Thinking and meditating are two totally different things. The aim of meditation, Sri Chinmoy says, is to free ourselves from all thought. Unfortunately, the endless flow of thoughts through the mind is the major barrier that beginners encounter in meditation. It seems the more you try to reduce the volume of thoughts, the more they turn into a real onslaught. Don’t despair! With practice, you can empty your mind of all thoughts. Once you empty your mind, then you will experience the fulness of meditation-silence. So don’t give up before trying at least one of the exercises below.
Sri Chinmoy advises that you can deal with thoughts in three different ways. Over a period of several meditation sessions, you may wish to try all three ways before you decide which one is best for you.
Many people want to know how they can meditate when they are very stressed or exhausted. The key is simple: slow, regular breathing has a calming effect upon the mind.
Try this easy breathing exercise for stress relief.
- Step 1: Don’t think of meditation right now. To go directly from a state of stress or exhaustion to a state of meditation and inner peace is too big a jump. If you try to force meditation at this point, you may only end up even more stressed! Certain preliminaries are necessary before you are ready to begin meditating.
- Step 2: Meditation is best done in a sitting position.
- Step 3: Breathe in as slowly as possible. Sri Chinmoy continues, “While breathing, you have to feel that peace has descended and entered into your mind. From head to foot it is going. Feel that all the nerves are getting nourishment. Breathe as slowly and as quietly as possible, so that even if you put a thread right in front of your nose, the thread will not move to and fro. If the thread moves this side and that side, it means you are not breathing slowly and quietly. You can use the thread to examine your breathing. If it does not move, that means your breathing is correct.”
- Step 4: Feel that peace is percolating inside your entire body.
- Step 5: After five minutes, you will be ready to sit up and begin your meditation. You will feel renewed energy, mental clarity and inner peace.
Mantras – AUM
The seed sound of the universe. It is said that from this sound the universe came into existence. The most powerful of all mantras is AUM. Each portion of AUM represents a different aspect of the Supreme. The ‘A’ represents and embodies the consciousness of God the Creator, the ‘U’ embodies the consciousness of God the Preserver and the ‘M’ embodies the consciousness of God the Transformer. Taken together , AUM is the spontaneous cosmic rhythm with which God embraces the universe.
When chanting aloud, the ‘M’ sound should be three times as long as the ‘AU’ sound.
AUM is not the only mantra however. Many people use other words such as Shanti – which means peace or just the word Peace can be used. Any word or short phrase, which invokes the feeling of peace and tranquility, may be used.
Chanting aloud is best as you will feel the reverberation throughout your being.