The mind is a complicated thing that needs some taming and some silencing. Some people have really loud thoughts and they turn to meditation to deal with them. According to AiR Atman in Ravi, a spiritual leader and the founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment, meditation has a positive impact on mood and health.
“It helps improve focus, reduces stress and anxiety. It also reduces pain and symptoms of stress-induced illnesses. It controls depression, and enhances one’s sense of emotional well-being; it increases self-awareness,” he says.
The expert adds that unfortunately, many people do not know what meditation really is. That it is “about making the mind still”. “It is about being in silence. Meditation is contemplation. It is a state of thoughtlessness, mindfulness. The goal is to attain the state of consciousness.”
1. Understand that meditation is not about posture or position
Meditation is not about sitting cross-legged on the floor with our spine erect. In fact, many people choose to meditate on a sofa or a chair with their feet flat on the floor. We have to find the position that works for us. Meditation is not so much about the stillness of the body as it is about the stillness of the mind. One does not need meditation props like a mat or special clothes or music or fragrant candles.
2. Declutter the mind by reducing MTR
To make the mind still, we must control it. The mind jumps from thought to thought. It can produce a thought practically every second, that is about 50 thoughts a minute, and a whopping 50,000 thoughts per day. We need to bring down the ‘Mental Thought Rate’, the MTR, from 50 thoughts a minute to one thought per minute. For that, observe the mind — every time it wanders, bring it back.
3. Make the monkey mind a monk
There is a method to turn the monkey mind into a monk. The ‘MONKEY’ has a tail, ‘EY’, that is ‘Ever Yelling’. When we cut the tail, the ‘MONKEY’ becomes a ‘MONK’. The mind becomes calm and ceases its incessant yelling. We must let our intellect rule the mind and let it discriminate right from wrong, the truth from the myth.
4. Watch the mind
If we are meditating and thinking while meditating, then we are not actually meditating. Meditation is about switching off the mind. It is about being thoughtless. Even if a thought comes to our mind, we must watch it without thinking.
5. Make time and a place for meditation
Each day, set aside a place and time for meditating and increase the time gradually. Make it a habit. A person can be in a meditative state all the time. When we are conscious of our reality, of who we are, when we become aware that we are the divine soul, not the body, not the mind and ego, we reach that state of consciousness where we are meditating all the time. We become a yogi, one who lives in yoga — in divine union, always in that state of stillness, consciousness, ananda.