Introduction to Meditation
What is meditation: I like to think of meditation as relaxing our mind, so that we "tune out" the mind's natural tendency to chatter meaninglessly.
Why should we meditate: On a physical level, by learning the skill of stilling our mind we are able to de-stress. That alone is reason enough to practice meditation regularly. However, as we hone our meditation skills we learn to tune in to the infinite part of our nature, often referred to as Our Source.
If possible, have a special place and time of day to meditate. Mid-morning is
the best time of day for me, and I have a very comfortable swivel rocker in my
bedroom where I have meditated for years. Remove your shoes; loosen any tight
clothing, etc. before you begin.
The very easiest and simplest approach to beginning meditation is:
Step 1: Begin with several very deep, slow breaths. Inhale deeply and exhale as slowly as possible. The breath is the key to relaxation, as well as going within.
Step 2: With eyes closed, relax your entire body by focusing your attention first on your face and head, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, upper back, lower back, hips, thighs, legs, and finally feet. (The first few times, I suggest you not proceed any further. Then when you feel comfortable with the process, proceed to Step 3.)
Step 3: Then imagine a bright, white light entering the top of your head. Imagine that gradually it moves ever so slowly down your body, saturating each cell with the wonderful healing and rejuvenating light, following the pattern of your relaxation above. Imagine that the light is healing, energizing and rejuvenating every cell, system and organ of your body. After your entire body is saturated with the light, then imagine that in addition there is a halo of the white light surrounding your entire body. Bask in the essence of your entire body as a being of light.
Step 4: Then imagine that you are descending a beautiful staircase. With each step as you descend, allow yourself to relax more and more into that light. At the bottom of the stairs is a magnificent garden with incredibly beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, and perhaps a fountain. Hear the sound of the water in the fountain, as it trickles into a brook that runs through your garden. Hear the sound of a breeze in the trees, and the birds chirping in your garden, perhaps a frog in the background. Now notice that there are comfortable places in your garden to sit (I see a white marble bench).
Step 5: After being seated, begin to repeat a mantra, a repeated word or phrase, silently to yourself. Examples are "OM," "I AM," I AM LOVE," "ONE," "I AM ONE WITH ALL THAT IS," or whatever is meaningful to you. You may also just concentrate on your breath. The purpose of the mantra is to mentally focus on something so that you still the mind chatter that clutters our minds all the time. I find "I AM LOVE" to be very effective. When you find your mind wandering to other thoughts (and it will), just gently bring it back to your mantra.
I suggest that you not go beyond Steps 1 through 5 until you are really comfortable with the process, and it becomes a habit. That may take weeks or months. The more consistent your practice, the sooner you develop the skill. As you begin this process, it is very important that you not have any expectations. There is nothing in particular that is supposed to happen. Rather whatever happens is what is supposed to happen.
And also, please remember that you must be determined to stay with it until you "get it." Half an hour should be your goal, but when you first begin 10-15 minutes is a good goal, or perhaps just 5 minutes. You will develop the technique much more rapidly if you are able to have two meditation periods each day, in the morning and again in the early evening.
If you are a person who has a very difficult time relaxing and getting into meditation, you may make the first step just playing some lovely, relaxing background music, while you sit quietly and just listen. If you do that for half an hour, I’m sure you will learn to quiet your mind. Then you can move into Step 1 of this meditation guide.
Meditation is such an important self-healing tool. I hope each one of you find that healing place inside yourself. It is worth all the effort to get there.
NOTE: The Advanced Meditation is included in my e-book, Four Steps to Overcoming MS. You may preview Four Steps at: Foursteps.htm