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Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditation - Twelve Principles

Learning to meditate is like learning how to bake your favorite cake. At first, you might have some difficulties and a lot of questions and even doubts. You might even end up with a cake that looks far too different from the one you expected. But as you continue to make more and more of the same cake, you will realize that there is a certain ease with the way you bake the cake. Later on, you would be baking your perfect cake without even realizing it because you are already used to it.

Meditation is basically the same thing. It might be difficult at the start and may even feel awkward but it gets easier and you will get the hang of it as you continue doing the practice.

Now, like baking, you need a recipe for Meditation. For that, we have Swami Vishnu-Devananda to thank for. He formulated the Twelve Principles of Meditation to help people understand the basic steps and stages of the practice.

Here are the Twelve Principles of Meditation:
  1. Set aside a special place for Meditation.
  2. Choose a time when your mind is free from everyday concerns.
  3. Using the same time and place each day, condition the mind to slow down more quickly.
  4. Sit with your back, neck, and head in a straight line, facing North or East.
  5. Instruct your mind to remain quiet for the duration of your session.
  6. Regulate your breathing – start with 5 minutes of deep breathing, then slow it down.
  7. Establish a rhythmic breathing pattern – inhaling then exhaling for about three seconds.
  8. At first, let your mind wander – it will only grow restless if you force it to concentrate.
  9. Now bring the mind to rest on the focal point of choice – either the Anja or the Anahata Chakra.
  10. Applying your chosen technique, hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.
  11. Meditation comes when you reach a state of pure thought, but still retain your awareness of duality.
  12. After long practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, the superconscious state, is attained.
Meditation doesn’t take much from you and it definitely doesn’t cost much. In fact, it might not cost you anything at all.

The place where you Meditate doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy. Just make sure that you are comfortable in that place and that you could practice without so much distraction. It would be nice to find a quiet corner in your house because the area where you Meditate would help you quiet your mind.

Of course, don’t Meditate during the middle of the day when you would have to work and deal with your everyday concerns. The ideal time is during dawn or dusk when the atmosphere is charged with spiritual energy.

The important thing is to make Meditation a habit in your daily life. When you practice on a regular basis, your mind responds to what you ask of it once you sit down. After some time, your mind will start to ask for this quiet time and Meditating would become perfectly natural for you.

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