti