There are probably as many ways to get into a meditative state as there are leaves on a tamarind tree. There are also almost as many theories about when, where, and how a person should meditate. Although the classical teachers of meditation would unarguably classify this as heresy, I think that for each of us, it probably comes down to a personal preference.
How often have you heard different variations of the same theme: that if you want to reach the plane of God-consciousness, you have to meditate at 3:00 A.M. or when the fingers of dawn stretch across the sky? It makes one question whether the experts can possibly mean that the people who work the night shift and don’t get home until nine or ten o’clock in the morning are not spiritual and are doomed to never being able to be at One with God. There are many who would have you believe that this is so, or they would find day jobs.
Meditation is a very personal thing for most people. Some prefer to follow the breath while others choose to chant Aum and merge with the sound. Still, there are others who get into meditation more easily by clearing their head of all thoughts and entering that quiet space where they can feel God’s presence. They may use a technique of visualizing a simple object, like a plain teaspoon, keeping it firmly in their mind’s eye, seeing nothing else and thinking nothing else, until they merge with that God presence.
It is essential to remember that because we are in human form, we have our good days and our bad days, and on our good days, our meditation will transcend us to the ultimate level, and on our bad days, we will be too preoccupied or too fidgety to get into a deep meditation. On the days when your mind is too distracted to meditate effectively, get up and do something else for awhile. Then try again. Give yourself three attempts. If, on the third attempt, you are still struggling to quiet your mind, tell yourself that tomorrow is another day and give yourself permission to call it quits for today.
We often hear that spiritual people have to meditate at certain hours or that meditation can only be done a certain way, but that’s not true. There are many people who meditate at the prescribed times and who do moonlight meditations and special holiday meditations, but who don’t live spiritual lives. As long as you are meditating for yourself and not for an audience, it doesn’t matter when you meditate or where you meditate, the results will be the same: a communion with the God within. I truly doubt if God cares whether you meditate at three in the morning or at nine in the evening, as long as your motivation is to seek Him out.
There is another aspect of meditation that is too often overlooked, and that is the one of using meditation for relaxation or to change sleeping patterns, or to get an extra surge of energy. Insomniacs have been known to get a good night’s sleep by meditating right before going to bed. They have also found that if they get tired during the day, a quickie meditation of fifteen or twenty minutes will restore their energy for another six or eight hours.
During moments of stress when nothing is going right, you can change your vibration with a fifteen or twenty minute meditation and that will change the outcome of your day. But be aware, that if three negative things happen to you within the same day, it is probably not the fault of other people; more likely, the fault is within you. That’s when you should stop whatever you are doing and take time out to meditate for fifteen or twenty minutes. It will change how you affect other people and their reactions to you.
I think meditation can be for everyone. It affects your health, your mind, your attitude, your interpersonal relationships, your productivity, and your life. Don’t worry about whether it will make you spiritual; if you are living according to the precepts of the
Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you and also the converse: Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you then meditation will help you attain God-consciousness. If you are not living that kind of life, then all the meditation, all the books, lectures, and seminars in the world will not move you to that level. Meditation should be seen as a reward, not as a discipline or a chore.
It is a time of healing the human spirit and infusing a person with courage to get through the day; it is also the balancing of energies within the body, bringing mind, body, and spirit into perfect alignment, and it should not be confused with prayer. Prayer is when you speak to God; meditation is when you are still enough to hear God speak to you.
If you haven’t yet experienced the joys of meditating, start now. Find your own rhythm, choose a time of day or night that works for you and don’t be afraid to vary it. Use it to propel you to another level of spirituality or use it to help you sleep, to change your vibration, or to give you a quick spurt of energy, but use it. Rejoice in the myriad ways of bringing meditation into your life.
Written by Connie H. Deutsch
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