Tips for going deeper in meditation. Pratyahara. Turning inward.
TIPS FOR GOING DEEPER IN MEDITATION. PRATYAHARA. TURNING INWARD.
Before true meditation can happen, we need to be able to calm the mind in order to turn inward. This inward turning, where you cut off the senses & hence the outside world, is known as Pratyahara in yoga. Most people struggle to do this, and hence are unable to truly meditate, unable to penetrate the layers that cover the deepest part of their being.
In this short teaching, I’m going to share with you the key aspects that block our turning inward & effective methods to reduce your mental so that you can consistently access the ocean of peace within you.
We will speak about 5 concepts.
- Stagnant energy
When there is stagnant energy in the body, it blocks us from penetrating into the deeper layers of our being. Stagnant energy comes from a stagnant lifestyle, which includes not getting enough exercise, too much junk food in the diet, and not having a positive outlet for our stored emotions.
To get rid of stagnant energy, make sure you get some exercise daily. Break a sweat. Relaxed yoga is great. And for a small explosive element, Even 10–15 minutes of running, skipping or dancing is good.
We want to keep a check on how stimulated we are. The more stimulated we are, the less relaxed we are, and the less we’re able to enter deep meditative states. Most of the work when we sit to meditate is reducing the volume of scattered thoughts in the mind. The more stimulated we are, the more the scattered thoughts. Everyday activities that are stimulating include talking a lot, idle chit chat, looking at a laptop, tv or phone screen for many hours, and also cigarettes, coffee and very spicy foods.
To reduce your stimulation, reduce your screen time, and try to spend less time talking, especially idle chit chat.
Posture is one of the most important aspects of meditation. And there is an easy way to get it right. When you sit, you must sit like a Buddha.
The idea here is that when you sit, you don’t sit to rush into meditation. You don’t try to hurry up. You don’t try, to get on with it. You sit, as if it is the only thing you are here to do. You sit as if someone has told you that once you sit, you cannot get up for 24 hours. You have to be AS comfortable as you possibbly can.
Put as many pillow as you need under your buttocks, to elevate them, and naturally straighten the back. Or if you like, sit on a chair. Next, you gently rock your upper body from side to side, gradually rocking less and less till you find your centre. Then, you rock backward and forward, to find your centre. When you find your centre, you will know. You will be really comfortable. Your back will be naturally straight and at ease. You can clasp your hands together, however feels most comfortable.
Just sitting in this way, is very soothing. Very relaxing. It feels like there is nothing more to be done. Nowhere to go. All you must do now is to sit. To enjoy sitting. To sit, as if the buddha is sitting within you.
4. Turning inward — breath.
Once you have sat properly, half the work is done. Now, you can bring your attention to your breath. To reduce the volume of thoughts in your mind, and also to release some of the stagnant energy, we can take the help of the breath.
Spend 5–10 minutes breathing deeply through the belly. When you inhale, your belly goes out, and when you exhale — your belly goes in. You breathe in through the nose, and blow out through the mouth, with pursed lips. That’s when your mouth looks like you’re going to whistle, and you breathe out.
You can do this for as long as you like. It is very soothing to your mind, your lungs, and your inner organs. They will feel calm. They will feel at ease. Your body will tell you when it’s enough, but as a general rule 20 long breaths like this will be enough.
That’s it. From here, you can just be. You can stay with your breath, mindfully. And allow the natural process to take over from here. Ultimately, you will reach your inner silence.
5. Last but not least, Be consistent.
Consistency in meditation is the most important thing. In India, people need to clean their home daily. Even missing one day accumulates a lot of dirt and dust from outside. The same is with your mind. Every day we pile on new clutter in the form of new thoughts, emotions, worries, fears, experiences — and meditation is the cleaning. Missing a day of meditation means that you will have to clean double tomorrow. This dirt, this mental clutter, is what blocks us from seeing our true nature, the ocean of peace that resides within. So be consistent in your meditation. Never miss a day and soon your mind will be as clear as a still lake, reflecting the beauty of the mountains surrounding it.
To summarise, the 5 points were:
- Stagnant energy — get rid of it by getting some daily exercise.
- Stimulation — reduce stimulation through less screen time and less talking.
- Posture — when you sit, sit like a Buddha.
- Breath — Practice pursed lip breathing 20 times before watching the breath.
- Be consistent.