No matter if you meditate for 5 or 25 minutes, some days are easy and some...not so much! That is the nature of the human mind and rather than fight it and become frustrated with it, we learn techniques to help us through those days of the crazy Monkey Mind.
According to Deepak Chopra (and I believe him - he's a pretty smart guy!!) these are the five main things that can happen during meditation:
1. We can experience thoughts.
2. We can mentally repeat the mantra.
3. We can have thoughts and repeat the mantra at the same time. If this happens to you, place greater attention on the mantra.
4. Our thoughts and the mantra can cancel eachother out, and we can slip into that place off stillness between our thoughts, the "GAP".
5. We can fall asleep. If you fall asleep, when you awaken and if time permits, allow yourself about 5 or 10 more minutes to complete your meditation.
Here's a lovely description by Chopra of what meditation actually is and does:
Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that's partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there's little space between every thought.
According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind – the mystery that some people call the spirit or God. We don't have to use those terms, but it's your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:
· It's a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.
· Everything is connected to everything else.
· It's a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.
· It is a place where there is something called the observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.
In meditation, we get into this space so we find infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That's what meditation is really about.
Isn't that just lovely? Are you ready to go to that space right now?? I'm going to provide you with both the Week 2 and Week 3 challenge and mantras since I will be away in Joshua Tree, CA at a yoga training from March 11-20.
Week 2 - Increase your meditation time to 10 minutes. Follow the same set up, and breath connection from week 1.
Om kriyam nahmah
(oh-m kree-yam nah-ma)
My actions are aligned with cosmic law.
This mantra's vibratory qualities resonate with the Law of Karma. The Law of Karma, or cause and effect, states that every action we take generates a force of energy that returns to us in kind - as we sow, so we reap. When we consciously choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.
You can read more about this Law in Deepak's book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. It is also a key theme in the book How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach.
Week 3: Increase your meditation time to 15 minutes. Again, follow same routine to get settled and grounded.
Om daksham namah
(oh-m dahk-shahm nah-ma)
My actions achieve maximal benefit with minimal effort
This mantra resonates with the principle of the Law of Least Effort which states that you can accomplish more by doing less if you are not wasting energy by struggling and straining.
Chopra says, "Nature is held together by the energy of love, and least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love. When your soul is your internal reference point, you can harness the power of love and use that energy creatively for healing, transformation, and evolution."
As you sit in meditation this week, focus on finding the least amount of effort in your seated posture. Perhaps try sitting on a folded blanket or pillow to raise the sit bones and allow more comfort in the hips. If you feel the need to wiggle or scratch an itch, do it, then quickly return your focus to the mantra and the breath. Breathe easily and effortlessly rather than trying to control or direct the breath.
Om Shanti!!! May your practice these next two weeks bring yo