A Day Of Appreciation

Flowers-Sukha-Yoga

Think of God first before you start. Inhale fully and offer your practice to the blissful Self within you. When the practice gets difficult, seek inspiration from God. The more your mind is fixed on God or the Self within, the more inner strength and energy you will acquire. 

Developing Dharana
  1. Relax the mind and body. The less tension there is in the mind and body, the easier it is for the mind to focus its attention. Do your mediation around the same time daily and allow ample time for the whole process from preparation to finish. Select a posture where you are likely to comfortably hold for the whole duration of your dharana practice. Most pranayamas are preferably done sitting. The spine is our bodies’ connection to the mind, so make sure to keep the spine open. The pranic force would not be able to flow freely to the brain if the spine is blocked. 
  2. Practise in an ambient environment. The brain produces calming and relaxing brainwaves (alpha) when it is placed in a warm, quiet and lightly dimmed environment. Remove all distractions so you can focus on the practice only. Switch off all electronic devices. Prepare the necessary props needed like blankets, cushions, bolsters, head cover, eye patches. Make sure that the body is warm. It would also help to lightly dim the room. Keep the volume low if you are playing music to guide your pranayama. 
  3. Still the body and mind. The mind would not be able to move if the body is stiff and heavy. Thus we need to train the body to withstand the challenges of meditating. The solution is simple; yoga asanas. Unless the body is strong, the mind would find it really challenging to concentrate. Even in the savasana, we must have that inner core awareness in order to meditate without easily falling asleep. 
  4. Develop a light, free-flowing and calm breathing. This is so easy to attain especially after the pranayama. The breath will just steadily flow in a relaxed pattern as the nadis and the chakras of the energetic and astral systems have been made open and purified by the practice of pranayama. The practice of pranayama brings calmness and equilibrium to the mind, enabling it to concentrate without distraction. 
  5. Set goals, not expectations. Remember that dharana has nothing to do with achieving a mundane goal, so there is no practical immediacy, there is no deadline, no effort. There is a willingness rather than an ego-motivated will that starts operating.

Spent all morning outside today. Coffee, pudding and nature. It is so nourishing to see colours, breathe fresh air and look through the lens again. Merry Christmas!

Think of God Always

  1. Let the love for meditating grow organically. What is the use of meditating if we cannot feel any benefit from it? The gains from meditating create more interest and willingness. Meditating, if done hastily and rigidly could lead to more stress and tension. Acknowledge the current stage of your practice. It is a progressive journey. Do not force advanced meditation to happen. Just by listening to the musical guide over and over again without doing the technique is so helpful in developing the interest to meditate. Interest promotes attention. The mind will likely to focus longer on a subject it finds pleasing. 
  2. Have a spiritual guide and look after your health. Cultivate discipline and routine. They help to bring calm and stability to mind and emotions. Exercise regularly. Movements especially yoga asanas help keep the body healthy and away from diseases. This includes pranayama. Pay attention to basic needs such as sleep, diet and hydration. Be sure to get enough sleep and make thoughtful choices of the food you eat. Relax. Unite with nature. Do things that make you happy. Make small changes. Cultivate an attitude that reverses unhealthy behaviours. Work with a health practitioner. Seek spiritual guidance. 
  3. Focus on one method at a time and always think of God first. Let one method grow fully first before moving on to another element. Be patient. This is applicable not only in meditation but also in asanas. Start from the ground up. In meditation, this means practising the simplest method. The Kundalini starts as a tiny sensation from the very core of the hips. All bigger realisations sprout from this seed sensation (bij). You do not have to plan the future actually for it will lead you there. This seed will grow branches until you can gracefully experience God which is within. Appreciating life and understanding it is so meaningful from here. Think of God first before you start. Inhale fully and offer your practice to the blissful Self within you. When the practice gets difficult, seek inspiration from God. The more your mind is fixed on God or the Self within, the more inner strength and energy you will acquire. 

The Power Of Silence

  1. Practice SILENCE. It is so amazing how practising silence aids in building Dharana. I first felt the Kundalini not during the practice but while I was sitting, doing nothing! I was blankly staring outside and it happened. Silence Awakens! My first samadhi was the same. Start small, practise silence for 30 minutes a day and gradually build to two hours daily. Advanced techniques involve seclusion for two to three hours daily; practising pranayama; promoting mental clarity; energy-preservation; increasing the time sitting in meditation; writing journals, and reading scriptures.
  2. Time goes by so fast when we are in deep concentration. When I am writing or practising, I am so attuned and inspired by it that I would only realise the time when I look at the clock. Dharana is when there is no sense of time. Time and even our surroundings get easily unnoticed in deep concentration. However, the time spent in deep concentration is a productive moment of focusing on the now and what is happening at the very moment. It should not be confused with the unproductive state of day-dreaming or endless planning and doing nothing. This is such a spiritually nourishing experience. You shall be very busy with your own mindful ways that there will be no time to look at everyone else’s lives. Of course, I mean the mundane dramas of the external world. Meditation is dwelling in the present moment – not the past or the future, but now. 

Nature is Beautiful

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