by Andy Channer
A lot of people, when asked the question “What is Meditation?”, have the misconception that it is people sitting going to sleep, making funny noises like omm and aaah, and listening to funny chime music. Have you ever gone one step further and actually discovered what meditation really is about? Buddhist monks have a name for the muddled thoughts we have in our heads every day, they refer to it as the Monkey Mind.
Have you ever watched a monkey? It always looks like it has something on its mind, always trying to solve puzzles, jumping from one thing to another, messing about etc, it does not structure time, so to speak, to contemplate; yes if you watch Gorillas as opposed to chimpanzees, they are fascinating, if you have ever watched National Geographic, they act almost regal, especially the silver back, they are extremely intelligent, in some respects they are very lucky as some of our characteristics are missing from their gene pool, thank heavens! Do you think that a Gorilla would be a Gorilla if he said “Where do I find an extra £10 for a room tonight?” Sounds funny doesn’t it, but imagine, how not having to think and therefore worry about just one thing like the example I have just given, frees the Gorillas mind, to think in the present, in some respects, he does not worry about the past or future, just the Now; that is stillness of the mind.
We as humans can however spend a large percentage of our lives worrying about the past and future, things that are beyond our control, instead of the ‘Now’. You need to learn how to disassociate yourself from all negative aspects of your life, this will make you happier, and this happiness will attract others who will pick up on your positivity.
We can structure our thoughts and to a degree we have control, but that is in the realm of conscious thoughts, we also have sub conscious thoughts every minute of the day. In order to find our own enlightenment we need to make time to contemplate. We can use exercises in the form of Meditation. Here is an example of a basic breathing technique. When meditating, by placing your thought on the breath, it is possible to quieten the “Monkey Mind”, and improve concentration. The aim is to become aware of the breath as it enters and leaves your body, by concentrating on the rise and fall of the abdomen, or the sensation of the breath passing through your lips or nostrils. With the exhalation of each breath, count one, two, three, etc, Set yourself an achievable target, say seven, to begin with. When sensations of stillness and quietness, and peace eventually occur, hold them as best you can and experience them as fully as possible, when you get distracted or lose the sensation, return to the breath.
Try it and see, do not get disheartened if you cannot reach 7 straight away, each tiny step, is a step forward to a healthier, mind and body.
You can also use sounds to help you focus on your Meditation, this will also help you keep the Monkey Mind at bay, the noises I refer to for example are, omm and aaah, and these are used by Buddhist and by Tibetan Monks. You can add the noises at a time when you are confident that you can do the breathing right. The sounds you make are an aid to concentration, they enhance and regulate the breathing and additionally bring a vibration into the process. Concentration and the ability to access the sub conscious will improve.
Any thoughts that enter your head should resemble the waves coming in and out on a beach, do not fight the images that come into your head. Let them come and go like the waves. Breathe in and out and keep good posture.
There are many ways to Meditate, I shall give you an example; the mind is infinite, and there is nowhere you cannot visit, nothing you cannot do. In this training of your mind you could be sitting on the top of a mountain; safe on a flat comfortable ledge, now imagine seeing yourself from above, you are calm, relaxed, and in perfect upright posture; you see yourself sitting high above a range of mountains and valleys down below.
Does this sound relaxing?
Now imagine that you, the watching self, are slowly becoming aware that you have taken the form of an eagle, to aid you on this journey, you feel the gentle wind in your face, and on your wings, you glide over the vast landscape, you come to a lake, you’re flying low, so that the tips of your wings are just skimming the surface of the water, you feel totally relaxed.
If you get distracted, remember your breathing, and then continue from where you were. ……. as you glide across the expanse of water, you can see your spirit image reflected in the calm water, you can see how relaxed you are, you have not a care in the world at this present moment in time, your mind is quiet, and you feel very warm and comfortable within yourself, you look ahead, and as you start to ascend, you see ripples and splashes on the lake surface, you share the energy of the living creatures that you now know live in the waters below. We will fly high as an eagle now, join me in my flight, feel the energy, we are flying high, up towards the white fluffy looking clouds in the sky, feel the experience, make the vision bright and colourful, make the image as big as you can, see everything in detail, make all the noises vivid and real, isn’t it wonderful?
Use your own imagination to continue this journey, remember to visualise everything big and bright, listen to all of the wonderful sounds, the beat from your wings, the touch of water, the feel of the water on your wing tips.
You will know in your body when the time is right for you to return above the ledge on the top of your mountain and rejoin with your other self.
You can see from my example what your imagination can do, concentrate on positive experiences. When meditating you want to be calm and relaxed.
The human mind has the potential for infinite development, if you can discover, even in a small way, that true satisfaction comes from your mind, you will realise that you can extend this experience without limit and that it is possible to discover everlasting satisfaction.
I have included an Indian poem about the present, it’s quite fitting.
This day is a special day
This day is yours,
Yesterday has slipped away,
About tomorrow nothing is known,
But this day, today is yours,
Make use of it,
Today you can make someone happy,
Today you can help another,
This day is a special day, It is yours.
The mind is an up- tapped resource. We work out our muscles everyday and they grow, but as soon as you stop they shrink and you get atrophy. Do not let your mind go into a state of atrophy!
Being disabled my self and trying to inspire others, regardless of their physical abilities, I can tell you there is nowhere we cannot go and nothing we cannot do with our minds.
With the help of meditation you too could visit a different place in the world. Every day for life, you can experience things that you may never do physically. There are no restrictions on the body inside your mind. You can be anything and do anything, no excuses. Use these examples to enhance your life. You will not be disappointed, do not make excuses, be positive in character and you will reap the benefits. Always try and think in the present, the Now, thinking of things in the past that have been, or things in the future that might be, will not help you in the long run, it will only lead to confusion, anxiety, wanting, and sometimes regret, think positive thoughts, be present in the Now, when you are at peace in your mind, you are healthier in body too, work the mind out like you do your body, and your life will be enhanced 10 fold, try it and see! Good luck, may you all enjoy the silence of a calm mind!
Fulfil your potential, the first step is always the hardest, make each step in the present, and your journey to enlightenment is that much closer!
Best wishes in your training