A MINDFUL PRACTICE OF MEDITATION ALLOWS ONE TO CULTIVATE AN ENHANCED AWARENESS … PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY

work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible… rumi

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quiet-contemplation

MEDITATION IS A MOST POWERFUL TOOL FOR CULTIVATING MINDFULNESS – TO PAY ATTENTION, ON PURPOSE, IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. It can take on a variety of forms including breathing, mantra, and visualization meditation. Meditation is always accessible – you don’t need a perfect time or spot or set of circumstances to drop in and experience the benefits of this powerful practice.

Stillness, and the soothing power of reflection and repetition are the heart of meditation.

A consistent meditation practice has been evidenced to significantly increase brain activity, called gamma wave activity, in areas associated with positive emotions, like happiness. Gamma waves involve mental processes including attention, memory, learning, and conscious perception.

a mantra may be as simple as a single word
calm
love
gratitude
shanti / peace

…or a healing phrase affirmation
I am enough
I am love
I am compassionate
I see the beauty in the everyday

HOW TO USE A MALA FOR MANTRA MEDITATION

Mantra meditation is the practice of a word or phrase that you repeat.
Mantras can be very powerful tools, helping to calm and focus the mind. They are also used to support a path, intention, or goals.
Begin by sitting in a quiet, comfortable spot – cross-legged, with your back straight. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths.
With your thumb and middle finger, hold your mala, touching the first bead next to the guru. Roll the bead toward you while you recite your mantra, move on to the next bead and repeat. Move your way around the mala, touching each bead as you repeat your mala, either aloud or in your head. Once you reach the guru, sit quietly, allowing the your mantra intention wash over you and take root.

champagne-quartz-garnet-mala-shanti

CHAKRA MEDITATIONS

CROWN
I am filled with greatness

THIRD-EYE
I am wise

THROAT
I am learning, and I am growing

HEART
I love and appreciate myself as I am

SOLAR PLEXUS
I accept myself completely

SACRAL
I am both sensitive and strong

ROOT
I am filled with humility, I am enough as I am

BIJA (SEED SOUNDS) MANTRAS

MULADHARA – ROOT
lam (lŭm)

SWADHISTHANA – SACRAL
vam (vŭm)

MANIPURA – SOLAR PLEXUS
ram (rŭm)

ANAHATA – HEART
yam (yŭm)

VISHUDDHA – THROAT
ham (hŭm)

AJNA – THIRD-EYE
aum

SAHASRARAS – CROWN CHAKRA
aum

CHAKRA AFFIRMATIONS

MULADHARA – ROOT
I am divinely grounded

SWADHISTHANA – SACRAL
I flow with divine grace in my life

MANIPURA – SOLAR PLEXUS
I stand in my divine willpower

ANAHATA – HEART
I am divine love

VISHUDDHA – THROAT
I speak my inner divine truth

AJNA – THIRD-EYE
I am tuned into my inner divine wisdom

SAHASRARAS – CROWN CHAKRA
I am divine

With the syllable Aum as their sole support, the wise person attains that which is peaceful, unageing, deathless, fearless – the Supreme.
– Atharva Veda, Prasna Upanishad 5.7

The Yogatattva Upanishad states that the five lower chakras are related to the five elements. There are said to be five great elements that make up the world;
earth (prithivi)  ::  water (apas/jala)  ::  fire (tejas/agni)  ::  air (vayu)  ::  ether (akasha)

Each element has a bija mantra associated with it, when this mantra is sounded it resonates in the chakra and purifies the nadis (subtle channels of energy). The nadis the link the higher spiritual aspects of our being with our mind, emotions and our body.
The third eye chakra is created from ‘Mahattva’, the great or supreme element out of which all the other elements are formed. The bija mantra for the Third Eye Chakra is AUM.
The Crown Chakra is beyond all elements and contains all sounds. The mantra AUM is generally used for this chakra as it is the source of all sounds and is the primal cosmic sound Anahata Nada.

BIJA MANTRAS

LAM – Base Chakra
Visualize a square shape in the base chakra. The bija mantra (seed sound) for this chakra is LAM sounded as LANG. The ‘L’ sound in the bija mantra LANG is produced by placing the tongue behind the upper teeth. The mantra is made up of two sounds that are roughly equal in length LA and NG. The duration of the two sounds is the same for all the bija mantras The NG sound is produced with a nasal intonation creating a resonant humming sound half way between an ‘M’ and a ‘N’. The mantra LANG is focused in the base chakra.

VAM – Sacral Chakra
Visualize a circular shape in the sacral chakra. The bija mantra for this chakra is VAM sounded as VANG. The ‘V’ sound in the bija mantra is VANG produced by the lips as though making a ‘FF’ sound before the VA. The mantra VANG is focused in the sacral chakra.

RAM – Solar Plexus Chakra
Visualize a triangular shape in the solar plexus chakra. The bija mantra for this chakra is RAM sounded as RANG. The ‘R’ sound in the bija mantra RANG is produced with the tip of the tongue curling up to touch the roof of the mouth. The main point of concentration when producing this seed sound is on the third chakra. The sound originates from the navel when repeated in a proper manner.

YAM – Heart Chakra
Visualize a six-pointed star in the heart chakra. The bija mantra for this chakra is YAM sounded as YANG. The ‘Y’ sound in the bija mantra YANG is produced with the tongue pressed against the soft palate at the front of the roof of the mouth. The mantra is focused in the heart chakra.

HAM – Throat Chakra
Visualize a crescent shape in the throat chakra. The bija mantra for this chakra is HAM sounded as HANG. The ‘H’ sound in the bija mantra HANG is produced at the back of the throat. The mantra is focused in the throat chakra.

AUM – Third Eye Chakra
Visualize a circle with two petals on either side. The bija mantra AUM is created from three sounds, A, U and M. The mantra AUM is focused in the third eye chakra.

AUM – Crown Chakra
The sounds associated with this chakra are all the vowels and consonants of the Sanskrit alphabet. The mantra AUM can be used for this chakra as it contains all the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet. The bija mantra AUM is sounded in the crown chakra.

LOVING-KINDNESS PRACTICE

Loving-kindness, or metta, as it in called in the Pali language, is unconditional, inclusive love, a love with wisdom. It has no conditions; it does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not; it is not restricted to friends and family; it extends out from personal categories to include all living beings. There are no expectations of anything in return. This is the ideal, pure love, which everyone has in potential. We begin with loving ourselves, for unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it is difficult to extend it to others. Then we include others who are special to us, and, ultimately, all living things. Gradually, both the visualization and the meditation phrases blend into the actual experience, the feeling of loving kindness.

This is a meditation of care, concern, tenderness, loving kindness, friendship–a feeling of warmth for oneself and others. The practice is the softening of the mind and heart, an opening to deeper and deeper levels of the feeling of kindness, of pure love. Loving kindness is without any desire to possess another. It is not a sentimental feeling of goodwill, not an obligation, but comes from a selfless place. It does not depend on relationships, on how the other person feels about us. The process is first one of softening, breaking down barriers that we feel inwardly toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others.

Take a very comfortable posture. One of the aims in this meditation is to feel good, so make your posture relaxed and comfortable. Begin to focus around the solar plexus, your chest area, your “heart center”. Breathe in and out from that area, as if you are breathing from the heart center and as if all experience is happening from there. Anchor your mindfulness only on the sensations at your heart center.

Breathing in and out from the heart center, begin by generating this kind feeling toward yourself. Feel any areas of mental blockage or numbness, self-judgment, self-hatred. Then drop beneath that to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.

Continuing to breathe in and out, use either these traditional phrases or ones you choose yourself. Say or think them several times.

May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.

May I be free of mental suffering or distress.

May I be happy.

May I be free of physical pain and suffering.

May I be healthy and strong.

May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Next, move to a person who most invites the feeling of pure unconditional loving kindness, the love that does not depend on getting anything back. The first person is usually someone we consider a mentor, a benefactor, an elder. It might be a parent, grandparent, teacher, someone toward whom it takes no effort to feel respect and reverence, someone who immediately elicits the feeling of care. Repeat the phrases for this person: “May she be safe and protected….”

After feeling strong unconditional love for the benefactor, move to a person you regard as a dear friend and repeat the phrases again, breathing in and out of your heart center.

Now move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel tenderness, loving care for their welfare.

Now move to someone you have difficulty with–hostile feelings, resentments. Repeat the phrases for this person. If you have difficulty doing this, you can say before the phrases, “To the best of my ability I wish that you be….” If you begin to feel ill will toward this person, return to the benefactor and let the loving kindness arise again. Then return to this person.

Let the phrases spread through your whole body, mind, and heart.

After the difficult person, radiate loving kindness out to all beings. Stay in touch with the ember of warm, tender loving-kindness at the center of your being, and begin to visualize or engender a felt sense of all living beings. The traditional phrases are these:
May all beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all living beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all breathing beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all individuals be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all beings in existence be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously….. 
Allow the phrases to be simply a conduit for the force of loving-kindness. Empower your imagination through the five phrases to touch the hearts of all forms of life in the universe, unconditionally and inclusively. Stay with all beings until you feel a personal sense of the profound interconnectedness of all creatures, all life.

Then you can move on to specific categories of beings:

All females of all species (or the feminine principle of the universe within us all).

All males of all species (or the masculine principle of the universe within us all).

All awakened ones.

All seekers.

All celestial beings.

All humans.

All animals and other beings in difficult places.

The two pairs and the triad above are three more ways of including every being in the universe.

Here is an alternative way to practice this meditation:

Begin with yourself. Calm the mind/heart and find the center of your being. Generate warm, gentle, loving feelings for yourself:

May I be safe from harm.

May I be happy just as I am.

May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.

May I be healthy and strong.

May I care for myself in this ever-changing world graciously, joyously.

From yourself, move out spaciously into your immediate surroundings. Include every living being within this circle:

May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.

Stay within your reach. As you feel your immediate surround fill with the power of loving kindness, move on, expanding the surround in concentric circles until you envelop the entire planet.

Expand your loving kindness until you are able to visualize Earth, spinning within the vast, mysterious universe. If you like, continue expanding the sense of your loving kindness, filling the endless emptiness of the universe.

May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.

That is beautiful which is produced by the inner need . . . which springs from the soul.
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