The Ins and Outs of Meditation
November 2005 – We’re All Doing Time: “The Ins and Outs of Meditation”
by Lisa Guman
“If you knew you were already whole and complete, you would not need to do things to make you feel complete.” — Alan Cohen
The Ins and Outs of Meditation
Almost a year has gone by since I started my “Reach for the Stars” newsletter. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make meditation the lead topic. Meditation has been core to my life since I learned at the age of 16 and it’s truly one of the best things we can do for ourselves. I’ve written about meditation in the book Sacred Healing and I’m offering you my chapter, Journey into Meditation: a Roadmap to Inner Healing and Wholeness.”
What differentiates meditation from relaxation?
In meditation, we slow down to a halt. The body settles down into a state of deep rest (deeper than sleep or in eyes-closed relaxation). This allows the body to begin erasing accumulated stress and explains the dramatic health improvements meditators experience. And yet while the body rests in meditation, the mind remains alert.
Do I need a teacher to learn to meditate?
No, and yes. I have a breathing awareness meditation that you can start with. However, it is very difficult to get meditation from an article, book or a two-hour course. Why? It is not because meditation is difficult, but because meditation is the easiest thing you could ever do! And because it is so simple . . .we complicate it, and find it impossible to do easily and effortlessly. We then think “I can’t meditate.” and we quit. So I believe a course is nearly essential so that the student can both successfully experience meditation and get all their
practical questions answered.
How do I know if I’m doing it right?
If you are being effortless and easy with the process and not ‘trying to meditate’ then you are meditating correctly. You’ll also know you’re doing it right if you notice the effects of meditation in your daily life i.e. you’re happier, more relaxed, less stressed, etc.
But my mind is really active and I can’t turn off my thoughts or make it go blank?
Contrary to popular belief, thoughts are actually a part of the meditation process. Yes, there will be moments of quietude in meditation, but there will be times when thoughts seem endless. And this is OK. Thoughts in meditation actually indicate the
successful release of stress.
What are the benefits of meditation?
This is the most difficult question to answer because meditation permeates and positively affects every aspect of our life from our health, to our general happiness, to our success and productivity, to our spirituality, to our intelligence and creativity. In meditation, we get deep rest allowing our bodies to erase accumulated stress. We also become more centered and at peace. There is greater ease within and without. Over 600 studies have been published on Transcendental Meditation, alone.
What is the best meditation technique?
The best meditation is the one you’ll practice! I personally practice and teach a mantra-based meditation. I teach Primordial Sound Meditation, a very complete system of meditation, in Denver, and I am available to teach at other locales. And, Chopra instructors can be found throughout the world.
What is Primordial Sound Meditation?
It is a silent, mantra-based meditation technique revived from ancient India by Dr. Deepak Chopra. In it, students receive a personal mantra, which is calculated according to their time and place of birth. Primordial Sound Meditation can be practiced by anyone. It doesn’t require any
specific beliefs, postures, or discipline, other than taking the time to meditate.
What are mantras?
Mantras are sounds that are repeated internally. They act like an anchor and take us within. The word mantra can be broken down into ‘man’ for ‘mind’ and ‘tra’ for instrument. So a mantra is an instrument or vehicle for the mind.
What is the true purpose of meditation?
It is to lose the illusion of separateness and to recognize and experience oneness, peace and bliss. It is to become enlightened and almost better, lightened.
Warning: Meditation can become so natural that it feels like you are doing nothing. And you are! Doing nothing and yet everything at the same time. And that is great! I’ll conclude with this great advice: “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Osho.
Note: If any of you know someone that is in prison – there is a great book out – actually pertinent to all of us -“We’re All Doing Time” with a forward by the Dali Lama, by Bo Lozoff. Check out the ‘Human Kindness Foundation’ for more information.