Posted: Sep 12 2016
Understand your own mind, train it, employ effort to clear, calm and quiet it. Meditation is practice, the promotion of patience and relaxation. Build life force and inner space and the clarity of control regardless of what may happen externally. From vacillation to balance, meditation works to develop mental equilibrium so that the extremities of emotions, the discomfort and difficulties of our peripheral, cease to sway or suffocate us. Meditative practice spans centuries, cultures, and religions, with techniques and traditions differing from ethical discipline to physical postures to breath control and a single-pointedness of mind. Here the secular and the spiritual seek a similar peace: Liberation. Nirvana.
For this practice, choose a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. Most importantly, keep your back straight to prevent slouching, sluggishness, or sleepiness. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath, flowing naturally through your nostrils. No need to control or steady your breathing, just maintain an awareness of the sensation of air entering and leaving your nose. Concentrate on this flow only, and as the mind wanders return to breath until your thoughts dwell there.
Best practiced outdoors, this style of meditation requires that you set aside at least 20 minutes uncombined or confused with errands or exercise. Before you begin walking spend some time standing still, noticing first the sensations in your standing body. When you walk, do so at a relaxed, somewhat slowed but normal pace. Regard the internal (breath, joint and muscle movement, aches) not the external – (sights, sounds, separate paths). Feel your entire foot, exactly how it lifts and moves forward. Scan ankles, shins, calves, knees, thighs, hips, pelvis, back, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, and head, focusing only on these sensations. When tension in the body arises, or thoughts begin to scatter, let it all go.
As music induces trance and meditation, one’s consciousness expands. With a focus on sound vibration, this practice can incorporate chimes, harps, flutes, hang/ocean/shamanic drums, gongs, and crystal singing bowls. Lie down in a relaxation pose, close your eyes, focus on breath, and feel the sensation of waves and washes of sound over your body. Also known as “sound healing” or “sound baths,” this type of meditation works to bring about internal harmony, as it eases anxiety, depression, and, often, addiction.
Located in the Slates Hot Springs of Big Sur, California, this intentional community and retreat center is devoted to personal growth, yoga, ecology, Gestalt Practice, massage, and meditation. The goal: to fully realize what Huxley called “the human potentialities.” Workshops, conferences, work-study programs, and research are offered at the institute, a long-beloved New Age center for alternative mind-body therapies. Early leaders are mind-blowers too numerous to count – Ansel Adams, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Terence McKenna, Ray Bradbury, Joan Baez and Susan Sontag. At Esalen, educated yourself on the body, senses and emotions, as you flow through experience, expression and evaluation.