This is my third post on the subject of meditation. In case you want to look back, my first post is about what meditation is, the health benefits and brainwaves. The second post was about finding time for meditation. This post is about how to focus during meditation when you find your mind wondering.
BREATHING: The most important part of meditation, other than finding time to do it and actually doing it, is your breathing. It will be your main focal point during the majority of your mediation. Deep breathing helps settle the body and establish your presence in your space. As you breath, you want to deeply inhale through your nose, and deeply exhale through your mouth. Be careful of the speed of your breathing as you can become dizzy. Maintain attention to your breathing. If you find your mind wondering, focus back onto inhaling and exhaling.
MANTRAS: In addition to conscious breathing are ways to internalize and harness your positive consciousness. When saying mantras out loud to yourself, you are changing your mental processes on how you view yourself. By saying mantras you can get a sense of empowerment and self love.
*I EXIST: By repeating “I exist” when you exhale, you are helping identify your self-existence. Practice being non-judgmental towards yourself.
*I AM POWERFUL: By saying “I am powerful”, you recognize that you are in control of your destiny and are able to see that your gifts and abilities fuel your internal power. Try saying it when you need to bring your “A-game” before a job interview or a presentation or a game.
*I LOVE: Try repeating “I love” as your morning mantra. It will fill you with a sense of love and help focus on the thing you love in life.
*OM: If you are feeling spaced out and disconnected, chanting “om” will help ground you before you start the day or any time you need to refocus.
*I AM: To chant “I am” is to sit and acknowledge your divinity. You, in your space, as yourself.
There are other mantras you can try that you can easily find online or in books etc. What is your favorite mantra?
MALA BEADS/PRAYER BEADS: Mala beads are a simple string of beads made up of rudraksh seeds, basil (tulsi) wood, bodhi seeds, sandlewood, crystals, gemstones, etc. Each bead influences the mind of the user subtly. The most common have 108 beads with a “summit bead” named “sumeru”. You can also use 27 or 21 beads for shorter meditation. The mala is basically used as a accessory to keep count and focus on the mantras that are uttered through the process.
Why 108 beads? 108 is considered a “Harshad” (“great joy” in Sanskrit) number as it is an integer that can be divided exactly by the total sum of its individual digits. Can someone show me the math work for this because I suck at math and I would have to see that math problem worked out. Thanks! There are 108 lines of energy in our body that converge to create the intersection of the “Heart Chakra” (we will be discussing Chakras later). It is believed that to obtain optimal peace and tranquility through meditation, you should only take 108 breaths a day during meditation, which is the best way to “self enlightenment”.
Why use Mala beads? Mala beads calm and conditions the mind, body, and spirit by driving away distractions and fantasies. It enlightens the psyche and works as the gateway to our superior inner selves. It also improves our attention during meditation which makes us more focused.
How do you choose your Mala Beads? Just like with divination tools, crystals, plants and other personal items you plan on using during meditation or if you decide to have an alter, you pick what feels best and draws your attention.
How to use your Mala Beads: Identify your meditation goal and picking your mantra.
Sit straight with legs crossed and eyes closed. Take deep breaths while uttering your mantra and focusing on it completely.
Hold the Mala in your right hand and in such a way that the first bead lies between your thumb and ring finger. You have to put your thumb on the “sumeru” first while reciting the mantra and push the beads on by on in order to go through all the beads in a single rotation. Stop once you finish the while loop and reach the sumeru again.
You should never pass the sumeru over. If you wish to repeat, simply go in reverse by turning the mala around.
NEVER LET THE INDEX FINGER GET IN TOUCH WITH THE MALA AS IT SYMBOLISES OUR “EGO” AND IS NOT ADVISABLE TO HOLD THE SACRED BEADS.
CRYSTALS: Crystals and gems are a great use during meditation as a focal point and can be used in different meditations (i.e. chakra healing) to promote healing. Hold crystals in your hand/s while meditating or place crystals on your forehead or other body parts. There are many crystals to choose from and different crystals can be used to heal different areas of the body.
VISUALIZATION: This can help releave stress and anxiety during quick and regular meditations. Imagine yourself in a relaxing place like a garden or a room. Walk around and look at everything, enjoy the feeling of the space whether there is sunlight. Focus on if there is a breeze, or a sweet smell.
WALKING MEDITATION: This is very simple and can be done anywhere.
Focus on every step and the movement of your feet as they hit the ground, heal to toe.
No need to focus on your breathing.
Could even do this while jogging.
Gives you a good excuse to exercise.
Focus on a lit candle.
SOUND/MUSIC: Nature sounds, soothing music, binaural beats.
What are binaural beats/tones? Binaural beats/tones are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, caused by specific physical stimuli. It is best to listen with head phones. There are two different frequencies of signal, one goes in one ear, the other in the other ear. When listening to these two frequencies, the brain detects the phase variation between the two and tries to reconcile the difference. When the brain does this, it creates it’s own signal, a third one (binaural beat) whic his equal to the difference between those two frequencies. By the brain doing this, the brain goes into an alpha state, which you need to be in to meditate and connect.
I hope this post is helpful in doing your meditations. Remember, it takes time and practice. Find something that works for you!