How should I meditate?

I am an anxious person by nature. How do I learn to quiet the mind? Thank you.

Start by reading the Yoga Sutras:

Practice the techniques prescribed in the Yoga Sutras to reduce your anxiety:

Opposition thinking: When anxious thoughts come, consider them and recognize that they are negative and not useful, and then replace it with an opposite and useful thought.

Regular practice: In order to stabalize the mind regular daily practice is required of all techniques. Meditation sessions should be about 30 min to a hour a day. Ideally, you should have two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Non-attachment: This is difficult to practice without having a stable daily meditation practice. Non-attachment is practiced by bringing the witnessing skill you develop in meditation into your everyday life.

Meditation: Meditation is basically putting yourself in the mode of witnessing. The act of witnessing means you watch something without becoming identified with it or involved in it. Like watching a movie. Whenever you notice you have become identified, you bring yourself back to witnessing mode. In Meditation we always pick one object for our session we want to witness. In the beginning it useful to pick an object which is physical, because it is easier to witness it.

Breath meditation: Simply witness the breath going in and out of your body at the nostrils. Whenever you see yourself drifting away, witness that as well, then return back to witnessing the breath again.
Chakra meditation: Pick any major center in your body; the best are the third eye centre, the heart and the solar plexus. Then simply feel the sensations in that part of the body, as if you consciousness is only fixed there. When you drift away, just bring your focus back to that part again.
Silent meditation: This is best done with close eyes. Close your eyes and simply focus on the silence in your mind. When you find yourself drifting away into thoughts, witness that as well, then go back to the silence again.

I truly understand the suggestion of the yoga sutras but sometimes I think they are just a bit too advanced or hard to understand until/unless a person has the time to really dig in - and truly - we don’t all have the time or at least aren’t willing to make the time (and some don’t have the desire either). And yet - I think we all CAN fit in some meditation each day - it just may not be 2x30 minute or more sessions.

If/when all the meditation suggestions feel too overwhelming…just find 10 minutes of quiet time per day to sit in silence. Or try a guided meditation. Read as much on the subject of meditation as you can and find what works for you. There are so many types of meditation and philosophies of meditation that if you try something and find it isn’t for you - don’t give up - try something else. Just start. I think starting - making the commitment and sticking to it is the hardest part.

There is a guy in Australia who wrote “hurry up and meditate” - David Mitchie is his name…he really brings meditation down to a simple level for the average, everyday, busy person. Another meditation guy that I have used is Ian Gawler. Yoga Nidra is also a good entry to meditation and there are several free downloads (do a google search) or itunes has heaps.

One should really have the time to do the theory work before they jump into the practical. If one doesn’t have the time to doing the reading prior, it really goes to show how sincere their interest in Yoga is.

Thanks for that link SD!

The Power of Now or The New Earth by eckhart tolle are good books to read. Maybe you could try them. You are not an anxious person by nature, you only think you are and by that recognition you believe in those thoughts when there is no truth in them. You need not do any techniques except sit with yourself and investigate into your true nature of who you are. This is yoga also. By investigation, I mean through experience, feeling. Not through thinking. Sit and notice everything that arises in your consciousness and then look deeply into that recognition of who is aware of all this. Who is it. The age old question. Who Am I? You don’t have to learn to quiet the mind. The mind is there, not good or bad, it just is. Silence comes to the mind once you find your true inherent nature. Meditation techniques can help as long as they are only tools and not distractions. Once you believe you need techniques to become free, that which is already free in this present moment becomes absorbed in a new story of seeking enlightenment. You are free now, beyond all this.

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;72188]One should really have the time to do the theory work before they jump into the practical. If one doesn’t have the time to doing the reading prior, it really goes to show how sincere their interest in Yoga is.[/QUOTE]

I sincerely disagree. I believe benefit can be derived from meditation whether you study theory or not. As with all things - there can be a disconnect between the ‘ideal’ and the ‘practical’. I think it is important to be relaxed enough to find what works - and different things work for different people.

Just my 2 cents - not interested in debate or confrontation - just in suggesting an alternate viewpoint.

[QUOTE=AmethystDaisy2;72162]I am an anxious person by nature. How do I learn to quiet the mind? Thank you.[/QUOTE]

To keep the mind quiet, you must develop a practice. Similarly, if you wanted to become better at a sport or a hobby, you would practice.

To quiet the mind is not possible. To disengage from the endless stream of thought, so that it does not affect you, is possible.

One of my instructors utilizes the method of labeling thoughts with one word or a two word phrase, as it comes to the front of your conciousness, and let it float away. He likens it to a stream, that various objects are floating down. You sit under a shade tree nearby and simply watch.

Some of this is covered in a blog post I recentley published.

[QUOTE=KrisR;72210]I sincerely disagree. I believe benefit can be derived from meditation whether you study theory or not. As with all things - there can be a disconnect between the ‘ideal’ and the ‘practical’. I think it is important to be relaxed enough to find what works - and different things work for different people.

Just my 2 cents - not interested in debate or confrontation - just in suggesting an alternate viewpoint.[/QUOTE]

We will have to agree to disagree then. Most people who begin meditation practices begin with vaguely defined, misguided and limited goals and hence their practice is not efficacious and can even be harmful.

Like, “I want to be enlightened” So they start meditating with vague ideas of what enlightenment is, and then after some short-term gain they interpret that as enlightenment. You meet people like this at a dime a dozen in the Yoga/spiritual community(including on this forum) Conversely, you have those who after a short-term loss or lack of results conclude that “enlightenment” is nonsense or that they are incapable of reaching enlightenment.

Or it could be, “I want to be more calm and peaceful” So they start meditating, and then start to interpret void states as the ananda or bliss of the Buddha etc. They maintain this practice of remaining at these void states and develop attachments to do them, never going beyond these void state. In actual fact these void states are considered mental torpidity, inertia, dullness by yogis. Most long time meditators I meet do not realize how much they have dulled their minds.

Or it could be, “I want a vision of god, connect to my spirit guide, enter the angelic worlds” So they start meditating, and then start to interpret the imaginations produced in their minds as visions. They start to lose touch with reality and believe in their imagination. The vast majority of the new-age community are susceptible to this, many believing that their spirit guide is Buddha, Jesus/Sananda, the white lodge masters or aliens etc.

Or it could be, “I want to develop psychic powers” So they start meditating and after the development of some very limited power like being able to guess the correct card drawn from a random set of 5 of cards with 70% accuracy and then start to write books, make videos and hold seminars impressing everybody with their psychic ability.

There are many dangers on the path of meditation. The mind is uncharted territory for most of us and it is a vast, full of all kinds of tricks, deceptions and dangers, like a jungle at night. This is why beginning meditation completely ignorant or with half knowledge is dangerous. Above, I have outline d the kind of delusions we can develop. There are also physical and psychological dangers:

  1. Premature Kundalini awakening: This is most common kind of complication that develops during a long meditation practice. As meditation is reshifting the energies in your nervous system, it can cause sudden and dramatic changes, one of the most dramatic of which is a full blown Kundalini awakening. Ultimately the Kundalini awakening happens anyway, but if it happens too early when the nervous system is not ready for that surge of energy, it can potentially short-circuit your system, which can lead to death, schizophrenia and psychosis etc

  2. Psychological traumas: Meditation, when done correctly, will eventually release the subconscious and unconscious memories and traumas you have stored, it may even lead to the development of new psychological problems you did not know existed like anxiety, depression and other complexes.

Patanjali mentions up to 9 different obstacles that one encounters on the path, and the complications it produces:

1.30 Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

1.31 From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are: 1) mental or physical pain, 2) sadness or dejection, 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.
(duhkha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva)

Meditation seems like a harmless activity, I mean what can be so dangerous about simply just sitting and observing yourself. But it actually a major life transforming activity which is directly working on your nervous system and changing its map. It will reshift the energies in your body, causing problems like anxiety, shakiness, physical or mental pain, release subconscious and unconscious thoughts. Once the reshifting take places, if one stops their practice they will bring damage to their systems. One must sustain the effort as soon as they begin. It is like opening Pandora’s box; once opened you release a great energy into your body.

A lot of meditation tutorials and tutors completely ignore this fact about meditation and teach it irresponsibly, teaching techniques that could potentially damage somebodies nervous system. However, in the Yoga tradition meditation has never been treated so carelessly. This is why the presence of a guru is emphasized so much. The yogi begins their path with full understanding of what they are about to do, aware of its purpose and its dangers. It is not something to be treated frivolously, as it is today in modern times.

Too bad you both have to disagree when there is a third option; that there is a level or layer of truth to each position.

And that is where I’ll stand. Pontification and chatter about the doing doesn’t get much done. There is absolutely a time to get out of one’s own head and go do. But it is very clear that the tool here is powerful and therefore the student should absolutely be guided - assuming they want a safe AND effective practice.

Here you have a SRF video on how to meditate:

The right way to meditate is to set an intention for yourself before you begin to feel light-headed or anxious. Then allow your mind to explore what it is you want to achieve with your meditation. Begin by breathing slowly and deeply through your mouth, keeping the air going through your nose and blocking out outside noises. As you feel more comfortable, become more aware of how your mind wanders as you try to make sense of the sensations occurring throughout your body. Tune out thoughts that aren't helpful; keep your attention on the breath. As you relax in this way, take small stepsOne for sitting, two for standing, and three for walking. Still not able to do meditation we are at Arhanta yoga provides meditation classes from experts you can visit our website and know more details.