We have gone over the basics of meditation from the Who, What, When, and How. You have learned a few basic exercises to get you started on this new journey. As you begin to practice more and more and add new elements to your practice, you will begin to see changes in your clarity, focus, emotional health, physical health, and so much more! You will begin to open up avenues that you never thought possible.
As long as you continue to devote the proper attitude, commitment, and discipline, you will start to realize your true potential and find that those things that have challenged and crippled you in your life will start to offer you little resistance going forward. To understand who you truly are is to know the entire universe around you!
Let’s recap some of the most important information…
Meditation is believed to be an ancient practice by religious people for religious people.
You don’t have to be religious or belong to any specific group or philosophy to benefit from meditation, every human being who has the physical and mental capability to perform meditation can and will benefit from it. It does not matter why you want to meditate, it matters that you learn good technique and practice consistently and faithfully.
Don’t start right out of the gate with a defeated attitude.
Attitude and positivity will get you halfway there. Do not allow yourself the excuses of “Not having enough time” or “I can’t sit still for a long time” or “I tried meditation once and it didn’t work”, etc. Your excuses come from you, and only you can change that. Do not allow yourself the room to give up or trip over obstacles. Roadblocks and obstacles will pop up from time to time, be determined to work through them every day!
Commit! Commit! Commit!
Start today, right now. Not next week, not next month, not after the New Year. You have to take the first step in order to move forward. This course offers you everything you need to get started today.
Finding the “Best” meditation
There is no one size fits all practice when it comes to meditation. The basics should be the same for everyone to get the maximum benefit, but when it comes to which style or which practice is best is up to each individual. We did our best to offer a few different types of practices that give you a good start. You will have to try as many as you need to in order to find what the “best” one is for you. Never stop looking for new ways to empower your life; this includes trying new ways to meditate. The end of this coursework is certainly not the end of the road for you and your meditation practice. Continue to reach out to those who can help you grow better and stronger in your practice and path. Continue to seek new knowledge and new ways to practice once you have gotten the basics down. Feel free to re-read this book as many times as you have to, to grow more confident in your practice. You got this, and we have your back! Each step you take is a step closer to self-mastery!
Ongoing Journal Exercise
- In your journal, continue to write your thoughts and feelings as you continue to practice Meditation on a daily basis. This is for you, to grow and strengthen your practice.
- Continue to write down in your journal your experiences with your meditation practice. Note what is working for you and what is not. Make notes on how and what you have had to change (if any) to make your experiences better with meditation.
Here is an optional meditation practice for your enjoyment.
Vedic and Yogic Meditations:
When many people think of meditation they think of someone sitting and intoning a mantra of some form. This type of meditation comes from the Vedic and Yogic Traditions. By focusing the mind on a single intoned word or combination of words or sounds we both focus ourselves into alignment with the intent of those words as well as hone our mind and being in a single direction. Depending on the tradition the mantra may be spoken, or simply thought, and focus on breathing control may be added. These vast arrays of meditative practices cover a lot of different purposes from healing to emotional wellness or even relieving past life karma.It is important to take a seated position with the spine erect and eyes closed for these meditations. A Mala, bead necklace, may be used to keep track of the number of repetitions done. Most classic methods use 108 beads. For our purposes, we are going to look at a few mantras that are fairly easy to use as well as providing a few ways to approach this.
Traditionally a Mala—which means “garland”—has 108 beads strung together and one “guru bead,” which is larger than the rest. The guru bead is used as a place marker for the fingers to feel for the end or the beginning of the necklace for meditation or mantra chanting. Sometimes there are special or different shaped beads placed after every 27th bead to make it easier to keep track of the mantra. You’ll often also find bracelets and decorative necklaces with 54 or 27 beads, half and a quarter of the 108 respectively. Nowadays, Malas are made out of a variety of materials including wood, seeds, stones, pearls, and crystals.
A common way to use the Mala is to track a “Japa,” or mantra meditation. The repetitive recitation of a single sound, such as “om,” a few words, such as “om mani Padme hum,” or a longer mantra, such as the Gayatri Mantra, can be calming and transformative. Whether you’re chanting out loud, whispering, or repeating a phrase silently, tracing the beads of the mala with your fingers can help you keep track of the Japa. “Japa” translates to “muttering” in Sanskrit.
Similar to praying with rosary beads, meditating with a Japa mala has been shown to help slow respiration and encourage well-being. Repeating the mantra of your choosing redirects the mind from daily obsessions and introduces positive thought patterns. Similar devices have been used for generations in a variety of spiritual traditions including:Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, and, Islam
Many Yogic practitioners make their own set of Mala to personalize the practice and experience. There are many resources on the web that has instructions on constructing your very own set.
Practical Meditation Exercise: Mantra
Below are common and easy to use Mantras to practice a Yogic meditation. Spend some time learning the words and pronunciations to maximize your practice. You should spend at least 3 weeks practicing this exercise. By the third week of practice, you should have a good idea of what mantras fit your needs best. For this first week, practice sounding out the mantras and incorporating them into a meditation. Practice for a 108 count for each chosen mantra using a Mala or other makeshift counting method.
Om – Considered as the first sound in the universe, and is useful for connecting to the higher power. Pronounced: Aum.
Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ – Means “Om, peace peace” and is useful for bringing peace. Pronounced: Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti.
Om Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram – Often used by Mahatma Gandhi, meant to bring one closer to the divine. Some claim it is used for connecting to the God Ram, but most consider Ram to mean simply the highest divine. Pronounced: Aum Shree Rahm Jay Rahm Jay Jay Rahm
Om Mani Padme Hum – Focusing on the Six Perfections in Buddhism it is calling upon generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, renunciation, and wisdom. It is useful for bringing peace of mind, focus, clarity, and clearing out negative energies. Pronounced: Ohm(or Aum) Mani Pad may Whom
Fé, Vit, Friðr, Grið, Heill – Galdr Norse song, meant to be chanted to bring the keys of happiness. It is useful for focusing one’s energy to bring forth wealth, wisdom, harmony, security, and health as the meanings of the words. Pronounced: Fay, Veet, Freeth, Greeth, Hayl
Maranatha – Can mean “Come Lord” as mara-natha or “The Lord is Here” as Maran-atha. It is a Christian Yogic Mantra. It is useful for connecting to a Christian concept of God or The Divine or good as a Christian meditation. Pronounced: A is pronounced as in “car” – Ma Ra Na Tha
For any of the mantras chosen, we recommend you try them in the following ways:
- All of these are to be done from a seated, comfortable, upright position.
- For Mantras focusing on the breath a long syllable mantra such as “Om” that can be held tend to work best but stretching out the syllables of a longer mantra as needed can work as well.
- Silent, focusing on the breath but not changing breath.
- Whispered/spoken, focusing on the sound and resonance.
- Silent, deep breaths, focusing on the mantra during the in-breath, silence on the out-breath.
- Silent, deep breaths, focusing on the mantra during the out-breath, silence of the mind on the in-breath.
- Silent, deep breaths, focusing on the mantra during the in-and out-breath.
- Silent, deep breaths, focusing on the mantra during a small pause between breaths.
- Whispered/spoken, deep breaths, focusing on the mantra during the out-breath.
Yogic Meditation Journal Exercise
- Contemplate the following in your journal.
- Have you ever used mantras before now?
- Do you notice any differences in your body and energy while using mantras?
- By the end of your 3 weeks of practice, how proficient have you become with these simple mantras?
Take this time to write some private notes and reflections for you about your experiences up to this point.
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