Basic Meditation Technique for Inner Peace
Step 1: Sit comfortably
Start by adjusting your sitting position. If you sit on the floor, sit cross-legged, right leg over the left, right hand over the left hand, palms up, your right index finger gently touching your left thumb. Place both hands on your lap comfortably, your head and back erect. This sitting position is called Peace Position.
If you feel uncomfortable in this position, you may sit on a chair or sofa. Adjust your position until you feel completely comfortable and so that the blood will circulate freely and you breathe naturally.
Gently close your eyes comfortably, as if you were going to sleep. Do not squeeze your eyelids and do not shut them forcefully. Close them slightly. Do not close them tightly. Sit with a smile on your face.
Next, take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale a few times. Breathe in deeply until you feel the air pass through your lungs and reach the middle of your abdomen. Imagine that each cell in your body is fully taking in the feeling of happiness and joyfulness. Then slowly breathe out through your nostrils. Breathe out all your worries, stress, tension and negative feelings.
Step 2: Adjusting the body and the mind
Let everything go. Take a moment to let go of all the responsibilities related to work, loved ones, family, study, and everything else. Let your mind be joyful, relaxed and free from all worry. Then, breathe normally. Relax every muscle in your body. Start to relax from the top of your head down to your forehead. Relax the muscles in your face, eyelids, neck, and muscles in your shoulders, arms, and down to the tips of your fingers. Relax the muscles of your back, your chest, your legs, and all the way down to the tip of your toes. Let every part of your body relax. Don't let any part of your body contract, tighten, or become tense.
Continue to relax until you feel that every part of your body, every cell in your body, is completely relaxed. You are now in a state of complete relaxation whereby you can feel an emptiness, transparency, and lightness. Now, make your mind joyful, cheerful, clear, pure, and bright. Release and let go. Empty your mind.
Make your mind clear, pure, and free from all thoughts. Imagine you are sitting alone in a vast, open space. One that is full of freedom and peacefulness as if you never had any attachment in life, never had any problems and never knew anyone before.
Then, imagine that your body has no organs, assuming that it is a tube, a hole, a hollow vacuum, an inflated balloon or a diamond cylinder that is bright and clear. Let it be an open space - empty and hollow inside. You may feel your body get lighter and lighter, as if it were becoming weightless, gradually melting away and becoming one with nature.
Step 3: Let yourself enjoy this feeling of peacefulness
Now, bring your mind to focus to the center of your body, in the middle of your abdomen, two finger widths above the navel level. For new practitioners, do not worry too much about the exact point of center of the body. Simply maintain your mind, softly and gently, in the middle of your abdomen. The way that you focus your mind at the center of the body is by comparing it to the lightness and gentleness of a bird's feather floating down from the sky and touching the calm surface of the water.
Imagine the soft touch of a bird's feather when it touches the surface of the water. Focus your mind at the center of the body with this feeling. Maintain the feeling of relaxation in your body and mind continuously, keeping your mind focused at the center of the body (in the middle of your abdomen). After you have found the starting point to focus your mind, softly imagine a neutral object of choice so that the mind can have something to focus on and not wander. You could imagine a shining sun, of any size that you like, bright like the midday sun but clean and soothing as the moonlight on a full moon night. You can choose any object that you like as long as it makes you feel calm, pure, and content. Some people visualize candle flames, crystal balls, the moon, etc.
To imagine an object in the center of your body, you need to know the method. Slowly imagine the object with ease. Relax. Keep it simple. As simple as it would be to think of a football, a car, a house, or anything that is familiar. Do not force your mind to think of the object to a point that it makes you feel tense. Do not use too much effort or stare at it, as staring will deter you from allowing better feelings from arising. Gently imagine the object, and relax. It does not matter if it is not clear. Be satisfied with however clear it is. And maintain your mind calmly, let it stop and be still. Think of that mental object continuously. Do not let your mind wander. If you do think of something else, you can maintain your stillness of mind and concentration by reciting a short, soothing phrase.
Recite the word phrase of choice in your mind softly, as if the soft sounds were coming from the center of the mental object in the middle of your abdomen. Recite the word phrase of choice continuously, while thinking of the bright mental object, gently and comfortably floating in your center. Focus your mind to be still at the center of the bright mental object within. Maintain your mind on the object and phrase in the center of your body continuously, softly, and comfortably until your mind is still.
Step 4: maintain soft awareness of the center of the body
Once your mind is completely still, it will drop the word phrase by itself, as if you are forgetting to recite it (if you simply do not want to recite it anymore, then that is ok). You may just want to be still without your mind wandering or thinking about anything. There should be only the picture of the mental object appearing clearly at the center of your body. If you feel like this, you do not have to go back to reciting the word phrase again. Let your awareness maintain the vision of the mental object gently and comfortably. Only do this from this point onwards, with a still mind, softly, gently, constantly, and continuously. Do not do anything beyond this.
If you see or feel any experiences at the center of your body which are different from the mental object that you originally started imagining, do not be excited. Let your mind be neutral to it. Observe the experiences that occur with a calm mind and remember to relax. Be neutral. Your mind will be completely focused, pure, still, and feel like nothingness. This moment is very important so do not neglect it, pay attention because all new experiences from within will progress even further to what you are not expecting. Your role at this time is to be an observer, not a director. Just keep observing and just relax. Do not think of anything. Do all of this, only this, and that is all.
If you do this correctly, meditation will feel easy and comfortable. Your mind will then become still, easily and effortlessly. Do not analyze and comment on your inner experiences as they are happening. Your mind will not be calm and all your good experiences will go away. Instead, adhere only to these instructions. Eventually, your mind will be refined and completely focused at the center of the body. The mind will deepen, entering into clarity, purity, brightness, true happiness, and true inner knowledge. This is inner wisdom. Finally, you will behold the universal truth which lies within you and everyone else in this world. So enjoy your meditation one step at a time.
Meditation brings our mind back to its original pure state. Furnish others with the ability to incorporate attained happiness into their daily lives. The lives they lead will prove beneficial for themselves and others.
Step #5: Spreading the peace energy
The sharing of loving kindness is something we can do every day, both before and after daily meditation. A brief period before meditating softens and broadens our minds. The sharing of loving kindness as such helps improve our meditation experience. Sharing loving kindness after meditation spreads the purity of our meditated minds throughout ourselves first, then subsequently towards others.
The benefits of sharing loving kindness everyday include radiating a happy feeling when we are awake and asleep. If we have dreams, they will be sweet and meaningful. We will rid ourselves of anger and we will be positive thinkers. Most importantly, it will greatly help to improve our meditation.
We can share loving kindness simply by doing the following:
- Before ending our meditation session, once our minds come to a standstill and are hence filled with happiness, we can actually share loving-kindness, good wishes, and peace with all other people in the world. We can start by focusing our stilled mind at the center of our body where we feel true love and good wishes for everyone condensing these feelings into a bright sphere. Without any effort, imagine that this sphere of love and good wishes is expanding in all directions from your body's center towards all beings. Wish everyone freedom from suffering and the attainment of extreme happiness.
- Feel the expansion of our bright sphere all around us, spreading out towards the people in our surroundings regardless of whether they are near or far. Expand our minds continually outwards to cover our room, then our building, then our town, then our country, then our continent, then our planet. Feel unlimited love and kindness towards all people of the world, irrespective of their nationalities, religions, and ethnicities.
- Let our minds connect with all other minds. Wish them happiness; wish every country prosperity and hope, that the world will be filled with only good people who bring true happiness to humankind. Let the purity of our still minds expand from the center of our body towards other people of the world who are suffering as a result of war and conflict. Wish that everyone will stop taking advantage of one another in the name of greed, anger and ignorance.
- The purity of our minds during meditation radiates silently outwards into the atmosphere. This purity cleanses the defilements and darkness from our minds and others minds, cleaning them so that we can live with the right view and in the right direction. This direction is towards happiness, peace, and virtue. Eventually, we will change the world and bring it true peace through the limitless powers of meditation.
Summary of Meditation Steps:
- Assuming "peace position" meditation posture on floor, chair, or sofa
- Relaxation of body and then mind
- Consistent gentle "Interiorization" of awareness and concentration to a comfortable point in central area of the body; Can then use a mental object in the center
- Complete stillness and equanimity of mind in the center. Observation from this moment onward with neutrality and detachment to whatever may arise or occur; If thoughts arise, one can combine mental object with a word phrase (i.e. "Clear and Bright")
- Before getting up: Spread the LOVE to all beings
- Recite a prepared resolution or prayer
Things to Prepare and Select Before Starting the Meditation Session:
- Seat for meditation with necessary amount of cushion
- Mind free from expectation, worry, thought, tension, and excitement
- Before sitting down, select an initial "Inner Meditation Object" of choice to begin the meditation with (i.e. Sun, Moon, Star, Ping Pong Ball, Tennis Ball, etc.) for the purpose of making the mind calm, pure, and content so that when meditating, feelings of discontentment, inconsistency or boredom with the meditation object will be avoided.
- Word Phrase, or "Mantra", of choice (i.e. "Clear and Bright, Clear and Bright, Clear and Bright") to aid in stabilizing a wandering mind
- Resolution prayer for reciting after the meditation is over (i.e. for dedication, help with the various aspects of life, blueprint/plan for the future, etc.)
Now that you have learned how to meditate, we would like you to test your understanding about meditation by trying the following quiz.
The Ten Homework Assignments for Meditation Practitioners
Here are some guidelines that can be followed in conjunction with your daily activities, from the time your wake up until the time you go to sleep. When followed, these guidelines generate a refreshing and relaxing feeling all day long. Additionally, when it is time for us to meditate, our minds will be able to readily come to a standstill.The Ten Homework Assignments for Meditation Practitioners