A: Since inner peace is crucial for spiritual progress, as well as lasting happiness and contentment, everyone can benefit from meditating, regardless of their age, gender, religion, race, nationality, cultural background or lifestyle.
A: It may be helpful to point out here that most beginning meditators won't experience "bliss"; "deep spiritual insights"; or a dramatically expanded "spiritual consciousness" right off the bat. But we can experience "a pleasant, peaceful, quiet feeling within the heart area" - at least once in a while - and thus have something practical to build on which can gradually grow and expand in a natural way. Plus, "spiritual consciousness" is a rather subtle awareness that grows over time. It is helpful to be realistic about what to expect, so that we're not disappointed. Otherwise, we may not be able to realistically evaluate our progress.
A: To see why Sathya Sai Baba, Saint Germain, our Ascended Sisters & Brothers, and the great saints all encourage us to meditate, click here: More Reasons to Meditate.
A: Generally it is best to sit in a comfortable position with our back erect and spine straight. How we do this can vary depending on whichever way is our favorite way of sitting. It can be on a regular straight-back chair with four legs; or seated on the floor on a cushion in the Lotus position or with normal crossed legs, or whatever way is easiest for us. It's important to be comfortable so that we will be undisturbed by aches and pains. The reason that it is so important to sit with our back straight, is that it allows the Divine Inner Light from our Higher Self to flow along the spine more easily. But as usual, there can be exceptions to this general rule of sitting with a straight back. If you have a back injury of some kind; or are sick and can't sit up straight, then don't worry about it. Or maybe for one reason or another you can't sit on the floor and the only type of chair temporarily available is a "slouchy" sort of chair. Don't worry about it. Just meditate at whatever angle and in whatever position that works for you at the time. You can even meditate lying flat on your back. It just that sitting up straight is usually the best way. Remember: it is better to meditate, than not to meditate, so don't let the fact that for some reason or another you can't sit up straight, stop you from meditating.
A: You may hear people talking about "mudras". These are just various hand positions that some people use during meditation. Some people like to have the tips of their thumb and middle finger touching while sitting in meditation. Other people prefer having the tips of their thumb and index/pointer finger touching. Buddhists often like to hold their hands together in their lap with the right hand resting atop the left with the palms facing up and with the thumbs touching. They sometimes refer to this "mudra" as the "Buddha's begging bowl". (This was Pearl's favorite way of holding her hands while talking to those of us who came to see her.) So you might want to try out these different ways and see which way feels most peaceful for you. Don't worry about which way you're doing it, because you can always change anytime you want.
A: Whether to keep one's eyes open or shut depends to some degree on which meditative technique you're using, and also on your personal preference. We may find that even during a given meditation session, it sometimes helps to have the eyes open, and a little while later it helps to have the eyes closed; or vice versa. Ultimately, regardless of which techniques are employed, do whatever works best for you. And remember, you will gradually become the best expert on what works best for you.
A: A "mantra is just a word, phrase, or series of sounds that we serenely and silently repeat over and over again, that help us to concentrate; disconnect from our over-active thoughts; or tune into a certain feeling or awareness. It's not necessary to use a mantra, but it can be very helpful - especially in quieting the mind. Here's some useful mantras:
"I love you GOD, I love you GOD, I love you GOD, . . . "
"I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus, . . . "
"I love you Amitabha Buddha, . . . "
"I love you Krishna, I love you Krishna, I love you Krishna, . . . "
"Om Mani Padme Hum."
Om Namah Shiva
The Gayatri Mantra
You can even make up your own mantras. That's what I (Bill) usually do. Do whatever works for you!
A: If you find yourself falling asleep whenever you try to meditate then do one of three things:
First, there's a good chance that you are sleep deprived. Sleep is crucial for our health, our immune system, and our mental & emotional well-being, as well as for staying awake when we meditate. So pamper yourself, set aside extra time, and try to get a good nights sleep each night. If you're getting adequate sleep and are still falling asleep whenever you try to meditate, don't worry about it - it happens to a certain percentage of people irrespective of how much sleep they get.
Just follow one of the next two suggestions:
Try meditating while standing up, or;
Try walking while you meditate.
Note: In "standing" or "walking" meditation, do everything you would normally do in a sitting meditation, but do it standing or walking. You may have to make some minor changes in your meditative technique, but don't worry about it. There is also a specific type of Buddhist meditation called "Walking Meditation" that you can try. Remember: Regardless of whether you're sitting, standing, walking or lying down, it's more of a blessing for you, and the world, for you to meditate, than not meditate.
A: If we find ourselves getting bored, then it's a good idea to try a devotional-loving kindness-light meditation, where we pour love to GOD with as much sweetness as we can possibly feel at the time. And then give ourselves permission to be patient with the gradual process of acquiring meditative skills, knowing that meditation is an "art" that grows over time. Just like learning how to play the piano or learning anything else, we'll improve with time and practice. Plus, it is helpful to know that everyone has their ups and downs with meditation. One day it might be as easy as pie to slip into an absolutely wonderful, deep, blissful meditation, and the next day we seemingly can't meditate at all. So be easy going about results and keep plugging away at it.
A: Sathya Sai Baba often refers to our over-active minds, which are constantly jumping from one thought, anxiety, or desire to another as our "monkey minds", because they're as overactive & undisciplined as a little monkey. So how do we "quiet the monkey mind" or ignore external distractions? Well, that's one of the main purposes of meditation, and there's many different techniques that one can use:
Pray while we meditate.
Talk to GOD while we meditate.
Repeat a Mantra.
Use Visualizations as we meditate. (Visualize a golden-white light radiating from every atom of our body and our heart area as a golden sun.)
Use Affirmations (Gently repeat to ourselves something like 'I am pure Light; I am pure Light; I am pure Light, . . . ) etc.
A: If you live in a crowded house or apartment, then just go into the bathroom, shut the door, sit down & meditate. It's better than nothing! (Just don't hog the bathroom when other people need it.)
A: Some people may gain some extra time in their busy, busy lives by reducing the amount of time spent watching TV, surfing the internet, playing computer games, or worrying about stuff. Plus, you can always do a "pouring love to GOD type meditation", while you're commuting to work or school. Just remember to keep your eyes open if you're doing the driving!
Be patient. It's rare to become a good meditator overnight. As my (Bill's) spiritual teacher, "Pearly", used to say, "It takes two nights"! In other words it can take awhile. So, please don't expect to experience deep inner peace or bliss right off the bat. Longtime meditators often experience deep, blissful meditations, but it usually takes awhile to acquire that ability. So be patient with yourself and just do the best you can; keep plugging away at it at your own pace; don't worry about results for awhile; try not to compare yourself with others - we're all different. Also, it can be very helpful to blend meditation with prayer, and then serenely go back and forth between the two as one is "meditating" and "praying".
Remember, it takes time to develop the discipline and to get a feeling for what constitutes a good meditation, just like it takes time to learn to play a musical instrument. If you're doing a devotional meditation, it's usually best to just concentrate on pouring loving gratitude to GOD with as much sweetness and gratitude as possible, and on feeling as much loving kindness flowing from your heart out to all life. Gradually the rest will take care of itself. Also, many people greatly benefit from a guided mediation, at least when they're first getting started. If you think you might be one of those, then check out my "Blissful Blended Meditation". It's a guided meditation and helps one to more easily feel the feeling of devotion.
So now it's time to checkout specific meditation techniques.
As mentioned above, I encourage you to start with the following:
because it is a "guided" meditation, that is easy to follow along with; it combines the essence of all other meditation techniques; and it usually gives good results "right off the bat".
Or, if you prefer, just click on the various techniques below or in the side menu.
A Blissful "Blended" Meditation (A meditation that takes the best qualities and techniques of the "Devotional", "Light" and "Quieting the Mind" types of meditations and blends them into a nice, easy, effective meditation! Try it! You'll like it!)
By the way, we will gradually be adding additional meditations to the meditation section as the years go by. It takes a while to create a website like this!
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