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Archive for July, 2014

Preparation is the First Essential Step of Meditation

Setting the scene.
Put a small space aside in any room and keep that place for meditation practice.DSC_0117

A checklist for meditation could include the following
 Meditation cushions or stool,
 Special clothes or blanket,
 Candles,
 Incense,
 flowers
 Semi-precious stones.

Note to self

While it is good to have some of these items; as they remind the mind that something special is happening, it is not essential to the practise.
Alternatively you can carry a light bright shawl, candles and incense around with you like a mini-peaceful environment to use for your meditation practice.
Timing
Meditation is best when it is practiced in the morning and the evening. The advantage of the morning is that the mind is calm after a good night’s sleep. Evening meditation provides an opportunity to settle the mind down after the day. It allows the body to prepare for rest and a good night’s sleep

Note to self

As far as possible, try to avoid the risk of interruptions during a session, but if they do occur, attend to them giving your full and try to avoid annoyance towards those who caused the disturbance
Set a good  intention

It is a great  idea to start your day with Good Intention to Meditate.

And, the time will become available to you.

A Final Note to self

Let me tell you about three more important steps to consider, before  beginning the practice of meditation which are:
 Posture
 Breathing
 Mantras
And, I will cover them in the next post so as they say on the radio….stayed tuned!

Meditation – is it necessary or a waste of time?

Do you ever wonder about meditation?

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I mean what is it all about really?

Is all this sitting cross-legged in lotus position a waste of my valuable time?

Or could my miraculous search bring me to a realization that meditation is essential for a healthy stress free life not to mention a union with God?

Ok so here is the deal….

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions.
Do I  have difficulty concentrating?
Am I experiencing good health and vitality?
Am I exhausted by activity?
Do I  enjoy life?.
I am at peace with myself with people, animals and all things that share life with me?

And…

Do I believe that Meditation is …
Difficult?

Like falling asleep?

Dependent on specific postures?

A waste of my valuable time?

Korko says that mediation is not..

o   Like falling asleep;

o   Dependent upon specific postures;

o   A waste of  valuable time!!!!!!

Meditation is …

ü  Not the same as sleep, which is a passive activity

ü  Essential for life and vitality

ü  Requires commitment  and effort as settling into stillness can be challenging when the mind is running and racing in a thousand different directions.

ü  All about  practice, practice practice …3 or 4 times a day

ü  The most important posture for meditation is a straight unsupported back.

ü  Yoga-asana /special physical exercises, helps the mind and the body to remain straight erect and still for long periods of time, which is a prerequisite for   meditation.

Note to self

Bless you darling Korko, you can sit for hours meditating, because you have done it for years…

A well ..onward and upwards my friends…

On a much brighter note they say Deep Relaxation progressive Muscle Relaxation is a fantastic way to get the body ready for meditation.

Deep Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique

Assume a comfortable position, sitting on a soft chair or lying down. Either way, make sure your head is supported. It is a good idea to cover yourself with a warm blanket. It will help you to feel safe and secure and also keep you in a state of relaxation if your body temperature drops. This can happen when the pulse rate decreases and blood pressure falls in states of deep relaxation.

Loosen any tight garments; take off shoes, glasses, contact lenses, tight belts, and jewellery.

Decide not to worry about anything — give yourself permission to put aside the concerns of the day. If there is something bothering you, it is preferable to write it down before the relaxation exercise. It can be dealt with at a later time.

Start with breathing. Breathe in deeply and slowly. Imagine that you are breathing in good energy and light, which is soothing and healing to your body, and with every exhalation, you are letting go of tension tiredness and general aches and pains in your body.

When you are ready, allow yourself to concentrate on all the muscles in your body starting at your feet and moving up through your body one step at a time, each time tensing, holding and relaxing.

Bring your concentrate on your feet. Tighten your feet by curling your toes downwards. Hold for ten seconds and then quickly release and relax and on up through your body

Tighten  calf muscles hold and relax

Tighten  thighs, hold and relax

Tighten  buttocks, hold and relax

Tighten  spine, hold and relax

Next, bring your attention around to the front of your body, starting at the pelvis

Tighten  your pelvis  hold and relax

Tighten  lower abdomen hold and relax

Tighten  stomach, hold and relax

Tighten the muscles of your chest by taking in a deep breath. Hold for ten seconds and release slowly. Imagine the tension in your chest flowing away with every the exhalation you make.

Now, move your concentration to your shoulders. First, raise them as far as you can as if you were trying to touch your ears. Hold, tense, release, and relax.

Move your concentration towards your arms. Draw your forearms up towards your shoulders. Hold, tense, release, and relax. Extend your arms out straight, locking both elbows. Hold, tense, release, and relax. Then, tighten your  fists, hold and relax

Move your concentration to your neck. Rotate your head to the left and then to the right.

Finally, bring your attention to the head area.

Tighten your  forehead hold and relax

Shut and tighten your eyes, hold and relax

Draw your lips right back over your teeth as if you are growling Tighten   hold and relax

Stick out your tongue as far as you can try and reach your chin. Tighten , hold and relax

Before finishing the progressive muscle relaxation, allow yourself time to rest as you feel your body sinking deeper and deeper into the bed or chair on which you are resting, becoming more and more relaxed.

Stay in this relaxing state for some time and when feel ready, gradually come back by stretching out like a big Lazy cat.

Then draw your knees up slowly and bend them up towards your stomach, turn on your side, place your palm the ground for support and gently raise your body into the sitting position and slowly stand upright

 

 

I really want to understand what this Yoga is all about, Do you? .

Its 5.45am: Time for my miraculous search to reflect on   Personal Devotion or Sadhana.

Personal Sadhana or personal devotion is practiced from 5.45 until 7 am.

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The manner of devotion is left open, we can practice personal devotion or return to our rooms.

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I am deciding to stay around and see what happens. If I return to my room I will sleep and that is not an option right now, as I really want to understand what this  union with God /Yoga is all about .

So I stay in the church,  looking around for a clue as to what or how I could practice personal devotion.

I am very familiar with prayer and in times of crisis I find it very comforting. I suppose I like to ask God to do things for me my family and friends, which is kind of daft when you consider that ‘all my needs are met even before I ask for them’

I remember that Nama Japa  and the Figure of  Eight mindful walk  is recommended in the handout given to us  on arrival in Dhyana Vanem Ashram

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Nama japa  involves reciting  -over and over and over,  the name of Jesus as we breath in, and  Om* as we breath out, using the Mala or prayer beads to guide us.Such recitations repeated thousands of times, stills the chattering mind, opening  the heart to compassion, Love and eventually leading  to union with God.

Such union is known as known as Bhakti Yoga.

Note to self

I am  saying the Nama japa as I walk slowly and mindfully around and around  the Figure of Eight path in the early morning dawn.

It feels good to do it and it reminds  me of an exercise I did years ago to rid myself of unhealthy attachments.

It is spearheading my search for detachment which at 6.30 am in the morning seems to be an important quest for my soul in its search for the miraculous

 Another Note to self

*Japa yoga is repeating a mantra or repeating the name of God as a mantra (Nama-japa). Beads known as mala help with  practice of Nama japa.

* OM is defined by the Encarta dictionary asa sacred syllable that is chanted in Hindu and Buddhist prayers and mantras. It is symbolic of creation, destruction, and preservation, or of the primary trinities of Hinduism or Buddhism’. It is my understanding that Om is representational of the sacred breath/ the spirit  of God which gives life to all living things as described in the first book of Genesis.

‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth.2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved the waters.

 

 

The search for the miraculous continues with Common Meditation from 4.45 am until 5 45 am

The aim of Meditation, according to Korko  is to experience Dhyana yoga.

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Dhyana Yoga is union with God through concentration and silence; it is to bring the mind to one-pointed-ness through systematic meditation

Note to self,

Yup,  Korko’s prayer is definitely reassuring

I am rooted and grounded in the Lord. I am well protected; all my needs are met even before I ask for them’

 And,  Yup it sure is nice to know that there is a God out there looking after me.

However, it is still dark, My mind wanders ..my back aches..my feet are numb  …45 minutes is too long for someone as unfit as me !

A well at least I am trying  And, I am still a novice at  learning how to become…. 

In another note to self

Just in case you were wondering …

The Encarta Dictionary defines  Meditation as ‘A means of emptying the mind of thoughts, or the concentration of the mind on one thing, in order to aid mental or spiritual development, contemplation or relaxation.

Dhyana Vanem Ashram Silent retreat starts with early morning rising @ 3.45 am followed by yoga – asana

Dhyana Vanem Ashram Silent retreat starts with early morning rising @ 3.45 am followed by yoga – asana.

Dhyana Vanem Ashram Silent retreat starts with early morning rising @ 3.45 am followed by yoga – asana

IMG_1074At 3.45 am the alarm goes off. Instantly I rise thinking remaining in the horizontal position would return my body to peaceful slumber. So with firm resolved for my soul’s salvation I wash, drink loads of water and prepare for day.

Note to self,

It is very very very  dark outside  Are there any creepy crawlies in the dirt path as I walk with my torch to the chapel?  Oh well here goes… every journey begins with the first step as the cliché says!!

At 4.30 am sharp Korko begins our day with the practice of Hatha yoga.DSC_0809

 Korko describes Hatha Yoga or yoga-asana as special  physical exercises that helps the mind and the body to remain straight erect and still for long periods of time, which is a prerequisite for  meditation.

 Korko  finished the yoga -asana with a prayer that went something like this:DSC_0038

Become aware of your body, part by part from your head to feet;

How does your body feel today?

Is there any pain or discomfort in any part of the body?

Just become aware.

Become aware of the ground in which you stand; realize that you are standing on Mother Earth.

This Mother Earth is  providing  you with food, water and all your needs.

This Mother Earth is a symbol of the Lord, who holds you in the palm of His hands.

He is the rock, the most reliable one.

Tell yourself ‘I am rooted and grounded in the Lord. I am well protected; all my needs are met even before I ask for them’

Imagine Lord Jesus, the Guru before you,

 Greet the Lord,

Surrender yourself to the lord, body, mind, thinking, actions, words,

Surrender past, present, future and present concerns.

 Ask the Lord to take your hand and lead you in His path,

 That you may walk in His light and reach your destination

  Which is union with the Father

Note to self,

I absolutely love Hatha yoga, and Korko’s prayer is the icing on the cake! I just hope I got all the words absolutely right !!

By the time 4.45 comes around I am  able, willing and ready to start  Common Meditation.

 

On the road Again from Saccidananda to Dindigul.

On the road Again from Saccidananda to Dindigul..

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