Good morning. Are you ready to discuss liberation?
Last week we spoke of balance, about Maya, about discovering how to perceive things in a way so that your spiritual practices expanded into every part of your life.
Today I would like to speak some of the "work" involved in our meditation practice. Of course, I welcome any questions or comments you have.
The work. I have been encouraging you to approach your meditation practice so that it is pleasant and easy for you, so that when meditation comes to mind you feel good about it rather than discouraged. For instance, commit to something totally manageable like 1 minute twice a day (not that you are to limit yourself to 1 minute, but never miss that 1 minute - AT LEAST 1 minute. This is manageable, a commitment you can make and keep in the face of whatever challenges come up. This way meditation won't have you viewing your self as a failure - which can happen if you commit to something that you can't fulfill.
This is part of making your practice a true discipline, something you do every day no matter what. Last week I asked you to broaden your perspective to acknowledge lots of your activities as part of your practice, rather then limiting it to only those moments when you are sitting at your altar.
Discipline is so important and useful. In the Hindu tradition there is an approach to the Divine by worshiping God in the form of Siva, the Destroyer, the King of the Divine Dance, the Lord of the Universe. Siva's vehicle to get places is a bull called Nandi. I mention this because Nandi represents discipline. The Lord of the Universe gets places using discipline. We, too, can use this powerful mode of transportation to take us where we'd like to go.
Dear Buddy, you have a question about setting up a useful order for your practice. Here is what I find most useful, and I know it is also recommended by others, too... If you are practicing early in the morning, do just a little stretching to get the body freed up so that it can settle comfortably. Get the body comfortably settled. Light some incense if you enjoy that. This will tickle your senses and draw your mind into that meditative state (if you regularly use incense). I like to ring a bell to refresh the vibration of the space and to break up the mental patterns that I arrived with. I next use a singing bowl. One gong, and as I listen to it I find my mind moving inward, my body getting calm and still. This is a good point for a few prayers to acknowledge the Divine and your teachers, asking for guidance, protection and simply to move your mental attention to think of such beauty. Next is time for some pranayama. It is very useful to do some pranayama before focusing on your object of meditation. The pranayama can also help to clear the mind, bring it into clear state. It will also give you the energy that is needed to focus your mind. And now settle into your practice... mantra japa, tratak, mindful witnessing, or whatever you've made the focus of your meditation.
Be steady with that for a while. Your experience may be easy or challenging. It may be full of wonders or rather dry. Just focus and keep the mind engaged in what you've chosen. It may feel like work, but your getting ready like this can move you into a satwic place Then it may be effortless. Accept it in any way that it comes to you this time. Enjoy it. Yes, even those dry and challenging times can be enjoyed if you understand them as something serving to shape you perfectly. Having challenges is actually fun.
I hope this is useful.