Week 5: Japa Meditation

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Sharing Japa Meditation with you gives me goose bumps. It gets me that excited. I hate showing a preference on meditation because I want you to make your own choices, but my rights as a blogger allow me to share my opinion, so this time I’ll say screw it.

Personally, I feel that Japa is the magic spell of the meditation world. It involves reciting a mantra, but one of your choosing, and for all those who have a hard time not thinking, you’re in luck. The focus of Japa is that you pick one thing to think about and channel only that one thought, while paired with a mantra, while fondling beads. There is so much going on that you don’t really have time to think about anything else!

It is very similar to the concept of The Secret. It draws from the belief that if we picture ourselves already in the state of success, that we will ultimately become a magnetic force that draws it to us.

The only requirement for it is that the mantra begin with I AM.

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 It could be something like, I am happy or I am healthy or I am a three-legged dinosaur. Ok maybe not that last one, but you get the point. The purpose is just to envision that, whatever you want to be, you already are. The process of getting there is gone and you jump straight to the good part.

All aboard the Japa train!

To begin, you repeat the mantra either silently or at a low whisper, and with each recitation, you move on to the following bead. The only limitation is that you’re forefinger(pointer/index) is not allowed to touch the beads, as it represents the “Ego”, and in meditation, we want to check that blunt, bossy character at the door.

Now, I know Mala Beads aren’t a household item and most of us do not have them lying around. This can also work without. Whether you imagine yourself with an imaginary set or just focusing on the mantra itself, what is important is what is inside YOU and the positive intentions that you focus on.

Give it a try. Start with something simple. Let’s say, I am happy. Are you trying it? You feel that resistance inside of you that doesn’t want to believe what your saying? That’s because you have inwardly set your mind to not believing it. You’re, in fact, repelling it.

Say it to the point that even when you aren’t saying it and going through your daily life, that it becomes the voice in the back of your mind, like a song you cant get out of your head from the radio. So the more you repeat to yourself that it is, the better you can reprogram your thoughts to accept what you deserve. Flip that switch!

The best part of Japa is that you can do it anywhere, in the midst of anything.  It could be while riding the bus to work, or absentmindedly while waiting in line for your coffee.  There is no set time needed. Just keep your Mala beads in your jacket pocket while on the go!


Read more on Mala beads. Mala beads contain 108 beads, which is symbolic for a divine number that can be linked to all religious scriptures.  Find more info here.

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Week 4: OM Meditation

Patanjali_YogaYou may have heard of great ol’ Patanjali. If you haven’t, he has basically been classified as “The Father of Yoga.” He did not create yoga, but he cooked up its template into the more palatable form that we have today. Which, lets face it, is pretty defining of our decade.

I won’t bore you with the details, but the foundation of his work was built on stillness of the mind. And how did he do that? He OM’d. A lot.

If you’ve ever tried it, it feels pretty weird at first. And if anyone were to walk in on you while doing it, I’d reckon you’d feel pretty embarrassed.

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He wasn’t just practicing for Glee tryouts; I swear there was a method to his madness. That old yogi literally broke down this two-letter scrabble word and defined it as the sound of the universal God. Quieting the mind was the highest goal, and he believed the quickest way to do that was aligning your energy with an absolute power beyond the confines of the physical. He makes sure not to assign a name to the “who”, as he leaves that to you.   Without touching that inner divine peace, quieting the mind would become a lot more difficult, but not impossible. That being said, OM was his fast track.

There is a lot more structure to it. The frequency of its vibration is like a tuning fork to the body, and if you would like to read more about it, you can find the sound of the chakras at this page.

2768-1-the-yoga-sutras-of-patanjaliAnd If you’d like to read about Patanjali and the divine sound, here are the Yoga Sutras 1:23-27, where Om is discussed.


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Week 3: Vedic Meditation (Transcendental)

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There is a lot of controversy over Transcendental Meditation. It has attracted a bad hype from the TM gurus charging fees out there, but I will not go into their descriptions and whatnot.

What I am going to teach you is how I was taught and, in my opinion, what I find to be a much more gentle way of meditation that is super relaxing. I suppose it is more of a blend of effortless and breathing meditations.

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You can find a seat anywhere. It does not need to be cross-legged, just as long as you are upright. Whether it’s leaning against a wall, a tree, or propped up on pillows, you’re aiming for comfort and ease. Picture the breath entering in and out of you, drawing each breath naturally into your belly, not through your chest.

After that just drift, suspend your mind into the balance. If you have an itch, scratch it. Or if something is going numb, move it. Be comfortable. During this time you may find yourself in a hypnagogic state between sleep and consciousness, which I gather is why they have come up with the term transcendental.

If thoughts arise, look at them, then let them float away. This can be achieved by refocusing on the breath and simulate blowing the thoughts away. Just be.

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Do you know what I got out of it? The best darn power nap of my life! True story. All kidding aside, you may fall asleep, and that’s okay. You wouldn’t be the first. You reap the benefits regardless.


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Week 2: Loving-Kindness Meditation

 

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This one sort of speaks for itself, but I think it’s important to add a little direction into its practice. The purpose is what is clearly in the title: To send love and kindness. Not just to others, but also to yourself. It’s about thankfulness yet also forgiveness; it is a practice of benevolence.

It’s particularly useful when there is something in your mind that you just cant stop thinking about. It allows you to focus on the subject matter without judgment and with acceptance. You can begin by closing your eyes, bring to front a person or situation, and then speak with it.

I Forgive You.

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Life is a Zen Garden

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While I searched my way into a certain lightness in living, I obsessively tried to apply every sort of structure to it that I could in an effort to simplify my struggle. As I have stated about myself in my previous posts, I have been an extremist for the better part of my life.

When I first started to attempt my so-called spiritual mattress-flip, I went from my free-spirited routine of careless mornings to mapping out every second of my schedule all the way down to my bathroom breaks.  Fine, I wasn’t that extreme, but you get my point.

In my mind, the more I modified the outside elements, the easier it would become to modify myself within to the poster child of perfection I wanted to be.   Of course that’s not the goal anyone should strive for, nor is it realistic or relatable. Like with anything that is repeatedly forced into a mold that is not natural to its form, it will break under the pressure and the life of it will be short lived. Continue reading “Life is a Zen Garden”

Week 1: Guided Meditation

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Guided Meditations are a great option when you need to take the guesswork out of meditating. They provide instruct and help by reminding you of the breath, in the process of training you to let go. Some even take you on a journey, which can be fun. I have some pretty visual memories of strolls through the forest and exploring meadows in my mind.

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Meditation Mondays!

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It goes without saying the benefits of mediation. Have you heard anyone ever say, “Gosh, I meditated this morning and I just feel awful!”?

That’s because they don’t.

Generally, it benefits us in many ways; from an all-over serene feeling to becoming a better decision maker.

Also, for those who believe in the idea of The Secret, you know that ‘like-attracts-like’, so what we think draws it closer. Therein lies the foundation for the purpose of meditation.

It’s like vitamins, we know they’re good for us, but we get just too darn lazy to take ‘em!

This has been probably the most grappling issue for those of us who want to implement this daily practice, but cant seem to carry on the consistency. I, especially, have a hard time keeping up with it once I finally feel better.

“I got what I came for. See ya!”istock-goodbye-wave1

Of course when the tough gets tougher, I’ll pop a cross-legged squat and meditate in desperation only to be bombarded by lawless thoughts and a negative disposition. Yet, if I had only found a way to keep it going before then maybe I would have been on my A-Game and never found my way back to whatever emotion I’d be facing.

Like many boring activities in life, everything can transform into a more enjoyable form if only you were to jazz it up a little. Luckily for you, there are many forms of mediation and I’m going to give you a handful of favorites over the next few weeks.

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Before you roll your eyes, let me tell you first about the benefits to get those jazz fingers going.


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