When you are aware that your mind wandered, your meditation is 50% successful. When you bring it back to your focal point, the breath, chant, or prayer,your meditation becomes 100% successful. Repeat this 100% success, over and over, enjoying its calming effect. You will feel the magic of meditation, in a few weeks. Walking on this new path is your life-long journey.
Every meditation practitioner has own model and rate of progress. As one model that yielded remarkable benefits for me over many years, I am sharing details of my mindbody practices. I started on this path as a novice when I was fifty six years old. I did not have a personal teacher. The process of meditation is seeping into my body and mind in all directions, like drops of oil spreading on a cloth. The cumulative benefits are more rewarding with every passing year. It has been a very slow process but I am not unhappy. No one was pushing me. I have been crawling slowly at my own happy pace. I feel confident that there is no chance of giving up or turning back.
My practice has been changing. The changes happened slowly, arising out of the original foundation practice described below. To give you the correct picture of my slow motion journey, I will not change the description of this foundation practice. I will post periodic updates at the end of respective sections.
My first step on this path was practicing ‘focusing on breathing’ when lying on the bed, eyes closed.
My next step was adding the practice of ’focusing on breathing’ anywhere and any place.
Due to this long preparation for about 2 years, I had a decent degree of mental concentration. Only then I started my practice of sitting meditation. More…
Benefits for the body
I have seen unbelievable flexibility in my originally stiff body. Sitting in the cross legged posture caused severe and at times, unbearable pains. I was able to bear the pains because they were gradually toning down and disappearing altogether, over the extended time of meditation. It was thrilling to see the pains disappear like that. More…
Benefits for the mind
Majority of my negative thoughts and attitudes changed gradually without my conscious intention. ’My unique mind’ which I thought was permanently etched in my brain, changed remarkably. More…
My stretching practices played a significant role in making my meditation possible and enjoyable. More…
I congratulate myself
One thing to be noted in this process is that there is no flavor of Religion, God or physical Guru. I picked up precious bits and pieces of ideas from many teachers’ books without rigidly following anyone’s teachings. I practiced loosely without discipline. I have been making gradual adjustments to my practices and trying out different combinations without inhibitions, not being part of any rigid system.
My philosophy has been to keep driving on the chosen path, at my own pace, waiting at the stop signs and red lights and following the detours. Had I waited for the popular or ideal way, I would have been thinking and thinking about many grand ideas and plans but never would have made a beginning on this path. I would have died regretting that I did not actually try anything.
I congratulate myself for pulling myself up, from the depth I was stuck. I am not interested in reaching any heights. What more can I expect, having started on this path at the late age of fifty six, at the baby level of ‘focusing on breathing’ lying on the bed? The progress made so far and whatever may happen in the rest of my life time, is enough for this birth!
This is not a boast but a factual sharing of my individual experience, for the benefit of those who wait for formal personal guidance, consistency and such ideal conditions, to make a beginning in meditation. Such an attitude sets up a beginner for life long failure. I believe it is better to take a few faltering steps, like a baby learning to walk. The baby will be happily running one day. It is better to be not a baby crawling on the floor all the life and regret I did not make an attempt to stand up and walk.
(Updated in June 2012)
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