The intention of this meditation is to allow your mind to rest, which becomes a process of clearing the "chatter" and ultimately settling the mind to give the rest of the body a chance to connect directly to your spirit and benefit from your innate healing ability. Meditation is the action of training your mind to “get out of the way” and like any form of exercise, requires regular practice.
Our minds are designed to think. We rely on our mental faculties to develop plans and carry them out with precision, efficiency and elegance. These qualities of thought and action are highly valuable and greatly emphasized in today’s society. This is why this type of meditation can be especially difficult, but is also why it is so important! A calmer mind will reveal even more refined thought and creativity. To accomplish this, we must bring to the cushion the virtues of patience, kindness to ourselves and a sense of humor.
Meditation masters use the analogy of a frog on a plate: Our mind is like a frog, the nature of a frog is to jump - not to be still. If we place a frog on a plate, after a moment or two, his nature will be to jump off of it. The meditator's work is to notice the frog has moved from the plate, gently pick him up and return him to the plate. After a couple of moments when he does it again, we repeat the process. This is the same thing we need to do with our thoughts. You can imagine with this analogy how patience and a sense of humor are so important to meditating in this way!
Setting: You can sit on a cushion or in a chair, but most importantly, find a quiet place indoors (for the time being) where you have the ability to view at least 4-6 feet of open floorspace in front of you. For this meditation, don't play any background music.
How to sit: If you sit on the floor, sit cross-legged in a position that's comfortable for you (either lotus or Indian-style is fine). In a chair, your knees should be of equal distance apart and your feet should be flat on the floor in front of you. Place the palms of your hands on your thighs at a comfortable distance from your core. You should not feel that you are reaching your arms out too far in front of you (placing them on your knee caps would be too far). Your posture should be "not too tight and not too loose". One way to keep this balance is to think of your spine as the frame that keeps your body upright, thus you will sit with a "strong back" but a "soft front”, which is a relaxed diaphragm and abdomen that encourages you to breathe freely and openly.
The gaze: This meditation is practiced with the eyes open. Your gaze should be soft and free of intention to focus on anything in particular. The direction of the gaze is slightly downcast, about 4-6 feet in front of you. It's easiest to start if you can view only floorspace from this perspective vs. looking across the room at objects that can be distracting. The angle of your gaze will lower your chin just slightly less than 90 degrees and should feel free from strain.
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