Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Meditate: 5 Simple Steps

·      (1) Find a comfortable spot. This can be seated or walking.

·      (2) Choose a timer or meditation timing app.

·      (3) Decide if you would like to meditate on the three Dharma   Seals (i.e., impermanence, suffering, and not-self) or on an object.

o   If you select meditation on an object- set your timer and begin to focus on your object (e.g., candle, breath, mantra). As you notice your attention waver, with loving-kindness, bring it back to your object.

o   If you select the Dharma Seals, set your timer and notice your thoughts. One, observe that all things arise and pass away. Two, notice that life is inevitably painful and our reaction to life’s challenges is what adds suffering to pain. Three, notice that all of your thoughts, reactions, and ruminations are not you- you are more than that. You are the sum total of your choices.

·      (4) Ultimately you will notice that two things happen: (a) there are mental events (stimuli that enter through your cognitive self- thoughts, memories, and old feelings) and sense impressions (stimuli that enter through your senses- physiological self); and (b) your brain automatically labels stimuli (mental events and sense impressions) as pleasant, neutral or unpleasant.

·      (5) You then have a choice. You can return to presence and focus on your object or the Dharma Seals- or you can continue with the rumination (i.e., thinking, sensing, judging, thinking, sensing, judging, thinking, sensing, judging---- suffering).

That is essentially it.

There are more details and methods- of course.

Meditation is an opportunity to learn your reactions, limitations, and tendencies. Knowledge is power. So, meditation is empowering. Awareness opens the door to choice and practice gives us strength. Awareness, choice, and strength lead to growth.

Happy meditation and growth : ),

Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag

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