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+ Who said Meditation is difficult?

Many people are put off by the classical perception of Meditation: sitting still for an extended time. They are missing its tremendous potential for relieving numerous problems of mind, body and relationships. Many years back, I stumbled upon the ‘counting breaths’ style of meditation and adapted it to suit a busy lifestyle. It pulled me out of crippling stress. Here is the essence of it.

Q: I can’t do meditation. My monkey mind wanders beyond my control.

A: This is like a 3 year old saying “What is the point in my going to school when I don’t know A,B, C or 1,2,3?’”. All the novice meditators begin with a wandering mind. It is not a big deal.  We begin training the mind in concentration. Our goal isn’t 100% focus.

Q: What is it?

A. Our goal is to increase the focusing let us say from 5% to 8% which means wandering decreases from 95% to 92%. As our practice continues, the focusing percentage gradually creeps up but the stress level slides down lot faster say from 8/10  to 6/10 which means a reduction of 25%. We become calmer and manage the stressful situations better. By the time your focusing increases to say 20%, you will feel a major improvement in your mind, body and relationships. This is a lifelong process of improvement that keeps on enhancing you happiness.

Q. This sounds good. But you know what, I can’t sit still even for a minute.

A. Not a problem. In this made-for-beginners’ style of meditation, initially, we practice only when cozily lying in the bed.

Q. What if I quickly fall asleep? My meditation will be a non-starter!

A. Relax! This style of meditation is an unconventional back door entry into the daunting house of meditation. Focusing on breathing keeps the thoughts out, calms the mind and relaxes the body. You will sleep effortlessly and enjoy better sleep. You will get hooked on this practice. It will become a permanent part of your daily routine.

Q. I can’t wait to do this meditation. How do I do it?

A. Here are the 1-2-3 steps.

1. Focus on your in-breath and out-breath. Count each breath to enhance the focus.

2. Soon the mind wanders. You will realize that your mind got diverted from breathing. Your meditation has not failed. Just for catching your mind wander, your meditation becomes half successful.

3. As soon as you catch your mind wander, quietly put it back on the job of counting the breaths. Every time you do this, your meditation becomes a complete success. Never mind if this is a cycle of few seconds.  Simply repeat these cycles of success any number of times. Feel tremendously empowered by having control over the unruly mind! Get into the game and it will build up strength on its own. No rules or restrictions to worry about. Does this make sense?

Sure! I can do this kind of meditation. Who said meditation is difficult?

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+ Mantras For A Cool Mind

Saying some of these unconventional mantras silently to myself at appropriate times keeps my mind cool. They are not arranged in any particular order.

  • Choices have consequences.
  • I honestly don’t know. It’s is OK to not know everything.
  • Let it be! Don’t fan the flames.
  • First, get the facts.
  • When faced with a crisis like situation, I ask myself two questions:

(a) What is the worst thing that can happen?
(b) What is it I have to do NOW?

Answering these two questions frees my frozen mind and enables me take the right actions (5).

  • Nobody asked me for my judgement.
  • Nobody asked for my opinion.
  • Let me keep my mouth shut.
  • Am I telling myself an ugly story? (1)
  • It is all “in here’ not “out there’ (2)
  • Not my problem. (6)
  • Let me mind my own business.
  • It is none of my business.
  • It is OK. Relax!
  • I may be right. Can I be kind?
  • This too shall pass. (3)
  • I can’t change others peoples’ behavior. I  can’t  even dream of changing their nature. But I have total control on ‘how I respond to their (crazy?) behavior’.
  • How can I blame an unhealthy person for his/her unhealthy behavior? And that includes acute and chronic Anger, Hatred, Jealousy, so on.
  • When I point one finger at anther person, I point three fingers at myself. (4)
  • I did a good job! I am proud of my self.
  • I forgive myself.

(1) Inspired by the book “Crucial conversations – tools for talking when the stakes are high” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzer).
Also see my related article “We don’t see the first parts of people’s lives” in my website

(2) “In here”: Whatever I am thinking is only in my mind. “Not out there”: Whatever I am thinking does not exist in real life.

(3) This too  shall pass – Article in my website

(4) Try this: Point only your index finger at anything before you. What did your fingers do to point the index finger at something? First, the other four fingers form a fist with the little, ring and middle fingers automatically pointing towards you and the thumb pointing the floor.

(5) This is the formula of my daughter Padma Sripada MD.

(6) Not my problem! – Article in my website

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Category: Relaxation to Meditation  Comments off