What is Meditation?
The first part of meditation is a practice of finding comfort and ease in your physical body and your breath so that the parasympathetic part of the central nervous system can activate. The parasympathetic system is the system that says "you are safe, you can relax and breath fully". This is opposed to the sympathetic system that says "danger, danger, be ready to fight or flight". When someone is having anxiety, Their fight or flight system is activated and will stay activated as long as they are shallow breathing and muscles are not relaxed. Once the body begins to relax through effort and the breath begins to deepen, one can move into the rest and relax mode. This effort will begin to be less and less each time you sit to meditate. Meditation is a practice. And relaxing in your own body is the key to Santosha and happiness.
Then when the body has become quiet and content, the mind will find quietness and you will be able to move into the more subtle states of the mind or the more subtle states of consciousness. When this happens, it is as if you can see the mind from a distance and see all the layers of the mind from the most gross thoughts to the most subtle hint of cosmic consciousness. When you are aware of the mind doing mind stuff (thinking, judging, story telling) you begin to see where your thoughts and actions are derived from (past experiences, TV, stimulants) and how those thoughts and actions want to define who you are. When a person can move into more subtle states of consciousness, one can relate to these subtle states more closely as really who we are rather than connecting to the thoughts as who we are.
Meditation is a state in which the mind is aware of the ego and thus can distinguish the ego from the real self. The ego is the part of self that makes up your personality. It is derived by what we are here to learn in this lifetime but it is also derived and driven by your patterns formed throughout your life, your past experiences and the thoughts you choose to hang onto. Even a constant steady dose of media can shape your personality and ego. Your ego can drive your addictions and your addictions become part of your ego. What if you could become aware that your ego was separate from who you really are. And therefore if you can see it out there, you could choose what parts of the ego truly served you and your spiritual maturity and see which parts that do not serve you. Would it eventually lead to better choices and decision making?
Meditation erases the grooves of the mind. "I am not good enough, I am not good enough, I am not good enough.' It is a mantra. Thinking it over and over puts a groove in your mind. Like a deer path in the woods. The more deer that take the same path through the woods, then the path becomes a rut. Once there is a rut, more and more deer will take the same path. The more ruts you have in your mind the more the mind keeps going back to the same thoughts that got you in the rut. A consistent meditation will help erase those ruts so that the mind gets to think a new thought. "Oh, I am just a fine person, it was my mind that thought I wasn't good enough! Hooray, I am free!"
How does meditation help with addictions and allow Santosha into your life?
'When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be' ~ Lao Tzu
How to use this page: There are several guided meditations below. Each one has the technique in written form and in most of them there is a recorded guided practice also. The recorded guided practices guide you into the meditation and then concludes without a verbal ending so that the participant can end whenever they wish.
How to end a meditation: It is nice to bring yourself out of meditation slowly and intentionally by just bringing your awareness back to the body with a couple deep breaths. And then just as you would wish a person farewell and thank them for their kindness before parting from them, you could end your meditation with some kind of simple salutation. It could be as simple as Namaste or Om shanti. You could give thanks for the insights and clarity that your meditation brought to you. The point is try to move slowly from one conscious state back to the physical world and to do so with ritual or intentional action. This way you can gently bring your meditation life into your daily living life. That is important and that is the goal! My Spiritual teacher, Goswami Kriyananda would say "All Life is sacred." It is not good enough to sit in calm on the meditation cushion and then go out and cuss at your neighbor. The goal of meditation is to find tranquility and happiness in your meditation, then in your daily living and then go share that happiness to others just by being you!!
Santosha Recovery Meditations
The Chakra meditation takes you on a journey through your chakras and gives light to the nature and element of each chakra. Just sit in a comfortable seat or laying down with your spine aligned. Move through your chakras, starting at the base of the spine and up to the intuitive center. Rest your awareness at each chakra or as long as you like and begin to feel the energy of the chakra. Notice if any symbols arise or any thoughts arise. Be curious about what arises but not judgmental. There is no right or wrong. If what arises takes you into a story or monkey mind, when you notice that just gently pull yourself back to the breath and to your chakra center. If a thought keeps coming up or a strong emotion, make a mental note to reflect on that at some point. End with a few Kriya Rotations. Om Shanti
The Object of Beauty Meditation is one of the techniques to bring more Prana into the body. It is a beautiful meditation. Sit or lay in comfortable position. Begin by becoming aware of the breath moving through you. Then let an image appear at the intuitive or sun center of an object that is beautiful to you and brings you joy. Locate that feeling state of joy in your body and let it expand. Let it expand and deepen and then see if you can let go of the object that got you that feeling state and just meditate on the feeling state. When you lose the feeling state, just bring into the minds eye the object to again gather and enjoy the feeling state!
From here you could let that feeling state expand everywhere in the body, or you could direct the feeling state of joy to a place in your body that is hurting or weak. This would be expanding the prana in the body. You could also send that joyful energy outward to someone in need or to your community. With this last technique, knowing that this joy and lifeforce is a constant source available to you.
Namaste. Thanks for sharing your vibration!
Healing Waterfall of Light Meditation
The healing waterfall of light Meditation was introduced to me by Swami Pranananda from my Seminary studies and is a great meditation to do when you feel the need for healing but also when you feel that the body, mind and spirit can benefit from clearing or healing. The recording only, as a guided meditation, will be provided as to get the full benefit of the healing. Let the hurt be healed, let the karma be dissolved. Om Shanti!
Vipassana Meditation: Vipassana means to see things as they really are. Sitting in a comfortable position so that your body is happy and you can move your awareness inward, begin to watch the breath move through you. Notice that the body expands and contracts on its own with the movement of the breath. Feel the movement of the body as the breath comes into the body and then moves out of the body. Start to notice that the person that is aware of your body breathing is a more subtle being than the person that is moving, expanding and contracting, with the breath. While you are watching the breath, thoughts will come into your consciousness. Can you see these thoughts as passing clouds in a clear blue sky allowing them to pass on through your consciousness without attaching to them? Vipassana involves observing your thoughts and emotions as they are, without judging or dwelling on them. But the untrained mind will do just that. Stories will come up, judgment and then more stories. When you become aware that you have moved away from the meditation and moved into the storyline, mentally say neti, neti, neti which means 'I am not thought, I am not thought, thought is not me.' Then move your awareness back to the breath moving through your body. This is going to happen a lot at first but each time you say neti, neti, neti and bring the mind back to the body breathing, the mind learns to quiet. Try not to get discouraged. It takes practice, practice, practice, to train the mind. The rewards will be forever fulfilling! When the mind becomes quiet, you can see more clearly. You can see life as it really is and not from a constant wave of thought patterns. When you are ready to come out of meditation, bring your awareness back to the room you are in and have acknowledgement of the goodness of the practice.
Ritual of Transformation Meditation
What is not serving your happiness in this life now? In this meditation you are gently guided to let go of what is not serving you and bring in the energy that can help you find happiness and contentedness. You can begin this meditation seated or laying down but like all meditations, spine in alignment and breath easy and effortless. So finding your comfortable position, begin by bringing your awareness to the breath moving through you. Then draw your energies inward and upward. You can pull the energies in from the limbs to the center of the body, then draw those energies into the center of the spine. Continue by moving the energies from the base up the spine upward until you have all your energies and awareness up to the sun center or the Ajna chakra. Hold your awareness at the sun center. Now bring to mind that which you want to release from your personality of your state of being. Give it a symbol. Bring to the minds eye that which you want to bring into your personality or your life and give that a symbol. With your awareness still at the sun center, see the symbol that you wish to let go of for this meditation. At each exhalation allow that symbol to leave the sun center and move away from the body at a 45 degree angle. This could take a few minutes. As it moves away from you it gets smaller and smaller until it is a tiny piece of dust far far away, and then it disappears completely. Then begin to see in that same distance, another speck of light and on each inhalation this speck of light draws toward you, allow it to get bigger with each breath, eventually seeing the symbol of that which you want to draw into your personality or your life. Allow each inhalation to accept this symbol and the energy that this symbol stands for as it moves toward your sun center. And then allow that energy to come into the sun center. Ahhhhhh! Feel you now have what you need to become more happy and free! Om Tat Sat Om