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.
So I will keep adding to this post whenever I discover something new worth sharing, simply for the fact that I want this to become an ode to the power of meditation, a mini encyclopedia of sorts for you, whenever you feel stuck. Please bookmark this page and feel free to revisit it often. 🙂
I have revisited everything when it comes to my story with Meditation, from my confusion, inconsistency, semi-mystical experiences, to paranoia, and then some.
Therefore, we’ve got two parts, to tackle the subject :
If I had to help you understand meditation in just one post, this would be it.
Though I share everything that 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 –Part 2 : All My Resources, Tips & Tricks.
Although, I would recommend reading both parts, simply because Part 2 only focuses on what works for me, but Part 1 is more detailed about what didn’t work along the way (but might work for you, so don’t miss it).
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 relaxed and I would 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 condition 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, 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 living 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.
NOTE : I’ve already shared a more vivid description about the Dark Night of the Soul, this phenomenon I was experiencing, which seemed like depression. Skipping those details from here, but if you haven’t read that yet, here you go.
I don’t know what really made me decide that I should give meditation another try, one not-so-fine day. I want to credit the small part of me that wanted to survive this adult-life crisis. Or maybe there was some kind of Divine Intervention.
Perhaps a kindred spirit whispered in my ear, “don’t give up just yet”. That there was something more left to try.
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 chant Om with my eyes closed, for a few minutes. I added to this little ritual by visualising that I was offering different coloured flowers to a shivalinga, one chant at a time.
Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but within the very first week, I began feeling better.
One day, when I was chanting Om, I freaked out a little bit though. 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.
But I remember that not long after, I came across Binaural Beats and Solfeggio Music (I share these resources in Part 2). For several weeks to follow, this is how I ended my days – falling asleep to such music.
Lying low and letting music guide me, here are some of the experiences that came with it.
I decided I would focus on one single instrument. Do you know how difficult and overwhelming that can be? But what I did learn was, there are so many ways to listen to the same song!
I also started seeing all kinds of colourful and vivid universes in my head. I have always a had a thing for astronomy and the aurora borealis, so I didn’t think much of what was going on. Later, reading many spiritual biographies, 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.
Fast forward a year later, in 2018, I did gain 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 Osho.
The book talks about 112 Meditation Techniques, and it is believed that 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.
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 breathe as a separate thing from me, and me separate from my body. I find this incident funny because literally 3 seconds later as soon as I realised what was happening, I was back to my senses. Ofcourse 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, and I will talk in more detail in due course of time. But I want to say, 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 judgement. 🙂
In summary, I 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, 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.
Also it’s been a post-and-a-half already, so if you’ve come this far, here’s a secret we can share. Drop a comment with a “Oh boy, this was something. My favourite meditation technique is….(fill your answer)” so that I know you’re a true reader here! *wink*
PART 2 : All My Resources, Tips & Tricks
One-stop shop. Here you go!
My Current Meditation Practice
I like to ‘Layer’ myself into the meditative state (described about in the Tips & Tricks section that follows this).
First I begin with chanting out-loud. I share the different kind of chants I use in the Resources section of this post at the end. Having grown slightly tired from the chanting, it becomes easier for me to focus on my breathe 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.
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 breathe, focusing on your body, and then building a dream-world, before you enter the actual meditative state. Try any or all of these.
- Good For the Primary Layers
- Write your thoughts down for 1-2 pages, whatever they are at the time. Writing will slow your mind down to a writing-pace, and also empty a lot of the dominating gunk.
- Having more pre-meditation rituals such as burning an incense stick, or dimming the lights is also a great way to train the brain for what’s expected.
- Focused meditation – focus on a single point like candle, or point on wall. Quickest way to make your eyes droop shut!
- Counting backwards out loud (this works best when you club it with focused meditation)
- Chanting out loud, eyes closed
- Good for Secondary Layers
- Music Meditation (my resources at the end)
- Breath Meditation
- Body Meditation – bring your attention to every body part, and then the body as a whole
- Guided Meditation
Asking your mind to concentrate on these long list of activities can help soften the interference once you start working with the thoughts that come.
TIP #2 – How to SIT and meditate without getting a backpain.
Either use a back-support like a pillow, or lean against the wall. You can also 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.
Till this date, meditating at night makes me wary. So, I only use nights to relax and drift into sleep, and focus more on meditating in the morning where there’s more white noise and it is believed that energies are more clean and positive in the early parts of the day.
TIP #5 – There maybe 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 a good evidence, of how much trial and error can sometimes go behind trying something new (not JUST meditation). Now, here are my resources.
TIP #8 – Take a bath before you meditate, or wait atleast 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 is as long as possible, bathing included.
Books that helped me, and will definitely help you
- Book of Secrets by Osho (also available for free online, as Vigyan Bhairav)
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
- Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel
My Meditation Playlist (Solfeggios, Binaural Beats, etc)
Honestly, I am impressed if you actually read everything. At one point, I was fretting how much I’d have to edit, would anyone actually read all of it? That being said, congratulations, you know everything I know now, so what are you waiting for? Go meditate!
Image courtesy : pixabay
NOTE : Any books purchased through the links above are at no additional cost to the buyer, but support me and my work. Thank you for your consideration! 🙂
Once a month, I send a Self-Love and Spiritual newsletter. Sign up to get highlights and exclusive content such as e-books, guided meditations and numerous other resources!
Pin for Pinterest :