Things to Prepare Before Starting the Meditation Session:
- A seat for meditation with the necessary amount of cushioning
- A mind free from expectation, worry, thought, tension, and excitement
- An initial ‘inner meditation object’ of choice to begin the meditation with (i.e. a sun, moon, star, ping pong ball, tennis ball) that can calm and focus the mind when meditating
- A short phrase or ‘mantra’ of choice (i.e. ‘Clear and bright, clear and bright, clear and bright’) to aid in stabilizing a wandering mind
- A resolution or prayer that can be recited once the meditation is over (i.e. to dedicate positive energy to others, to aid oneself with the various aspects of life, or develop a blueprint or plan for a better future)
Step 1: Sit comfortably
Start by adjusting your sitting position. If you sit on the floor, sit cross-legged, with right leg over the left, right hand over the left hand, palms up, with your right index finger gently touching your left thumb. Place both hands on your lap comfortably, your head and back erect. This sitting position is called the Peace Position.
If you feel uncomfortable in this position, you may adopt a looser variation of the peace position or sit on a chair or sofa. Adjust your position until you feel completely comfortable and so that the blood will circulate freely and you can breathe naturally.
Step 2: Close your eyes gently
Close your eyes slowly and comfortably, as if you are going to sleep. Do not squeeze your eyelids, and do not shut them forcefully. Close them slightly. Do not close them tightly. Sit with a faint smile on your face.
Step 3: Practice deep breathing
Next, take some deep breaths. Breathe in deeply until you feel the air pass into your lungs and reach the middle of your abdomen. Imagine that each cell in your body is taking in the full feeling of happiness and joyfulness. Then slowly breathe out through your nostrils. Breathe out all your worries, stress, tension and negative feelings. Breathe in happiness, breathe out worries. Breathe in joyfulness, breathe out stress.
Step 4: Adjust your mind by letting everything go
Let everything go. Take a moment to let go of all the responsibilities related to work, loved ones, family, study, and everything else. Let your mind be joyful, relaxed and free from all worry. Then, breathe normally.
Step 5: Relax every muscle in your body
Start to relax from the top of your head down to your forehead. Relax the muscles in your face, eyelids, neck, and muscles in your shoulders, arms, and down to the tips of your fingers. Relax the muscles of your back, your chest, your legs, and all the way down to the tips of your toes. Let every part of your body relax. Don’t let any part of your body contract, tighten or become tense.
Continue to relax until you feel that every part of your body, every cell in your body, is completely relaxed. You are now in a state of complete relaxation whereby you can feel an emptiness, transparency, and lightness. When you so relax your body, you may notice that your mind becoming more cheerful, clear, pure, and bright.
Step 6: Imagine you are sitting alone in a vast, open space or the beach
To help your mind be clear, pure, and free from all thoughts, imagine you are sitting alone in a vast, open space – one that is full of freedom and peacefulness as if you never had any attachment in life, never had any problems and never knew anyone before.
Step 7: Imagine your body is clear and empty
Step 8: Bring your mind to focus at the centre of your body
Now, slowly place your attention at the centre of your body, in the middle of your abdomen, two finger widths above the navel level. For new practitioners, do not worry too much about the exact point of centre of the body. Simply maintain your mind, softly and gently, somewhere comfortable the middle of your abdomen. One way to bring your mind to the centre of your body is by comparing it to the lightness and gentleness of a bird’s feather floating down from the sky and touching a calm water’s surface.
Step 9: Focus your mind at the centre of your body with a relaxed feeling
When you focus your mind at the centre of the body, maintain the feeling of relaxation in your body and mind continuously. When you are satisfied with your starting point, softly imagine a neutral object of your own choice so that the mind can have something to focus on and not wander. You could imagine a shining sun of any size that you like, bright like the midday sun but clean and soothing as moonlight. You can choose any object that you like as long as it makes you feel calm, pure, and content. Some people visualize candle flames, a crystal ball, or the moon.
To sustain the vision of your mental object at your centre, you need to know the method. Just relax and keep it simple. It should be as easy as imagining a football, a car, a house, or anything familiar. Do not force your mind to think of it, and do not ‘stare’ at it, because doing so just leads to tension and no progress. Gently let your object appear naturally and relax. It does not matter if the image is not clear. Be satisfied with however clear it is, letting it just exist and be still. Visualise the mental object continuously so that your mind wanders less. If you still tend to think about something else, you can maintain your stillness and concentration by mentally reciting a short, soothing phrase such as ‘clear and bright… clear and bright… clear and bright’. Imagine that the phrase emanates from your centre.
Step 10: maintain soft awareness of the centre of the body
Once your mind is completely still, there should be only the mental object appearing clearly at the centre of your body. If you experience this, you do not have to recite your soothing phrase any more. Let your awareness rest on the mental object gently and comfortably. Just be aware with a still mind, softly, gently, constantly, and continuously. Beyond this, there is nothing else that needs doing.
If you see or feel any experiences at the centre of your body that are different from the mental object that you originally started imagining, do not be excited. Be neutral to it. Observe the experiences that occur with a calm mind and remember to relax. Even while having a new or unexpected experience, your mind should be completely focused, pure, still, and feel contented. This moment is very important, so do not neglect it. Your role at this time is to be an observer, not a director. Just keep observing and relax.
If you relax and observe correctly, meditation will feel easy and comfortable. Your mind will then become still, easily and effortlessly. Do not analyse or comment on your inner experiences as they are happening, as this will make the good experiences will go away. Instead, follow the guidance already mentioned. Eventually, your mind will be refined and completely focused at the centre of the body. The mind will deepen, entering into clarity, purity, brightness, true happiness, and true inner knowledge. This is inner wisdom that lies within you and everyone else in this world. So enjoy your meditation one step at a time.
- Assume the “peace position” meditation posture on floor, chair, or sofa
- Close eyes gently
- Take some deep breaths
- Let go of everything
- Relax the entire body
- Imagine freely sitting alone in peace
- Imagine the body becoming clear and empty
- Place the consciousness comfortably at the central area of the body
- Focus the mind at the centre with the help of a mental object or mantra
- Observe the mental object and any inner experiences with neutrality and stillness