Most people feel meditation is difficult as the mind wanders. They don’t attempt it or try it and give up frustrated. I have a radically different view. See this post “Who said Meditation is difficult?”(1).
“When you become aware that your attention wandered away from your chosen target, may be the breath, a mantra , image or sound, your meditation is 50% successful. When you bring your attention back to your target, 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 a life-long journey.”
Every meditation practitioner follows 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 in the year 2000 when I was fifty six without the physical presence of a teacher.
The impact of meditation is very slowly seeping into my body, mind and relationships, like drops of oil spreading on a cloth.
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 journey in slow motion, I will not change the description of the foundation practice. I will post periodic updates at the end of respective sections.
I am happy to see that I have the power to keep on improving my mind, body and relationships without being pushed by anyone. The benefits are accumulating with every passing year adding to my motivation to continue my practices. I feel confident that there is no chance of giving it up and going back to my old stressful path.
My first step on this path was practicing ‘focusing on breathing’ when lying on the bed, eyes closed, on waking up and at bedtime. The next step was ‘focusing on breathing’ anywhere and anyplace. These led to my mind to seeking the breath as a sanctuary, whenever stressed, bored or idle.
Due to the above conditioning of my mind for about 2 years, I had a reasonable degree of mental concentration, good enough to begin my sitting meditation. More…
Benefits for the body
I have seen unbelievable flexibility in my originally stiff-as-a-stick 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 softening 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 or effort. My so called ‘Unique mind’ which I thought was permanently etched in my brain, changed remarkably. More…
The 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 for many years. I have been making gradual adjustments to my practices and trying out different combinations without inhibition, not being part of any school of thought or system.
My philosophy has been to keep driving on the chosen path, at my own pace, waiting at the stop signs and red lights, waiting out the traffic jams and following the detours. Had I waited for the popular or ideal way, I would have been still thinking about the grand practices but never would have made a beginning on this path. I would have died regretting that I did not even try meditation.
I congratulate myself for pulling myself up from the depths where I was stuck, suffering from unbearable stress. I am not interested in reaching any heights. Remember that I started on this path at the late age of fifty six, beginning with ‘focusing on breathing’ lying on the bed. I feel that the progress I have made so far and whatever may come in the rest of my life time, is enough for this life period!
Whatever I presented above is a factual sharing of my individual experience. It is for the benefit of those who may be waiting for formal personal guidance, regularity and such common perceptions, to make a beginning with meditation. Such an attitude sets up a beginner for failure because they are unrealistic and not applicable for majority of beginners. I believe it is better to take a few faltering steps, like a baby learning to walk. One day, the same baby will be happily running. It is better not to be a baby who is afraid of standing up and walking, content with crawling all her life, and at the fag end of life, regretting for not making an attempt to stand up and walk.
I hope the benefits I gained in spite of my unconventional beginning (Remember that I stared with ‘focusing on breathing’ while lying on the bed!) and the very slow but definite progress, inspires some people who might have been only thinking about meditation and waiting for the the text book style of practice. Start anyhow. You will find your own way! Where there is a will, a way is bound to open up. When the student is ready, the teacher appears out of nowhere, either in the form a book, web page, video clip, an article in a magazine, speech by a teacher or a personal guide. We can never predict which of them will come our way and when.
Related pages: Meditation – Books I like
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(Updated: August 2016)