I blew my own mind in writing this; I didn’t know I had this much to say about meditation! But I won’t put a word-limit today, because even though you can find tips and tricks everywhere, I haven’t found that much on the ‘experience’ of it all.
If I had to help you understand meditation in just one post, this would be it.
I will also keep adding to this post whenever I discover something new worth sharing. I want this to become an ode to the power of meditation, a mini-encyclopedia of sorts. Please bookmark this page and feel free to revisit it often. 🙂
UPDATE: If you need a little more help on how to design a meditation practice that works for YOU, join my digital workshop. It’s unconventional, affordable and you’ll get lots of hands-on-tools to really strengthen your game!
Meditation: Everything You Need To Know
I want to talk about everything that happens when you first start meditating.
- – confusion,
- – inconsistency,
- – semi-mystical experiences,
- – paranoia,
- and then some.
So, to tackle the subject, I’ve split the post in two parts:
Though I share everything that personally happened along the way, for those that want to jump straight to the ‘advice’, feel free to jump to the last section of this post – All My Resources, Tips & Tricks.
PART 1 : All the Life-Changing Details
It wasn’t until January 2016, that I began meditation. Before that, I had no clue how to, neither was there any interest. I did try some relaxation techniques in the beginning months, but nothing happened beyond that – I would relax and fall asleep.
Fast forward to January 2017; there was no specific cause for me to feel as upset as I was because, on the outside, my life was great. I had amazing family and friends that always supported me, I was working at a well-paying job, and I was in decent physical shape, with no medical challenges to blame.
Still, at the time, all I knew was, I was not happy. This thought of unhappiness, further made me consider myself quite ungrateful, making my feelings more ‘smaller’.
It was gnawing away at me, one endless day at a time. So, I did what everyone says – I tried harder.
I tried harder to make new friends, hang out at new places, and eat differently.
I tried gratitude writing, tried checklist-striking my daily achievements.
Tried making a more ‘conducive’ environment, one home-improvement project at a time.
Tried harder to eat right, run longer, pray more.
I tried harder to balance every facet of my life.
It wasn’t working. Nothing was.
On the brighter side, I can’t say I was having extreme thoughts.
But I was beginning to question if there really was a better reason to live the life I was, so purposeless, so shallow.
I felt like going away, to where?
To do what?
And I didn’t even have the courage to go away, anyway.
I was trying to be here, to fight where I am, one day at a time.
Little did I know, I was experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul.
I don’t know what really made me decide that I should give meditation a try. I want to believe it was the small part of me that wanted to survive this existential crisis. Or maybe there was some kind of Divine Intervention?
Perhaps it was a kindred spirit that whispered in my ear, “don’t give up just yet”. That there was something more left to try.
Shiva, the ‘Cool’ God Steps In
I had grown quite fond of Shiva and his low-maintenance philosophy, after watching the Indian Saga, Devon Ke Dev, Mahadev. So, that momentous day, I started with Om chanting.
In the days to follow, every morning, right after I’d take a bath. I’d sit like a yogi, at the side of my bed. And I’d chant Om with my eyes closed, just for a few minutes. Soon, I began visualizing that I was offering different colored flowers to a shiva linga, one chant at a time.
Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but within the very first week, I began feeling better.
One day though, when I was chanting Om, I freaked out a little bit. I felt disconnected from my body, and I felt like I could hear the Om humming even when I wasn’t chanting it. Shaken, I abandoned this practice as quickly as it came. Several years later, I finally have an explanation to why meditation can be scary.
But not long after my withdrawing from chanting, I came across Binaural Beats and Solfeggio Music. I share the resources for these in the second half. For several weeks to follow, this is how I ended my days – falling asleep to such music.
Mystical Musings From Music
I had an idea to focus on one single instrument, as a form of ‘meditation’. Do you know how difficult and overwhelming that can be? But when you do that, you discover so many new ways to listen to the same song!
I also started seeing all kinds of colorful and vivid universes in my mind’s eye.
I’ve always had a thing for astronomy and the aurora borealis (northern lights). So I didn’t think much of what was going on. Later, reading some interesting spiritual memoirs, I felt a slight sense of triumph. I was definitely doing something right here!
I would also see flashes of images, mostly ones I couldn’t recognise. These images still stay with me, and I like to believe they were glimpses of past lives. Yes, past life regression is an interesting and sometimes controversial subject of its own, and one very dear to my heart. I will talk about it in due course of time.
My experience with ‘Guided Meditation’ wasn’t all that great though.
For one, I felt rushed. No matter how slow the guide was, I felt like I always wanted to be slower.
Slower to watch my breath going in and out of my chest.
Slower to feel my muscles relax, feeling the tension disperse.
And slower to imagine the dream-like place, I was often asked to construct.
Regardless, I kept experimenting; hopping between one technique to the other.
Osho Steps In
Fast forward a year later, in 2018, I had gained a better sense of chanting and music meditation, but things were really about to change again.
A friend recommended me to read Book of Secrets (also known as Vigyan Bhairav), by the famous spiritual teacher and mystic, Osho.
The book talks about 112 Meditation Techniques, and it is believed that Indian God Shiva taught them to his beloved consort, Shakti; later shared across the world as a salvation from this cycle of Life and Death.
Sitting in my office cafeteria every morning, like a ritual, having my morning cup of tea, a hot buttery parantha and scrolling feverishly through my e-book, here’s what I realised – the book is anything but boring.
It is the densest and most practical form of wisdom I have come across thus far.
Did I try all 112 techniques? Nope.
My marker is still placed at the 13th or 14th technique, somewhere.
But I did try the first 12 or so. And I tried them sincerely. I even found some of the ones that work for me.
When Osho’s Techniques Woke Me Up (Pun Intended)
Among the many ‘weird’ experiences I had, upon following Osho’s techniques, I had another worth mentioning.
I woke up in the middle of the night and felt myself breathing. Like, I wasn’t actually breathing, I could feel breath as a separate thing from me, and me separate from my body. It was so freeing, so liberating!
I find this incident funny because seconds later as soon as conscious mind turned back on, I realized what was happening, I was back to my senses. Of course I had not attained Enlightenment. I had only had a taste and it was such a tease, geez.
I did happen to come across some other amazing books that transformed my vision of meditation. We’ll talk about that in the second part.
In 2019, I tried Group Meditation, and it works!
I was invited to try the Heartfulness Meditation program thanks to a friend, and it was a game changer for me. Though I still don’t enjoy guided meditation from online tapes, in person it is a different story.
There were a lot of wonderful things that I learned and continue to learn from participating in these group meditations. One major observation being, that if you sit in a group and meditate, you are more likely to go deeper and be less ‘in thoughts’.
If there are any group meditation programs near you, go for them! They are great for anyone that is struggling to meditate on their own or alternatively needs a space to share their spiritual journey without judgment. 🙂
In summary, it was basically a waking, walking experiment, always trying to find the right mix, the right ingredients to happiness. I was rapidly adopting new techniques and letting them go. I was peaceful until I was not.
And even today, on goes my journey, my spiritual shenanigans.
I still have my days, where things feel out of alignment and I just can’t sit still. But I have finally started to develop a way to ‘ease’ myself into my meditation. I think it’s time to talk about that now. 🙂
PART 2 : All My Resources, Tips & Tricks
One-stop shop. Here you go!
My Current Meditation Practice
I like to ‘Layer’ myself into a meditative state.
First I begin with chanting out-loud. Here is My Chanting Playlist.
Having grown slightly tired from the chanting, it becomes easier for me to focus on my breath and body, in silence.
By this point, my conscious mind has really used up a lot of energy and is more docile to the thoughts that surface. And I allow them.
Videos On How to Meditate
For beginners, it can be tough to sit in one spot and meditate, so I have this video that describes variations you can do to get started. These are along the lines of present moment awareness.
To build on the above-mentioned video, here’s the second video which focuses on more deeper meditation tips and tricks. I also go into the benefits of recording your voice and creating your own guided meditation.
Tips & Tricks
TIP #1 – Why and How You Should LAYER Your Practice.
It takes a little effort to quiet the conscious mind, and until you don’t do that, it will not let you ‘be’. This is precisely why we have guided meditations talking about focusing on the breath, focusing on your body, and then building a dream-world, before you enter the actual meditative state.
I teach people how to design their own layered meditation practice. If you need help with that, feel free to join me in one of my Digital Workshops.
TIP #2 – How to SIT and meditate without getting back pain.
Either use a back-support like a pillow or lean against the wall. You can alternatively sit in a reclined chair. There is also nothing wrong with lying down and meditating, but it may make you sleepy.
TIP #3 – Switch it up. Vary between the types and duration of meditation you do.
You can chant in the morning, sitting up, and you can dwell in silence at night, while comfortably lying down. The thing is, some meditations make us sleepy because they demand a lot of processing, and that’s not ideal when you’ve got the whole day ahead of you.
So, your morning meditation might be under 2 minutes long, and very ‘shallow’ so to say, but nevertheless is a great kick-start. You can then have the night for a longer, more extensive communication with the subconscious or to simply help you free your thoughts and fall asleep.
TIP #4 – Being scared sometimes is natural.
Like I mentioned in part one, I was taken aback by my experience that came from chanting, initially. I won’t spook you with the ‘why’ of this happening, just know that it happens to some people (including me), and it is okay.
For this, I recommend a few things.
- In the immediate moment, say a prayer aloud, asking for Divine Guidance to be with you and remove any fearful thoughts or energies.
- Envision a thick bubble of Divine Light surrounding you rendering you free from any harm, and ask your Guardian/God to take the eerie presence away from you.
- If the mood persists, switch the mood. Play some peppy music that you can tune into, dance to even.
- Though usually a one-off occurrence, if the meditation you are trying is invoking fear on repeat occasions, change the type and time of meditation. For example, instead of just focusing on your third-eye, try a full-body chakra balancing meditation.
Till this date, meditating at night makes me wary. So, I focus more on meditating in the morning when there’s more white noise and it is believed that energies are more clean and positive in the early parts of the day. I’ve dedicated a full article here, explaining the reasons behind this fear and how you can overcome it.
TIP #5 – There can be many physical experiences during meditation, such as tingling and feeling hot/cold sensations throughout the body. My opinion is that don’t think too much of it.
Don’t entangle yourself into the complicated and vast subjects of ‘Kundalini Awakening’, ‘Chakra Balancing’ etc if you’re just getting started. Often, the information on the internet is half-baked, and you will end up flustered unless you get proper guidance to walk down those paths.
Initially, just let the experience guide you and help you become more aware of your body.
TIP #6 – Meditation can and will help you gain your clair senses.
A wonderful insight I gained from Rebecca Rosen in one of her podcasts, was that the physical sense that is most active in our human body, is the one that develops more quickly in the spiritual way too.
So if you’re quite the observer, you can expect clairvoyance; if you’re a great listener, you can expect clairaudience to develop. Ideally speaking, we WANT to be able to use all 10 senses, not just our human 5.
For example, a good listener is more likely to be clairaudient, and a visually stimulated being will have clairvoyance over time. You can and will gain multiple senses overtime, and that is nothing miraculous. It is the way it is, to function efficiently between both parallels.
TIP #7 – Try everything. If you don’t know how to meditate, it’s only because you haven’t found the technique that works for you.
I hope my own story is good evidence of how much trial and error can sometimes go behind trying something new (not JUST meditation).
And if in contrast, you get irritable because your mind keeps wandering off in the midst of your practice, do what Pema Chodron says in When Things Fall Apart.
Remind yourself the word “thinking” and allow yourself to come back into meditation. Through this simple word, there is no judgement, simply an awareness that you were thinking, and that now you must not.
TIP #8 – Take a bath before you meditate, or wait at least an hour before you bathe.
Meditation is like an energetic cleanse, and we don’t want to lose the state of our meditation, so we try to retain it as long as possible, bathing included.
Tip #9 – Read books from the masters to help you strengthen your practices.
Here are the books that helped me, and will definitely help you:
- Book of Secrets by Osho (also available for free online)
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
- Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel
You can also use your periods of meditation to reflect on solid self-awareness questions, challenging your ego-mind and working your way through the wisdom you already have within.
#10 – If you can’t meditate in silence, use music as white noise.
Here is My Meditation Playlist with Solfeggios, Binaural Beats, etc.
I am not of the belief that meditation is NOT for everyone. I do think that to some degree, we all already meditate on the things that we love reflecting on. But not everyone has the interest or willingness to sit down and just “be” with their thoughts, and that’s absolutely okay as well. I do recommend reading these alternative spiritual practices, if you’re not the one to sit and meditate.
That being said, I am curious to know how you try on my suggestions about meditation for yourself! Congratulations – you know everything I know now, so what are you waiting for? Go meditate! 🙂
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