Day 21 — Spirit: Meditation
The way into my growth and development spiritually is for me to cultivate meditation. This simple act is responsible for so much change in me. What is meditation and how do I go about it? Why do I do it and where does it take me?
At the end of a recent interview for a Telesummit on Personal Development for Men I said that a simple thing a man could do after the call would to sit quietly and sense his internal core essence. He could open up a space inside for his masculinity to come through. This is a form of meditation. It is meditation to get in touch with what has been hidden deep inside, with what is trying to break through.
This is easy to say but not so easy to put into action. How do I this? How do I touch my core essence and allow the space for change to appear?
It starts with sitting comfortably. For me this comes from sitting with crossed legs. It has taken me some time to get comfortable in this position, but I now find that it is the easiest way to keep my upper body comfortably erect.
The Buddha said,
The meditator, having gone to the forest, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down with legs folded cross-wise, body held erect, and sets mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, the meditator breathes in, the meditator breathes out.
I find that concentrating on my breath provides a powerful focus that is always there. It sits alongside the beating of my heart as one of the core rhythms of my body. I listen to my breath coming in. I listen to my breath going out. I feel my abdomen and my chest moving in and out. I fall into the flow of my body, the flow that is always there.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them.
I become aware of my thoughts and I have developed an ability to sit outside them and watch them come in and go out. I relax about the idea of clearing my thoughts preferring to acknowledge that they are there and ask them to leave quietly. I find it impossible to completely clear my mind of thoughts but I am able to sense the space beyond them.
It is in that space that I seek to dig down through the layers in my mind and in my heart. The layers that have accumulated over the years, the layers that I have taken to feel safe and secure. The layers of shame and guilt that have insulated me from the world outside.
I have developed a daily spiritual practice which I seek to do every morning. I do not achieve it enough but I do not criticise myself for that. Each day I start again to grow and develop my meditation practice.
My practice has a simple rhythm which enables me to fully integrate it within my life. It follows this process:
- A short Reading about Meditation.
This is designed to help me develop ideas about the practice and process.
- Some Pranayama, breathing practice.
Deep breathing excites my internal energy and wakes up my mind.
- A few rounds of Surya Namaskar.
This yoga series of poses, Salute to the Sun, stretches me and enlivens my whole body.
- A short Yoga practice.
A series of stretches that helps me to be loose and comfortable in my meditation.
- A period of Meditation.
My body is ready to dig deep, my mind is ready to open up and my heart is ready to receive.
- Reading my current Spiritual Book.
Often my meditation and my reading are in alignment. This grows my practice.
This practice is designed to take no more than an hour. When I follow it my day flows with ease and power, when I do not, I miss it.
- Do you practice meditation in any form?
- Do you have a way of getting in touch with your core?
- Would it help you to have a daily process?