If you could spend just 5 minutes a day doing something that can completely transform your life, would you do it?
And, what if I told you there's a really simple technique to release tension, stress and even overwhelm in seconds?
Sound to good to be true?
The pure essence of Meditation is the practice of being alert and aware of what’s happening both inside and outside of your body and in your immediate environment.
On the inside this could be observing (in a non-judgmental way) your bodily sensations, feelings, emotions and even the thoughts that circle around your mind.
On the outside Meditation is focused attention of the mind on a specific object, thought or particular activity.
This can be done while walking around the block, sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, talking to friends, running in the park, chewing gum, swimming at the beach and even making love to your partner.
Is liberating and complete freedom from the mind and all its disturbances and distractions like emotions, thoughts and never ending desires.
Never Miss Out On Life, ever again!
When you meditate, you show up for life. You start to savor and enjoy every single moment, even the painful and not so pleasant ones.
But, even more important is the that you will become a much more balanced and tranquil individual throughout life’s many ups and downs.
One of the many benefits that comes with a commitment to a daily meditation practice is that it you will be able to remain totally calm in the midst of a stormy situation
Life is precious
We are all given a finite amount of time to live on earth. Make the choice to be present and fully experience every day to the fullest.
Meditation will magnify life’s secret beauty to you.
Still not convinced?
Dozens Of Reasons To Meditate
For the most part we have no control over our external environment. But we can definitely choose to tame and calm the monkey mind that’s constantly bouncing around from thought to thought like a wild animal.
I have personally felt the intensity of these wild thoughts in my head. For me, sometimes it feels like my thoughts were pounding up against my cranium.
Then I practiced meditation.
An Ounce Of Practice = Pound Of Results
It only take 5 or 10 minutes a day to reap the amazing benefits from meditation. I’m sure that once you start meditating your entire life will improve in the most subtle and profound ways.
Below is a list and a deeper look into the world of mediation and some of its many great benefits…
1. Improves Focus And Concentration
With a meditative state of mind comes improved concentration and coordination with almost activity that you find yourself doing. You will cultivate the ability to completely immerse yourself in whatever it is that your doing.
“You become better at everything you do”
When your able to concentrate 98% of your attention on just one task “beautiful things can happen”. You are able to enter the “Zone” with total absorption and razor sharp focus happen.
The zone is where masterpieces and works of art happen are born.
2. Learn To Trust Your gut
When your mind and body have entered a meditative state of being and awareness you become much more fluent in decision making. This happens for several reasons.
First; your mind is more synchronized with every single sensation that comes up in the body. So when your confronted with a really important decision or choice to make in life, your mind will be able to drop into and see how it feels inside the body.
From my experience, the body never lies. We’ve all experienced the butterflies in the stomach when you know everything feels just right or the tightness inside the chest when the shoulder start to collapse and the breathing gets more shallow. This is when something just isn’t right.
As time goes on and you're presented with two options, trusting the sensations in the gut become like second nature.
3. Puts The Ego Back In Check
The ego is made up of many different complex descriptions, ideas and beliefs about who you are in the world. These include your position, and status in life, the titles linked to your name, all the way down to the things that you possess and own you
The ego mind will ask detailed questions like “Who am I?” and much of the time what comes to mind are answers like “ I’m a wife, accountant, mother, vegetarian, daughter”
The ego mind will surface and show itself many times throughout the day and make comments like: “you used to be better than this” or “ come on, push yourself a little more, you need to lose a couple pounds to fit into that old dress”
This cycle can go on for many years and sometimes for your entire life. It’s like nagging background music that never stops playing.
Throughout the course of your life these roles and ideas about yourself will change and evolve. However when you meditate and slowly strip away each layer, breath by breath, what remains is the your true authentic self, which is the spirit of who you are!
4. Healthy Ego Mind
This may sound a little bit contradictory to what I just said about stripping away the ego mind to reveal yourself. Yes, this is a natural result of meditation and daily dissection of the mind.
But the ego can also be a great ally in your life. It can help you to release and realize your fullest, most useful potential in life. The key in every moment is to be able to recognize if it’s the inner critic talking and judging thyself or your authentic, compassionate, fully conscious and awake mind that’s active.
5. Improves Memory Function
You will forget less because you are fully present for every situation that happens in your life.
How often do you meet someone new and then they tell you their name and the next minute you completely completely forget who they are because you were daydreaming and not paying attention.
Meditation will increase your ability to be fully present in every situation that you find yourself in.
You’ll find that your mind won’t wander off on the train of thought as easily.
Thoughts are like clouds slowly passing by in the sky. Their always there coming and going.
During meditation your focus should be to observe and watch the clouds (thoughts) as they drift and pass by. Just observe them come and go.
6. Waste Less Time
The more you meditate, the more you cherish your time. The most ordinary things become extraordinary because you will start to see life from a fresh perspective.
See, we are all given a finite amount of time to live on earth. We must choose to be present and fully experience every day to the fullest.
When you rush through life, you miss it. I know it’s cliche however this time around stop and smell the roses!
8. Become Friends With Yourself
As you become more established with your meditation practice you become more comfortable with yourself every day.
Meditation helps to uncover the best qualities and characteristics that we sometimes forget about.
Meditation has the power to polish and refine forgotten potential into the most unique creative way. Meditation will empower you from deep within.
8. Makes You Smarter
Research has proven that a daily Meditation practice increases cognitive function. It alters the activity inside the brain and increases the grey matter near the frontal cortex after years of meditation.
The study claims this may be because people that meditate usually cultivate good positive emotions, have emotional stability and do more tasks mindfully. Link
9. More Peace
With meditation comes peace of mind. When you meditate will get back in touch with the deepest, most intimate part of your being.
You will discover that it’s your true nature to be peaceful and balanced.
With time, you will begin to almost crave and look forward to this exclusive “time with yourself”. You may even get grumpy if you miss out on your daily dose of meditation 🙂
10. Improves Your Ability To Multitask (Well Almost)
You will discover the more you meditate, the more easily it is to complete many different tasks.
What happens is you develop and strengthen your concentration and your ability to focus on a specific task and complete it in the quickest, most efficient way instead of always getting sidetracked by every single shiny object that crosses your path.
You will become much more effective.
11. Boosts Creativity
When the mind is clear, silent and in a passive, observant state of awareness, fresh creative inspiration naturally unfold.
Many times I’ve been meditating and I’ll have a great idea come to mind. When that happens I usually stop and go write it down right there on the spot, just because I don’t wanna lose it!
Some of the best inventions and innovations were created when people were laying in bed in the early morning hours, relaxing in the bathtub or contemplating nature.
When the mind is allowed to rest from the incessant thinking and thoughtforms, miraculous things naturally start to happen.
12. Gain Power
When you meditate you focus your energy on a specific thought, object, sound or sensation.
Anytime that you focus and concentrate your awareness on something (including mental energy) the mind becomes more powerful and stronger.
When you meditate you become much more effective and accomplish so much more. Meditation is like maintenance for the mind.
13. Your Senses Are Magnified
Your senses become heightened and very acute. You won’t quite have the same sense of smell as a K-9, but I can assure you that life just becomes more rich and delicious.
Your taste buds become more sensitive. Everyday things like food, sex, and even taking a shower start to become more sweet and sacred.
Remember how beautiful and exciting life was when you were a kid? Meditation will reignite that childlike curiosity that lays dormant inside of you. You will begin to see the world as fresh and brand new, not the same old, worn out routine.
Meditation has a unique way of bringing the meditator closer to the beauty of life and experiencing all of it’s precious miracles that are everywhere in plain site.
14. Reclaim Happiness
Your true source of happiness only dwells inside the body. External forms of happiness are fleeting and short lived.
Meditation opens up an everlasting source happiness that’s always available to us. Happiness is just a breath away.
15. Meditation Is The Best Buzz
Timothy Leary, Ram Dass and Huston Smith who are touted as the founding fathers of the “psychedelic movement” said that they eventually came to the conclusion that drugs and psychedelics can only take the mind so far. Ram Dass said that “the only way to become truly enlightened is by meditation”. This is clear with their many trips back and forth to India to study with their teacher.
17. Overcome Addictions
A short report on some of the benefits of meditating that are currently being used in schools, military and different institutions and even being recommended to patients by their doctors.
Meditation And The Breath
Following the breath will lead you down the magical path of meditation. It’s the primary focal point especially when just starting to out.
This is because it gives the mind something to focus its short, monkey like attention span on 🙂
So, once you advance along the path of meditation, the goal will be to forget about the breath.
To achieve the ultimate state of “no-mind” and to fully liberate the mind free from all distractions, you will eventually drop and forget about the breath.
This will come later on though, for now, the breath is your best friend and sidekick.
Fire The Judge and Hire the Witness
Everyday the mind gets overloaded and bombarded with judgmental thoughts.
These can be anything from judging the person who cut you off on the highway, someone who was in line in front of you speaking vulgar language, the person who flicked you off for no apparent reason.
Meditation will teach you to fire the judge and hire the witness. The more you meditate, the more you will observe and evaluate your thoughts, feeling and emotions both about yourself, and about the world and people that surround you everyday.
You will become more conscious and careful about the type of thoughts you choose to think about and even more detailed about the words that speak.
Meditation will transform you into a good human being.
Mindfulness Is Key
Mindfulness is a state awareness, moment by moment. You could almost say that it’s a code of ethics for your mind.
Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand.
All meditation modalities are intricately connected to mindfulness, meaning you can’t have one without the other.
Below are some of the key features of mindfulness:
- Patience - knowing that everything of real value in life takes time. You must plant the seed of your intention, nourish and cultivate it and allow it to grow, unfold and eventually blossom into creation.
- Acceptance - being open to the flow of life and seeing it for what it is without always resisting what is.
- Trust - the innate wisdom that dwells inside the body and tap into the unlimited source of truth that’s embedded in your intuition.
- Non Judgment - experience life for what it is without the “inner critic” always labeling and judging everything.
- Letting go - cultivating the skill of non-attachment. For example; not becoming attached to people, places or experiences that come into your life then pass on.
- Beginners mind - approaching each new day and experience with fresh eyes, not comparing every experience or interaction with the previous one.
- Enjoy the ride - be open to Joy
Everyday there is new and emerging research about the benefits of mindfulness
Countless research and studies suggest mindfulness improves focus, attention, and ability to work under stress.
How To Sit For Meditation
Below is a brief description of the most common and basic ways to sit for meditation.
Note: with any meditation posture, always maintain a straight spine with a slight arch in the lower back. Allow the shoulders blades to gently roll down the back. Keep the chin slightly tucked like a turtle. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head (crown) pulling you up to the sky. Then relax the entire body including the facial muscles. Once your in position, forget everything and JUST BE.
In a chair
When just starting out, a chair is a great option. The main reason for this is because your legs aren’t crossed like when your sitting on the floor in lotus position.
When you sit in a chair for meditation it’s ideal to sit on the edge of the chair if possible. This is so you can start to strengthen the back muscles.
Many times when people complain about a sore back or their lower back hurting it’s because their slouching and need to correct their posture.
Usually within a week or so (depending on how often you sit for) the pain and discomfort will fade away. After that, you should be pain free.
This is a very comfortable posture to meditate in especially when you add a little support underneath the buttocks (to help take the pressure off the knees). Allow the hands to rest gently on the lap, or on each leg.
The most classic meditation posture. When sitting in this posture it’s very beneficial to put what’s known as a wedge (this could be a blanket or a pillow) underneath your tailbone.
This will slightly elevate the hips. This creates more balance between your hips and legs. It also allows the lower back muscles to relax because there is less of an angle in the hip crease.
Cultivate Compassion With Inner Smile
This inner smile is great to do every single day. It has a way of reminding me first to love myself each and every single day.
It also reminds you to send good vibrations to the whole world both in your neighborhood and beyond. This also extends on to all creatures in the living universe.
The meditation is based on the Taoist lineage of meditation. It’s very basic and extremely simple to do, yet is so powerful and potent.
The inner smile meditation gives you complete permission to smile to oneself in the most sincere and authentic way.
Not just a surface smile either by the way. It pierces into the body down to cellular level.
Best of all, the inner smile meditation can be completed in just a few minutes and done anytime throughout the course of your day.
I hope it becomes the highlight of your day.
Find a comfortable seated position so the body is able to relax for a bit. You can also do this while laying down but seated is preferred is best for most meditation practices.
Next, sit up nice and tall with the spine nice and straight, almost like there’s a string pulling you up from the top of your head like a puppet.
Now, once your posture and your foundation is sturdy and upright, visualize the entire muscular system, tendons and ligaments in the entire body becoming relaxed and limp.
Allow all the muscles to just drape and melt over all the bones. The only thing supporting the muscles is the strength and upright posture of the skeletal system.
With practice one should be able to scan over the entire body and totally relax it within seconds.
Think Of Something Beautiful
Now that your comfortable and relaxed, physically smile even if your not in the mood to smile. If it doesn't come easy think of one of the happiest moments in your life, like your favorite person or place. Remember all the feelings and sensations that are connected to this experience.
Now, concentrate and bring that feeling inside around your eyes. Allow it to start to radiate and expand for a few moments.
Next, allow this expansive happiness to begin to flow behind your eyes and down your neck like a radiant waterfall.
Allow it to slowly melt like honey down to all the vital organs beginning with the heart, then the lungs, then the kidneys, Liver and ending in the stomach.
As you reach each organ, pause, just for a moment and smile and send the most authentic, loving energy and thoughts, from the center of your mind, to that part of the body.
I do this meditation in the morning.
Many times, the inner smile meditation spaneously leads me into a deeper meditation.
“When you have a heartfelt belly laugh, every part of your being - the physiological, the psychological, the spiritual - they all vibrate in one single tune, they all vibrate in harmony” - Osho
Hundreds of studies show that laughing is wonderful for your health. It gives the immune system a boost, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
When you have a deep belly laugh and the stomach muscles move in and out this increases blood flow and aids digestion.
Plus, since we unfortunately live in a world that indoctrinates and conditions us to keep our emotions and feelings suppressed and bottled up inside. this is a great practice to go let it out.
Laughing meditation is simple and fun. It’s best to do it with at least one other person but a group is even more hilarious.
Before you begin you it’s best to stretch and relax your lungs and vocal cords a little bit with a few sighing exhales.
Then after the laughter has broke it’s followed by a couple minutes of silence and stillness.
All you have to do is just start laughing. Laugh like hyenas in the night or a lunatic maniac. You have the permission to.
Microcosmic Orbit Meditation
The microcosmic orbit meditation is the first step in learning Taoist energy cultivation exercises that are rooted in Qigong.
This is one of the first meditation that start with in the Taoist lineage when you start to develop and refine your Qi (chi) flow so it can move freely throughout the body.
As you progress along the path of Qi energy cultivation, you will start open up the pathways where the healing energy flows. This is a very powerful practice and results can usually be felt within the first couple weeks of practice.
Practicing The Microcosmic Meditation
First you start off with some deep breathing exercises (the belly expands on the inhale and contacts on exhale). This wakes up the blood and Qi in the stomach which is known as the (Dantian) in Chinese medicine.
After around 9, 18 or 36 breaths (this correlates to Taoist numerology) you're ready to shift your focus.
Energy flows where the mind goes.
Then you direct your mind down to the base of your spine, then up the back along the spine during the next inhalation (breath the energy up the spine) to the crown of the head.
As you exhale, you direct and follow the energy down the front channel to complete the cycle then returning back to the Dantian.
Note: the microcosmic orbit has several meridian points. In the beginning you will focus on each point. These points are said to be located just under the surface of the skin.
The first goal in completing the orbit is getting the energy to freely flow and circulate around the orbit continuously.
When you first start off, your practice will probably be pretty slow. You may not even feel anything at all. One reason for this is because the mind is so distracted and out of focus.
As time goes on, the mind will become more focused and concentrated on the subtle sensations of energy movement.
If you have a desire to learn Tai Chi, Qigong and even internal martial arts (soft style) fighting techniques then, this is the prerequisite in learning how to stimulate, activate and dictate your Qi at your will and as you choose.
Mantak Chia and my teacher Michael Winn wrote a very comprehensive guidebook on the microcosmic orbit. It’s the first step in the cultivation of Inner Alchemy
Vipassana meditation has completely altered my perception of how I see and view the world around me.
It’s 10 day silent meditation retreat which allows you to fully commit to learning this timeless technique that was rediscovered by the Gotama the Buddha over 2,500 ago.
The buddha traveled and taught this technique to the people as a way to help liberate people from their self inflicted pain and suffering.
He eventually began to setup meditation camps in order to teach and transmit the essence of Vipassana
The nature of the technique is to remain balanced and sane no matter what your experiencing on the inside or out.
The Buddha described Vipassana as the “art of living” He had no interest in ever establishing a religion or institution. Vipassana and the art of living meditation practice has no rites or rituals, no structured formalities of any kind.
Buddha taught the people to just “observe nature as it is”.
Vipassana meditation gives you a direct experience of reality through intense self observation.
To meditate and observe the nature of things as they are, and not just as they appear to be.
During a Vipassana 10 silent meditation retreat you will learn more about yourself in 10 days than you have in the previous 10 years. Yes, you get 10 to be with yourself 100%. You also can’t speak with the other course participants, they tell you when to eat, no cell phones or books and only vegetarian food while in deep meditation for several hours per day. Sounds pretty scary right?
This meditation retreat allows you to disconnect with the world and reconnect with yourself.
Satya Narayan Goenka was the foremost lay teacher of Vipassana meditation of our time.
The first 3 days of the course involves strengthening the mind with one pointed focus. What happens is you focus on the breath coming in and out of the nostrils on the area directly underneath the nose and just above the top lip.
You do this for 3 day.
By the end of the 3 days the mind becomes sharp as a needle.
See, generally when we feel sensations on the body on an everyday basis. For example, like an ache in the back or some pain in your arm maybe from falling on the ground. Or, some pain in the heart from a hard breakup with your partner perhaps.
The point, we usually feel and experience sensations in a very broad way, the arm, or the leg, or the entire body.
So, at the end of the 3rd day your mind becomes very concentrated. Your focus is razor sharp and now when you focus on the area located just beneath the nostrils you will feel strong tingly sensations.
After the 3rd day is finished and the mind is more sharp you begin the practice of Vipassana.
For the next 7 days you shift that razor sharp focus all over the entire body. Every square inch from head to toe.
As you move from point to point you pause at each point for a moment until you feel some sort of sensation.
The reason for this is so you can scan the body. When you do these whole body scans you may experience many different types of sensations. It could be feelings, emotions, aches, pains even thoughtforms and addictions like a craving for cigarettes and ice cream. Some are pleasant and some aren’t.
My experience is usually tingling sensations.
For myself, Vipassana is like a drug. “When I do the body scan from head to toe it feels like euphoric waves of blissful tingly sensations as I scan my entire body”. This is not Vipassana and is referred to as “chasing sensations”.
See, everyday in life we experience many different feeling, emotions, thoughts. For example maybe you are happy, sad, angry or your leg hurts. Everything that we experience typically shows up in the form of some sensation, Always.
All these sensations have one thing in common, “Their always changing”. The happiness or the grief never lasts for a very long time unless we obsess about it over and over.
In life, if we cling and become attached to these different sensations we are destined to be let down and get disappointed.
This is because everything in the universe is constantly changing, always in a state of flux and constant movement.
The moment that we start to chase these cravings or cling to certain feeling or emotional states we ultimately become disenchanted because they don’t last. They are always changing.
That’s why the goal of the practice of Vipassana is to remain balanced and tranquil no matter what the sensation or feeling is that you feel.
Essentially, you scan the body and move from point to point, while experiencing many different types of sensations and when you feel sensation you move on without attaching a storyline to a particular sensation.
The courses are 100% free and funded on the gift. This means that when you go they feed you, house you and present you the gift of one of the most powerful techniques that was ever formulated to help bring people out of their suffering. All for free.
If, however you would like to make a donation this will go towards provisions and supplies that will help to keep the facility going and to help offset the costs of the next wandering soul “like yourself” that comes in search of truth. Learn more at dhamma.org
Anytime Time Is Good For Meditation
Anytime is a good time to meditate. However it’s very beneficial to establish a time for your primary meditation practice and commit to it.
Practice anytime you have a free moment or two not just on your meditation cushion. This could be standing in line at the supermarket, watching the sunset or even talking to a friend.
Have you ever meditated before? Have you ever experienced any benefits from meditation?