We live in a hectic and uncertain world, with violence and chaos surrounding us every minute of the day. We are getting busier and busier and being bombarded with commercialism and adverts from every angle. Just like many of us I have been looking for a way to break the constant information overload to help give my mind a chance to relax and after many years of studying and test trying the art of meditation by many of the religions like Budhism. I have found a simple six step formula that helps me to unleash the inner peace that really wishes to come out.
Find a cool quiet place
The first step in unleashing your inner peace is to find somewhere that will allow you to feel safe whilst meditating and undisturbed. Some of the sorts of places you might consider are sitting on the ground in the garden, near a river, or if you are like me and bound to the city, simply sitting in your lounge room will suffice. There are though a few key things that you must consider -
There should be little traffic noise
There is nothing worse than to just start meditating to hear the sound of the air brakes on a truck going off or an ambulance or police car going past.
Be Free From Distractions
When you first start meditating you will find it maybe difficult to get started but with a little practice, and that is the fun part, you will find over time that you will get better at it but in the early stages a little distraction from your children or noise can make it very difficult.
You Must Feel Safe
With todays society being the way that it is, you must have a sense of well being before starting your meditation. If you have a sense of insecurity you will find that it is very difficult to release your anxieties and most importantly your thoughts.
Most meditation periods usually will last around 20 minutes. When you first start off you may find that it takes a good 10 minutes to get to a point of being relaxed so make sure that you sit on a comfortable surface before starting the meditation process. I am a great believer in sitting on the floor however if you find it difficult to sit upright for any period of time, simply sit against the wall. Doing this can also help you with your sense of feeling safe. If you find it more comfortable sitting in a chair, try your meditation that way. I do not recommend sitting on a couch simply because you run the risk that you may fall asleep and whilst that is great before going to bed, it is not recommended as the outcome to the meditation process.
Use a Light Incense
Depending on where you are, you may find that a light incense will help you break through the barriers when you first start meditating. If you are like me and are constantly on the rush and stressed, when you first stop you might find that it is really difficult to focus on your meditation because of the buzz running through your blood so using a light incense like lavendar can certainly help.
You can purchase incense from any number of stores like chinese food stores, oriental food stores or even some of the mystics stores and there are certainly many places on the web where you can purchase a light incense. Be warned though that it is illegal in some countries to buy incense via mail order and more so only buy from a reputable dealer as you never know what you could be importing.
Put some quiet music on
The saying, "Music Soothes the Savage Beast" is never a more truer statement then when trying to find your inner world of peace. Playing some quiet music will certainly help soothe the buzz you have after a hard day but be very cautious on the type of music you choose. You need to ensure you choose music that will slow you down rather than increase your heart rate.
Many meditation gurus will recommend music like flowing water, a rushing stream or the sounds of the great outdoors, which will all certainly be suitable for this process but what I find the most useful is music from the Baroque period.
The music from this period has particular elements that make it suitable and more conjucent to helping you find that inner peace. Baroque music is built on 60 beats per minute, which funnily enough is the same as what our hearts should be doing. What some research has shown is that listening to music that has 60 beats per minute actually increases the alpha waves that cause calmness on both the left and right side of the brain. The outcome of this is that you will becom calm and relax, similar to if you whistled a tune. Research has also shown that this "alpha state" can help in your learning process, creativity and more importantly becoming more calm.
Focus on Your Breathing. Breath In and Out
Now that we have the elements we need to meditate, it is now time for you to try . My preferred way to sit when I meditate is to cross my legs and to place my hands on my knees with my open palms up. If you can not cross your legs simply sit with your legs layed out flat. If you are sitting in a chair, simply spread your leg apart a little and place your hands on your knees.
The next step in the path towards peaces is to close your eyes and to breath in deeply and then slowly exhail the air. You need to consistently repeat this process but whilst you are doing this, there are a few important things to remember. When you first start to meditate you will find that as you relax, the things that bothered you during the day will start to resurface and come to the forefront of your mind and we need to stop this during your meditation period because if you do not, you can end up being more stressed then when you started. Whilst you are breathing, simply look into the depths of the darkness and clear you mind.
If you are finding it difficult to let go, try this technique. Whilst breathing in slowly, concentrate in your minds eye on the number one and focus on the number as you exhail. Then as you take your second breath, change the number one to a number two and then focus on the number two and maintain that focus as you exhail. With each new breath, focus on the next number. However, if at any time your focus gets away from you and you start thinking about making dinner or what you are going to do tomorrow, then simply restart from the number one. You will find that after a while using this process will really help you to maintain that focus and start to bring out that inner peace a lot quicker.
If you are having difficulty sleeping I find that using the counting process and the breathing process really helps a lot. Once again it does take time to master the technique but the more you practice the better you will get at it.
Clear Your Mind
Once you have mastered the process of breathing and getting into a relaxed state, the next stage is to clear your mind. This can take a little bit of work and will take a while to conquer but when you do conquer it, you will really no what inner peace is. To clear your mind, you will simply not think of anything but just exhist. The key to clearing your mind is to focus on the space around you (whilst your eyes are closed) without thinking about a thing.
When you do this, an overwhelming sense of peace will come over your. You will find that the endorphins will give you a tingling feeling through out your body and you will be extremely calm. You will find as time goes on that you can in fact turn the tingling on at your own will but that comes with practice.
Feel the Rush of Peace
The Budhists talk of meditating to reach enlightenment and whilst it can take a life time or two to achieve that, I can certainly say that when you do get to that point where you have let go of your surroundings and you are at peace its certainly feels like a whole new world. At the very least, not being stressed and feeling that constant buzz caused by the pressures of our day-to-day lives, will certainly give you a new definition of normal.
When you feel that your time for meditation is over, slowly allow your mind to start to think. You will find that its actually a lot easier than you think. Then slowly open your eyes and become more aware of your surroundings. Give yourself a good five minutes before you rush to get up but when you do, you should feel a sense of calm and peace around your body, mind and soul.