HOW TO PRACTICE MEDITATION
We aim to achieve nonviolence through training the mind. There is a multitude of studies showcasing benefits that come from cultivating your mind by means of meditation and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a state when you step back and start to pay attention. Being mindful means you are just being in a present moment, doing something, experience a state of flow and concentrating on that one thing. Mindfulness meditation is a practice of cultivating and developing your mind. There are many various techniques, but the most basic one is to concentrate on your breathing and start observing your mind. This is called meta-awareness.
It’s no surprise that even though mindfulness is a very simple concept, it is not that easy to master.
With meditation you train the mind and with time it helps you to get back to mindful states more often. You will be calmer, more composed and joyful. Jon Kabat-Zinn said that “meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel.”
It is increasingly important for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, including those rehabilitating from military service or ex-offenders, but also very busy and stress businesspeople, students studying for exams and simply everyone who wants to live a more meaningful life full of calm and emotional stability.
Cultivating nonviolence in the world start with everyone individually. We have prepared a quick guide how you can start meditation right now.
We at Ahimsa Meditation suggest developing the practice starting from concentration meditation on breathing. When you have established yourself as a beginner meditator, you can advance and start practicing insight meditation (vipassana), which in itself will develop into a kindness and compassion practice.
How to Practice Meditation
Practicing meditation is really easy and you can try it right now with these simple instructions for a concentration meditation on breathing:
- Find a quiet place and set your alarm for an initial 10 minutes (more if you feel comfortable to start with a longer session).
- Sit cross-legged on a floor (use a mat and a cushion to level your hips with your knees), place your arms on your lap. Only sit on a firm chair if cross legged position is very uncomfortable. In general, your posture should be fairly relaxed but not sluggish, so you won’t meditate yourself to sleep. Full lotus is the most stable and firm posture, but you can adopt half-lotus or a simple cross-legged position too.
- Take a few really deep breaths as so other people would be likely to hear you breathing. It should make you feel relaxed fairly quickly.
- Close your eyes and start paying attention to sounds, smells, your posture and breathing. Simply make a mental note on what you are observing. No need to judge it or dwell on it.
- Pay attention to how your body feels. Start doing so by scanning your body from top to bottom and notice how even the smallest parts of your body feel. Don’t try to change anything or judge. It’s all good, you are being attentive, that’s it.
- Move the focus of your attention to your breathing. Do not try to change it, just let it be. No judgement please, do not allow to be violent towards yourself. Notice where in your body your breathing starts, how it flows and how it ends. To help you settle with this pattern, you can start counting your breaths from 1 to 10 and then revert back to 1. If your attention shifts to something else, notice the very fact of this happening and then gently get your mind to count the breaths again and again. These ‘jumps’ happen all the time, so be kind to yourself. The more skillful you become, the less monkey-like your mind learns to be. Every single time your mind gets back to counting breaths, it also gets stronger. This, in effect, gives your mind a proper training.
- Continue for your set amount of time. When finished, allow your mind to rest for 30 seconds with no focus on anything at all. Just observe and let it simply flow.
- Finish by making a mental note how you feel now, what you are going to do next and open your eyes.
You have just completed a mental gym for your mind. Inner peace and emotional stability are key to bring nonviolence and peace not only to your life but many other’s too.
Ahimsa Meditation offers nonviolence meditation practice for a healthy, mindful and peaceful living
Start practicing Ahimsa Meditation today!
As you can see, it is really easy and there is nothing major to learn that you do not know already. Your breathing comes natural to you, but staying with it is hard work. The beauty of meditation practice is in its simplicity.
After you have been comfortable with the basic instruction, you can think about making it a bit longer. Beginner meditators should aim to reach 20-30 minutes to sit comfortably and without strain. Body scan is a part of your practice that you can improve too. As it is about cultivation of your awareness of your own body, it is vital because if you destroy your health (i.e. by austerity or mindless overconsumption) you will have no energy to cultivate your mind. This is where being mindful about your nutrition comes into play too.
Nonviolence in the world starts with learning how to be more kind to yourself. Be selfish with allocating time for your meditation practice, know that you are working towards a bigger goal.
A big leap in development of your meditation practice lies with vipassana or insight meditation practice which is about going one step further from concentrating on the breath.
There is one thing in common for all meditation practices: there is no right or wrong in and there is no particular aim either. The latter being one of the most difficult mental concepts to accept as we are so used to goals, planning and results. It is a journey for each one of us to cultivate wholesome seeds in our minds. Quite naturally, these seeds will grow and your life becomes calm, kind, peaceful, full of gratitude and virtue.
Letting go of our ego, ‘specialness’, realising how impermanent all things are and that everybody suffers from time to time, allow us to live in a true freedom and at home with ourselves and in peace with others.
Ahimsa Meditation is a way to a true nonviolence that starts from everyone of you. Join us!