I don’t know what to call this exactly. It’s a sort of a note, a sort of a lesson, a sort of a record and something unsorted as well. I just want to go over the steps of meditation, revising them from anything I have stated previously. However I have not personally tried these steps myself yet, so I will be leaving it to you to try them and see how they work for you. A book of interest, that has brought about this revisiting of the subject and taught me about this first step is, “The Infinite View” by Ellen Tadd.
Preparing for Meditation
At a set time each day get settled into a comfortable position you can hold of 15-30 minutes. No jewelry or tight clothes, completely naked if circumstances allow and you can trust yourself to separate nudity from sexual compulsions. Some of the best meditating I have done has been naked outside, feeling the sun and breeze on my skin. Also it is good for you to shed your self-consciousness about your body, which society forces on all of us. If you are self conscious about your physical form, how are you going to love and accept yourself as you are?
Some common positions include sitting in a chair, feet flat on the floor or ground, or loosely cross-legged on a chair, or in a classic lotus position, with your “feet in your lap, soles facing upward.”. Sit straight and tall, as if someone above you is pulling on a string attached to the middle of the top of your head. Shoulders relaxed, everything loose and relaxed on this erect framework of your spine. Yes, you can even lay down, but use something like a divan that keeps the upper part of your body elevated, in a place you would not normally fall asleep in.
Step 1 – Opening
According to Mrs/Ms Tadd, something left out of traditional meditation training is to think about something that inspires you. This could be music, art, going out in nature… Anything that will, “…cultivate an open, spacious sensation at the top of the head” or “… the sense of expansiveness.”
So something that makes you smile. Makes you feel good. It could be as simple as the feel of the sun or wind on your skin, or thinking of a particularity beautiful starry night you observed, or remembering the first time you held your newborn child – anything of this nature. This, according to Tadd, will open the Crown chakra, the upper part of the X she uses to illustrated the process of meditation.
When I attended the 10-day Vipassana “retreat” this was never taught as far as I can recall, or mentioned in any of their books. I am left wondering why this is left out. Tadd says it is a, “prerequisite to meditation” and it for reasons I do not understand, that feels right to me. In other words, it clicks, it makes sense.
Step 2 – Focusing
Now you focus on something, gently returning to it each time you notice you have wandered away from it. Be gentle and loving, as if you were training a beloved child. Tadd uses the mantra, “I Am Spirit, Everyone Is Spirit.” You could also use the classic, “I Am That I Am.” You can count form 1 to 10, then 10 back to one. You could focus on the breath moving across your upper lip as you breath in and out through your nose.
Breathe deep below your belly, as if you are breathing into your Dan Tien, Svadhishthana Chakra (AKA Second Chakra or Sacral Chakra), which is just above your groin, between your groin and your belly button. Same place you breathe into when properly singing. Breathing is allowed to occur as it occurs, it is not directed or forced. Your task is to merely observe the breath while remaining focused on whatever you have chose to use as a focus for your meditation. Initially you may not feel the air gently moving across your upper lip, just below your nostrils. But eventually you will become sensitive to this, to the movement of your breath.
Step 3 – Abide In Stillness
At some point you will find that you naturally return to your meditation focus, and that you can stay focused for longer periods of time. You will find you can access a sort of place of stillness, the middle of Tadd’s X. Again allowing and observing are key, no forcing or trying to make things happen. The final step is to rest here, for the duration of the rest of your meditation time. You will be filled with a sense of expansiveness or openness. According to Tadd, this is the upper part of the X, where you connect to, “…something larger than your individual self.”