Embodying Meditation is the empowering stage where nothing separates you from your consciousness. Your concentration flourishes and your ability to discipline your wandering mind is much higher. Your awareness and world view gains maturity and depth, leaving you completely at peace with yourself with a profound mind-body-soul connection.
You’ve just sighted the shores your very own private island from the comforts of your house, and found yourself in sheer wonderment at its existence and stumped by it’s greenery and crystal-clear blue waters. You quickly shed your initial dismay at its ‘late’ discovery and are consumed with excited anticipation to roam around your lush beautiful space that you’ve only had fleeting glimpses of.
Landfall has been made, but how do you start to best explore and grow now? You can do it on your own, but why? Having help around you will make your path better lit and quicker to tread. A deeper exploration of the island, requires a deeper connection to the right practitioners and practices.
Reaching the island through focused attention is one thing, but knowing how to increase your presence there to find the stability you need is another. There are multiple reasons contributing to the instability of this space – your practise of meditation is sporadic, job demands has left you with little time, you get caught up with other priorities, etc. Though having experienced the benefits of a free-flowing outlook and life, you want to dig into your meditation journey, in a way that will fit with your modern life and commitments. But how?
Effortless Meditation will build upon what you already know. Finding the perfect practitioner is key. Someone who understands you and can build on the process already familiar to you. They will help you in personal and varied ways. Building your own processes and focus, like strengthening your ability to concentrate on an object or a chant, are done so that you gently cement your discipline and training in sticking to those practices. Consider it like laying the foundation of a building. If this is sounding like the part of the path that resonates with you, you’re certainly in the right place. And your journey continues here.
What may follow is a skills update in the basic elements by:
- Truly relaxing your body (as opposed to thinking your body is relaxed and discovering your fists are still clenched, or some other body part is tense).
- Finding a comfortable body posture (as opposed to mimicking a seated-Buddha position but constantly fidgeting because your back can’t keep up the upright position aka physically stilling yourself).
- Controlling your breathing (as opposed to your breathing fluctuating from short quick breaths to deep long breaths)
- Seeing objects travel in your mind (while earlier you just concentrated on an object)
- Observing the essence of your thoughts in a non-judgemental manner (unlike passively noting their existence, you progress to recognising the underlying tones of your thoughts – sad, happy, excited, gloomy, neutral…)
- Advancing pleasant thoughts (earlier you ploughed the fertile ground of your mind, you now start seeding it)
- Remaining undisturbed no matter the circumstances (nope…music from your neighbour’s apartment or a ringing mobile/cellular should no longer bother your meditation).
Simultaneously your know-how in the learned practices is increased. This is done by smoothly adding new methods, or recognising and modifying the method in your current approach, to reach a meditative frame of mind. For example, if you started meditation by just concentrating on your breathing, in the next level your practitioner might ask you to breath in by thinking of the words “a beautiful life” and breathing out by concentrating on the words “negative energy”. The idea being that in the meditative state you are able to take a walk in your personal idyllic island, but when you snap back into the real word, you reap the rewards of associating inhalation with happy thoughts and exhalation as a medium of getting rid of dark thoughts.
Training in breathing acquires new significance in this phase because of the slow realisation that one’s breath sustains our lives. It also doubles up as the wireless connection between the body and the mind. The steadier the wireless signals, the better the stability of your mind-body connection. Additionally as one masters one style of rhythmic breathing new and different breathing techniques are integrated. With repeated rehearsals your breath and your mind almost converge leading to an enhanced outreach to your consciousness.
Through repetition not only do you start getting a sense of the whole modus operandi of meditation, but you also begin to incorporate other practices like reflection or chants or all. Meaning you would be meditating by concentrating on your breath while singing a mantra, deep in contemplation about the nature of your thoughts. The adoption of various techniques is done with the modest purpose of increasing the number of organic elements fed to your fertile mind, and all done to cultivate a tranquil mind.
Each of us is unique, with our own personal needs and speed. The manner in which all of us evolve in certain stages of the journey, is purely individual. Our points of departure will rarely be identical, as would be the peaks and valleys we encounter. But the intuitive feeling of journeying towards the right direction is happily felt by all.
Hurray, in this stage you can get the hang of the process of meditation instead of schooling yourself on methods. In this stage you can enjoy devoting more time to the actual practice. But why is this worth celebrating?
You’ll find your attention span grows from seconds to minutes, and maybe even far longer than that. This means you’re well on your way to a mental evolution, building longer periods of concentration without being captivated by a passing thought. The humdrum sounds of external daily life and the internal mental noise will gradually fade away into the background and cease to silence around you, freeing you up to make deeper inroads into your island of paradise.