During the current outbreak of COVID-19, as precautions; we cannot and should not go outside, however, this is an excellent opportunity to go inside and get to know our true selves, true nature and understand the higher purpose and deeper meaning of life. One of the instruments to go inside is Meditation. During this period of global pandemic, let us meditate for all the beings, as it is said, ‘when we pray; we speak to God and when we meditate; God speaks to us.’ So, let God speak to us and show us a path of cure and peace in the current times of difficulty.
Now first, let us understand, what is meditation? Meditation is giving our genuine presence to ourselves. Meditation is going inside and taking care of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. Meditation is aligning our body, mind and speech to reach our soul. Meditation is listening to the Universe. Meditation is connecting to ourselves as we are. Meditation is bringing our mind back to our body and enjoying the present moment.
Also, one of the prime purposes of meditation is to silent the continuous chattering going on inside our mind. The outer world can never be silent. Silence is internal. Our mind is silent, when it does not have internal chatter, and because, there is no chatter inside the mind, we can focus and concentrate even in the busy crossroads full of external noises. This is what meditation does, it silent the chatter of our mind and our mind becomes clam and peaceful. Gods resides in a silent mind and when our mind is silent nothing external can disturb or irritate us. There are noises outside and there are noises insides; let us silent noises inside which is easy and, in our hands, and such silence are abode of God.
One of the easiest techniques of meditation,which is called mindfulness meditation is given below:
* If possible, light an incense, and wash your face, hand and feet. Please note, you can do it at any time as per your convenience.
* You can sit cross legs on a floor or on a chair or while traveling in car (chauffeur driven), bus, train or plane.
* Keep your spine straight. Use a cushion to sit and put it under your hips. It will help in keeping the spine straight.
* Hold your hands together by crossing the fingers, and right thumb on the left thumb.
* Look at the tip of your nose, and then close your eyes slowly.
* Please note that the first main ingredient of mindfulness meditation is breath, and the second is speech.
There is a poem which you can say inside your mind while inhaling and exhaling which is written by father of mindfulness, Venerable, Thich Nhat Hanh:
While inhaling, say While exhaling, say
* In Out
* Deep Slow
* Calm Ease
* Smile Release
* Present moment Wonderful moment
Please try to implement the meaning of each word in its letter and spirit. Saying inside your mind is very important.
While doing the in and out at serial no. 1, just become aware of your in and out breath and let it be natural. You just need to be aware of the same. In this exercise, time and again bring your attention at your nostrils and observe the air coming in and going out. The air coming in will be cool and the air going out will be warm. keeping doing it, till the time your breath naturally gets deeper.
When doing the deep and slow at serial no. 2. Try to do diaphragm breathing. Here you need to manipulate your out-breath a little by making it slower. Your out breath should be longer than the in-breath. Time and again bring your attention to your abdomen and observe the rise and fall of your abdomen, and say inside your mind, rise while breathing in and fall while breathing out.
When you deeply inhale and slowly exhale, you become calm and when you become calm, things become easy. While inhaling, you have to say calm and while exhaling, you have to say, ease. While saying calm, really calm yourself by releasing the stiffness in your body, and while saying ease, just give a half smile intentionally. Repeat it till the time you really feel calm.
When you become calm and things become easy, you smile and when you smile, you relax three hundred muscles on your face and you also release the tension in your body. While inhaling say smile and smile a bit and while exhaling, say release and bring your attention at the sole of your feet and feel the sensations there and imagine that all the tension, worries, fears, frustration etc. are getting released from there, and when negative thoughts are released, then, the present moment becomes wonderful moment.
Now, while inhaling, say, present moment and while exhaling, say, wonderful moment. This is very important exercise and while doing this, bring your awareness on sense organs one by one and try to hear all the sound near and far, try to see images you can while your eyes are closed, try to have the taste in your mouth, try to smell the fragrance and the quality of air coming in and going out and then, last try to feel the sensations on your skin.
You may meditate for 15 minutes to half an hour or more. In case of any clarification, you may get in touch with us.
In addition, please also note that while meditating, we can breathe in many forms. We start with following our natural breath,then, we may manipulate our breath a little by taking a long breath and exhaling slowly. Sometimes, we become aware of gap in two breaths. Sometimes, we hold our breath after taking an in breath and we pause after taking an out breath. So, we change the pattern of our breath as per the need. Deep breath is taken from diaphragm and we observe rise and fall of our abdomen. It is called diaphragm breathing. Sometimes, we just become aware of our natural breathing, and focus on tip of our nose or nostrils.
Sometimes, we take a deep breath and hold it inside as long as possible and exhale and keep our lungs empty as long as possible. It depends upon different situation and condition of our mind. If you are disturbed, worried, tensioned or thinking a lot, then, take help of diaphragm breathing, observe the rise and fall of your abdomen and make yourself aware of your feet and feel the sensations there. When your mind is not much disturbed and/or agitated and feeling sleepy, observe the breath at your nostrils. If you need to energize yourself, pause after your out breath and if you need to calm yourself, hold your breath after taking an in breath
Taste the nectar of mindfulness meditation and feel the calmed bliss, and once you have tasted this nectar, you will like to taste it time and again to become calm, composed and blissful. This is what going inside will give you.
(The author is a Founder, Mindfulness & Life Coach at Sachetan)