And until you view it as such, it will continue to cause you suffering and unhappiness. Every dark cloud does have a silver lining, and if you look hard enough you’ll find one in this habitual situation too. However, to find that silver lining you must ask the right questions;
1. What can I learn from my addiction?
2. How can I grow from it?
The answers to these questions can be found in a place that is uncharted by most and is just waiting to be explored! It’s called your true self! One of the most frightening things for people to do is go within themselves and take a hard look at what’s in there! But, if you have the courage to look, what you’ll find is more wonderful than you can imagine! You see, the real you doesn’t consist of skin, hair, or bones. The real you is your higher consciousness or your soul. Your body is merely a wrapper or a package that’s on loan!! Think about it, isn’t everything on loan. Name one thing that can’t be changed, destroyed, or whisked away in the blink of an eye? You can’t. Everything of a tangible nature is subject to change. The only thing that is impervious to change is your true self. Therefore, the only way to empower yourself and bring peace and happiness to your life is by making contact with your higher consciousness. This is accomplished through the daily practice of meditation. Let me also clarify at this point that meditation is not a form of religion, nor does religion have to enter into this process at all. The purpose of meditation is self reflection and obtaining a higher state of consciousness that creates a different perception of the world and its inhabitants. In other words, when achieving a higher state of consciousness you will begin to view the connectedness of all people rather than a separation. I have included below a step by step instructional guide to assist you in your spiritual self reflection.
Meditation While the benefits of meditation are widely promoted as relaxation, stress relief, and improved health, the primary purpose for practicing it is to make contact with your higher consciousness. To be successful in this endeavor, you must learn to quiet your mind. It’s in the breathless silence that you will find what you’re searching for. Initially, the mind will resist shutting down. However, with some regular practice and persistence the mind will eventually respond. When this occurs the ego will take a back seat, and you will learn to listen to your inner guidance. Following the guidance of your higher consciousness will allow you to make decisions in your life that will create happiness, and cause you to view the world from a completely different perspective. All of a sudden, you will understand the universal connection that exists between us all. So if you want to achieve balance, true happiness, and lead a life that is full of meaning and purpose, learn to meditate!
Preparing for Meditation There are various ways to practice meditation, but the end result is what’s important and not the method. But before I outline the method that I prefer, let’s talk about preparation.
1. Choosing a quiet place to meditate. Choose a quiet place; one that you can make your own such as your bedroom or study. Make sure it is a place that will be free of any and all distractions that will allow you to devote at least 20 to 30 minutes, once to two times daily. The best times are in the morning just after rising and in the evening prior to sleep. To set the mood of your space you can utilize candles, aromas, or even meditation music.
2. Positioning of the body. When choosing a body position for meditating the most essential element is keeping the back or spine straight. Try to be comfortable and physically relaxed, and try to avoid moving too much. Generally speaking, most eastern philosophies teach meditation in a full lotus position. However, unless you practice yoga on a regular basis, or you are extremely flexible, this can be a difficult position to accomplish. Therefore, you may practice mediation in a half lotus position (seated on the floor with the legs lightly crossed), seated on a bench preferably without a back to rest, or lying down. Remember, the main objective is to keep the back straight and to be comfortable and relaxed. If you choose the lying position, your feet should be apart and your hands at your sides away from your body slightly. Your palms should be facing upward and your index finger and thumb should be touching at their tips, creating a conduit for the flow of universal life force or energy. Your mouth should open slightly and your tongue should be gently up against the roof of your mouth approximately one half inch behind your teeth. Your eyes should be relaxed and open just ever so slightly. If this is somewhat distracting at first you may close them completely. Should you choose the full lotus, half lotus position or a seated position, you may place your hands palms up on your knees. Otherwise, all of the previously outlined steps apply.
3. Breathing Breathing should be slow and controlled, involving the chest, diaphragm, and the abdominal area. As we age we tend to shorten the depth of our breath, only utilizing a small portion of our lung capacity. Therefore, the goal is to expand the use of your lung capacity in a slow relaxing process while avoiding labored and exaggerated breathing. Inhale through the nose drawing air into the abdomen, diaphragm, and then the chest. Exhale through the nostrils while lowering the abdomen, diaphragm, and finally the chest.
One important point; you should only practice the deep breathing above for approximately 10 full breaths, then slow the breathing in an effort to reach “breathless silence.” The breathing is meant to oxygenate the body, increase the flow of energy, and aid in relaxation. However, it will not assist you in reaching a higher state of consciousness because you must obtain breathless silence to do so!
How to Meditate After you have positioned your body begin to focus on your breathing. Do not attempt to force your breathing, and above all try not to become frustrated if you lose your focus. Once you have taken 10 full breaths, slow the breathing down while working toward a state of breathless silence. Do not have any expectations about the outcome of this process. Expect nothing and just be! Above all, do not become frustrated if you fail to empty your mind. You can not expect to shut down the mind in a matter of minutes when it has been working for a lifetime. With practice and persistence the mind will quiet. When you begin to successfully accomplish quieting the mind, you will notice sensations of weightlessness and tingling in the body. You may even begin to see various colors of the Chakras (7 energy centers of the body) in the location of the 6th chakra (minds eye), which is located between the brows. This is a sign that you have peeled back the layers of ego and are beginning to reach your higher consciousness. When you can hold the color violet of the Crown Chakra in your minds eye, this is proof that you have indeed made contact with your inner self!!
Note: If you find it difficult to locate the minds eye try briefly staring at a lit candle for several moments prior to meditating. This will help you fixate the position of the minds eye when closing your physical eyes. However, do not try to force the appearance of the third eye; instead let the minds eye draw you to it!
Meditation Blocks On occasion, some people experience difficulty connecting to their true self. When this occurs, more often than not, it is caused by an emotional block that prevents them from making the connection. What fears and insecurities are preventing you from discovering your true self? You truly do have nothing to fear but fear it self! What you will find inside will be more wonderful than you can imagine, but to get there you must be willing to set your fear aside and take a leap of faith. If you are having trouble letting go of your fears and insecurities, try the following visualization technique in your meditation practice;
Imagine that you are standing on the bank of a crystal blue river with your back turned to the water. Know in your heart and your mind that you will be taken care of. Let go of your worries, all of your thoughts, all of your problems, surrender your will, and fall backwards onto the river. Trust the river to take you wherever it chooses to, and know that the outcome will be wonderful. Just float on the water and be!
Finally, to be successful at meditation you must refrain from having any expectations. The changes that will occur will be of a subtle nature, and they will certainly not eclipse being struck by lightning or parting the Red Sea! The paradox of the situation is that if you expect nothing you will reap the benefits by leaps and bounds. So just let go and be!
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