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Meditation

Walking Meditation: How To Perform It Properly And Why?

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In this article, I want to share the practical aspects of walking meditation. I will share with you how, where and when the practice of walking meditation is the most effective. In this article, you will find practical recommendations of walking meditation, as well as tips on how to form a quality mind that will lead to concentration, insight, and wisdom through physical activity in walking meditation.

Walking Meditation And Buddha

Buddha emphasized that mindfulness can be developed in four basic meditation postures: standing, sitting, lying, and walking. He encouraged us to be aware of these postures in order to form a clear awareness and remembrance of what we were doing while in one position or another.

The ancient Bodhi tree grows in the Indian village of Bodh Gaya. According to legend, it was under that tree that the Buddha attained enlightenment. Nearby you can see a path length of 17 steps. The Buddha used that path for his walking meditations.

In his teachings, the Buddha has repeatedly said that it is important to develop clarity of consciousness constantly, no matter what position your body is in: you sit or stand, lie or even walk – for the practice of meditation, you can and should use any moment. The lives of monks and nuns of the Buddha’s time show that many of them reached different levels of spiritual realization through meditation while walking.

Find Your Own Way

Some people find that they are particularly drawn to walking meditation because they find it easier and more natural than sitting meditation. When they sit down, they feel too lethargic or tense or easily get distracted. Their minds do not calm down. If the same thing happens in your case – do not persist. Try something else, like changing your posture. Do something different. Experiment with standing meditation or try walking meditation. This new posture during meditation can give you other skillful means of applying the mind. All four postures of meditation are simple techniques that you can use for the development and training of your consciousness.

Try and develop meditation while walking and you will be able to see its benefits.

In the forest meditation tradition of northeastern Thailand, monks put a special emphasis on walking meditations. Monks spend many hours walking to develop concentration. Sometimes ten or fifteen hours a day!

Ajahn Singtong spent so much time meditating while walking that he trampled a furrow in the meditation path. There was a hollow in the sandy path, for he walked many hours a day – sometimes fifteen or more!

The Five Benefits Of Walking Meditation

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Buddha spoke of the five benefits of walking meditation. If you take them in the order in which they are considered in the suttas, it turns out that walking meditation:

  • develops endurance when taking long walks;
  • is good for diligence;
  • good for health;
  • it is good for digestion;
  • promotes concentration that lasts for a long time.

Now let’s take a closer look at walking meditation benefits!

#1 Development of endurance

The first benefit of walking meditation is that it promotes endurance over long walking distances. This was especially important in Buddha’s time when most people traveled on foot. Buddha himself often traveled, moving from place to place. He, therefore, advised walking meditation as a method of developing physical fitness and endurance over long walking distances.

The forest monks still roam. They take the Cup, the robes, and wander in search of secluded places to meditate. As a preparation for the journey, they are constantly increasing the amount of meditation when walking, to develop, among other things, physical fitness and endurance. They increase the amount of such meditation to five or six hours a day.

#2 Development of diligence

During sitting meditation, many meditators are faced with the fact that every time they drown in calm states, they may become too “calm” and unconscious, which leads to sleep or even snoring. Time passes quickly in such a meditation, but they do not have any clarity or vigilance, although it feels peaceful. Without mindfulness and alertness, meditation can become dull.

If you are one of those who can fall asleep during meditation then you should consider practicing walking meditation. Walking back and forth, meditating, will help you to overcome drowsiness. You will not be able to fall asleep while you are walking!

#3 It’s Good for your health

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Buddha said that walking meditation promotes good health. This is the third benefit.

We all know that walking is considered a good form of physical exercise. When we practice meditation while walking we are actually performing a physical and mental exercise. So walking can be good exercise and a way to develop the mind. But in order to get such benefits, it is necessary to bring awareness into the walking process, instead of just walking and letting the mind wander in thoughts and emotions.

#4 It’s good for digestion

The fourth benefit of walking meditation is that it is good for digestion. This is especially important for monks who eat just once a day. After eating, the blood rushes to the stomach and its outflow from the brain occurs. Therefore, you feel drowsy.

The forest monks emphasize that walking meditation should be practiced for several hours after eating, as walking back and forth promotes digestion.

When you have had a hearty lunch, instead of going to sleep, it is better to meditate for an hour while walking. This will help physical health and give a chance to develop the mind.

#5 Promotes prolonged concentration

The fifth advantage of walking meditation is that the concentration resulting from such meditation lasts for a long time.

When we practice sitting meditation, it is very easy to maintain the posture. All we need to do is just close our eyes and reject the stimuli that come through sight. We don’t bother with any bodily movements. Therefore, in comparison to walking meditation, sitting meditation is a much more refined posture in terms of the involved activity.

When we walk, we get a lot of sensory information. We look where we are going, so we get visual information, and we also get information because of body movement. Therefore, if we can focus the mind while walking and receiving all this sensory information, then when we change this posture to a more refined one, the concentration will be easier to hold.

In other words, when we sit down, the power of the mind and the power of this concentration easily flow into this refined posture. So, if you develop concentration only in a sitting position, when you get up and begin to perform bodily movements, such as walking, it is more difficult to maintain this state of concentration. This is because you go from the subtle to more physical. Therefore, walking meditation can help to develop strength and clarity of mind and concentration, which can make other, less active, meditation poses even better.

Preparation For Walking Meditation

Suitable Place

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Remember that walking is a stimulating posture, and initially, the mind will often wander. Beginners are best to start with shorter tracks. Fifteen steps would be enough. If you are going to do it outside, then find a secluded place where you will not be distracted and disturbed.

It would be great to find a track that is a little hidden. If you walk in an open space where there is a beautiful view, it can distract you – since your mind would be thinking about the view. The hidden territory is especially preferable for those who think too much. This will help you to calm your mind. If the path is hidden, it will help to direct the mind inward and calm down. Oppositely, if the path is open and provides a view then your mind will be directed outward which doesn’t match to meditation purposes.

Mind And Body Preparation

Once you have found a suitable place, stand at the beginning of the track. Straighten up. Place your right hand on your left palm in front of you. Do not walk with your hands folded behind your back because this posture represents a simple walk but not meditation!

The main purpose of walking meditation is to develop Samadhi which requires diligence. The Pali word “Samadhi” means focusing the mind, bringing it into a state of unidirectionality through the gradual development of the stages of awareness and concentration. To focus the mind, one must be diligent and determined.

First of all, it requires a certain degree of physical and mental concentration. You start by folding your hands in front of you. The concentration of the body promotes the concentration of the mind.

Thus, to establish a concentration of the body, one should stand up, establish awareness and mindfulness in relation to the body. Then you have to raise your hands together in Ajali (a gesture of respect). Close your eyes and focus your mind on the qualities of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

After that, put your hands in front of you and establish a determination in your mind in terms of how much you are going to walk: half an hour, an hour or more. Go strictly as much as you decide. So you will train your mind in this initial stage of meditation with zeal, inspiration, and faith.

It is important to remember to look down (about 5 feet ahead of you) while performing walking meditation. Don’t look around. Maintain awareness on the sensation of your feet touching the ground. In this way, you will develop a more refined awareness, a clear knowledge of walking while performing walking meditation.

Mindfulness To Walking Posture

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In this technique, while walking, you direct all your attention to your feet, to the sensations and feelings as they arise and disappear. Be aware of this feeling with your whole foot. As the foot rises again, note this new sensation in your mind. When you lift each foot and step forward, concentrate on the sensations that occur. With each new step, new sensations will be experienced, and the old ones will cease. All this should be realized. With each step a new sensation is experienced – this sensation arises and disappears; arises and disappears again.

In this method we direct attention to the sensation of walking itself as each step is taken. We should notice what type of sensations and feelings arises on your feet.

When we stand, we experience a sensation, a feeling, a contact with the ground. This contact can produce pain, heat, or other sensations. We direct our conscious attention to these sensations, fully cognizing them. When we lift the foot to take a step, the sensation changes as soon as the foot lifts off the ground. As you walk the feeling is constantly changing, new ones appear. We consciously note this emergence and disappearance of sensations as the foot lifts off the ground and touches it again. Thus, we keep full attention simply on the sensations arising when walking.

Have you ever paid attention to the sensations in the foot while walking?

They happen every time we walk, but usually, in life, we don’t notice these subtle things. When we walk, our mind wanders somewhere. Walking meditation is a way to simplify what we do when we do it. We affirm the mind in the here and now. We simplify everything, we calm the mind by simply knowing the emergence and disappearance of sensations.

How fast are you walking?

It is advised walking naturally, not too fast, not too slow. If you walk fast, you may find it very difficult to focus on the feelings that arise and fade. Maybe you need to slow down a bit. On the other hand, some people might be better off speeding up. Everyone is different. You need to find your own pace that would suit you. At first, you can walk slowly, and gradually move to a natural pace of walking.

If your awareness is weak (that is, your mind often wanders), walk very slowly until you can stay in the present moment with each step. Start by establishing awareness at the beginning of the track. When you get to the middle, ask yourself, ” Where is my mind? Does it know the sensation in my feet? Do I feel a touch here and now, in the present moment?”. If the mind has run away, bring it back to the sensation in the foot and continue walking.

When you reach the end, slowly turn around, re-establish awareness. Where is the mind? Does it know the sensation in your feet? As a rule, the mind rushes in search of thoughts of vanity, fear, happiness, sadness, anxiety, doubt, pleasure, disappointment, and so on. It wanders in a multitude of all the thoughts that can arise.

Awareness

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If awareness of the object of meditation is absent, then first set it again, and then start walking back. Establish the mind again on the simple knowledge of the act of walking, and then begin to walk back to the other end of the path. When you reach the middle, note: “I am in the middle of the path”. Then, when you reach the end of the track, note: “Where is the mind?”. This is how you go back and forth, being aware of the arising and disappearing sensations. As you walk, constantly reset your awareness, bringing the mind back, directing it inward, becoming aware, seeing sensations at every moment of their occurrence and disappearance.

As we maintain awareness of the sensations and feelings in our feet, we will notice that the mind has become less distracted. The mind will be less and less inclined to external things happening around us. We will become calmer. The mind will calm down as it is established.

When your mind calms down, you will want the movements to stop. Stop, stand still, let the mind experience this state of peace and quiet. If the mind has become very refined while walking, you may find that it is simply impossible to continue walking. Walking implies a willful decision to walk, and your mind is too focused on the object of meditation. Stop on the path and continue your meditation in a standing position. Meditation involves working with the mind, not with posture. A physical posture is simply a convenient tool that serves for perfecting the mind work.

Concentration And Calm

Concentration and calm go hand in hand with mindfulness. When the mind is calm in meditation, there will be a feeling of joy, delight, and bliss due to this calmness. The Buddha said that the bliss of peace is the greatest happiness and the concentrated mind experiences this peace.

This peace can be experienced in this very life. By developing the walking meditation practice we can integrate it into everyday life. For example, when we go to the store, from room to room, etc. we can use this active movement as meditation. We can be conscious of just the fact that we are going somewhere and the process of walking can be our walking meditation. When we are practicing walking meditation in our everyday life our minds become silent and calm. This is the way to develop concentration and peace in everyday life.

From Sitting Meditation To Walking Meditation

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If during sitting meditation the mind becomes peaceful with the help of some object of meditation, then use the same object for your walking meditation.

However, in the case of some subtle objects of meditation, such as breathing, the mind must first acquire some degree of stability and calmness. If it is not calm yet, but you start walking, focusing on the breath, then it will be very difficult for you to perform a walking meditation, because the breath is a very subtle object. Therefore, it is better, to begin with, a coarser object – for example, with sensations and feelings arising in the feet.

There are many different objects of meditation that will help to move well from sitting to walking. For example, kindness, compassion, equanimity, etc. As you walk back and forth, develop the broadest thoughts based on kindness: “May all beings be happy. May all beings be at peace. May all beings be free from suffering.” You can use walking in addition to sitting meditation, developing the practice on the same object, but in a different position.

Mantras

If during walking meditation you notice that you are falling into drowsiness, then you need to cheer up the mind, not calm it down. Use the mantra to make it more focused and alert. Quietly repeat the mantra to yourself. If the mind is still wandering, start saying the mantra very quickly, and start walking more quickly. As you walk, repeat the mantra. Thus, the mind will be able to focus quickly.

The Bottom Line

When you decide to perform walking meditation you need to remember that what matters is not how many hours we spent on meditation, but how good it was. If your mind wandered while walking back and forth, you were not meditating. It is the quality of the mind that matters, not the amount of meditation we do.

Every aspect of our lives is an opportunity for meditation. Meditation is not just sitting on a pillow. All the processes of life are opportunities for us to explore reality. We make an effort to know things as they really are, that is, to know that they arise and disappear.

In the forest tradition, when a meditation teacher comes to a monastery, almost the first place he goes is to check the monastic meditation paths to see how many footprints there are. If the paths are well-trodden, it is considered a sign of a good monastery. Let your spiritual path always be well-trodden!


Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Meditation

Deep Meditation: 5 Easy Steps To Transcendental Experience

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No other practice can do more to bring us personal freedom in our daily life than deep meditation. It brings us to eternal and unshakable inner silence and expands our experience of life to be unending happiness, joy, and bliss.

In this article, I will share with you what deep meditation is and how you can start this transcendental practice.

The Essence Of Deep Meditation

To dive deeper into the essence of deep meditation, I will answer the most common questions the beginners usually ask.

What Is Deep Meditation?

Deep meditation is a mental practice that transfers your mind from surface awareness to subtle awareness, and ultimately to no awareness. During this practice, your mind travels through the various degrees of awareness and your body becomes calm and relaxed.

What Is The Difference Between Deep Meditation And Regular Meditation?

Regular meditation is characterized by focused attention and relatively short periods of mental silence. Whereas deep meditation focuses and directs the energy of a person in a special way – it goes beyond the physical consciousness and allows you to achieve complete silence in your thoughts.

The main distinguishing feature of deep meditation compared to regular meditation is that the final state of deep meditation excludes the presence of an object.

What Meditation Practices Are Considered Deep Meditations?

A good example of deep meditation is Shikantaza. This is a sitting meditation in the Buddhist tradition. It is designed to train pure perception. Shikantaza doesn’t involve concentrating on an object, such as your breath or a mantra. It is an “objectless meditation,” where you focus on everything you experience – thoughts, sounds, feelings – without attaching to any of them.

Another great example is the Nadabrahma. This is a so-called “humming meditation”. Through humming and hand movements, conflicting parts of you start falling in tune, and you bring harmony to your whole being. Then, with body and mind totally together, you “slip out of their hold” and become a witness to both. This observation from the outside is what brings peace, silence, and bliss.

What Are The Benefits Of Deep Meditation?

The practice of deep meditation can help you to:

  1. Raise your vibrations;
  2. Gain a sense of oneness with the whole world;
  3. Recognize and feel the energetic nature of the world;
  4. Develop empathy, compassion, and love;
  5. Go beyond time;
  6. Hear the voice of your intuition;
  7. Gain access to the field of unlimited Universal potential;
  8. Learn to communicate with spirit guides;
  9. Go beyond your own body;
  10. Reconnect with your Higher Self;
  11. Recharge your energy body;
  12. Cleanse your aura;
  13. Become more loving, joyful, calm, and grateful;
  14. Renew the lost interest in life;
  15. Heal the body and calm the mind;
  16. Rejuvenate the cells;
  17. Get rid of anxiety and fears;
  18. Calm down and become more balanced and peaceful;
  19. Increase your concentration abilities;
  20. Discover your purpose in life and open up your inner poterntial.

5 Steps To Deepen Your Meditation

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#1: Define Your Intention

Deep meditation requires setting your intention for the practice. Your motivation is the fuel for your daily efforts. Formulate your intention before you begin your journey into the mysterious world of deep meditation.

Ask yourself, why do you want to meditate? Is your goal to just relax and calm your mind or you want to go farther and achieve spiritual transformation? Find an honest answer and stick with this intention. Remember that success in meditation practice depends on your commitment and consistency!

#2: Determine the Time

It is very important to determine what time suits best for your meditation practices. Some people like to meditate during Brahma Muhurta time, others are getting the maximum benefit from the evening practices. There is no “right” time for meditation since it’s very individual. Choose a period of time when no one can distract you. Disconnect from the outside world to hear the inner silence.

#3: Create a Calm Atmosphere

Be sure to prepare for practice – it’s like a warm-up before a workout in the gym. Ventilate the room, close the curtains, or dim the electric lighting. It is good to light candles, they will help create a meditative atmosphere.

#4: Use Incense And Essential Oils

Incense has been used for centuries in spiritual practices of different cultures. The essential oil of incense helps to clear and calm the mind, connect with your inner self.

Experiment with different scents and choose the one that responds to you. Here are some good options to start with:

Grapefruit aroma calms thoughts, eliminates emotional and energetical blocks, fills the mind with inspiration, and provokes creative impulses.

Lavender calms and balances the work of all energy centers (chakras) and subtle bodies, clarifies the mind, and promotes enlightenment. It is most often used for meditation practices.

Sandalwood grounds, immerses you in the “here and now” moment, sets up a deeply spiritual work.

Any of these essential oils can be used for burning in an essential oil burner or mixed with a base oil and applied to the temples, wrists, elbows, or feet.

#5: Take A Comfortable Body Position

Pay special attention to the position of the body during the practice. At first, it is not necessary to sit strictly in the Lotus position if you are uncomfortable, but if you sit on the sofa or lie in bed, you will not achieve good results in your meditation practice.

You can sit on a chair or a special meditation chair. Sit down so that your hips are parallel to the floor and your feet are firmly on the floor. It is important to feel the contact with the “ground”. Therefore, make sure that your feet are touching a solid surface.

Straighten your back. Pull the top of your head towards the sky, and lower your chin slightly. Place your tongue on the upper palate behind your front teeth. This is how you harmonize the circulation of energy along the energy meridians.

When you sit straight with your legs crossed, and your hands on your knees, energy can flow freely through the energy centers and meridians of your body. This position is perfect for deep meditation.

3 Keys To Deep Meditation

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Now that you know the essence and steps to deep meditation, let me share with you 3 important keys that will help you to achieve a deep state.

Key #1: Calm your body and mind

Before you start your meditation practice, sit down, give yourself a minute to remember the intention of your practice, and take several deep breaths. As you breathe, immerse yourself in the present moment. On the inhale, visualize how white light is filling up your body. On the exhale, feel how any pressures or worries are leaving your body and mind.

Key #2: Find a place of contentment and joy within yourself

Our brain is designed to seek pleasure and reject pain. Therefore, before you start practicing deep meditation, try finding a place of contentment and joy within yourself. Once your brain has received the message that you are safe and all is well, restlessness and anxiety naturally decrease.

To help your brain feel safe, you can repeat a positive affirmation, such as “Right here, right now, I feel happy and content.” Also, you can remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for.

Key #3: Focus And Concentration

For a successful deep meditation practice, it is essential to rediscover your focus. Rather than remaining attached to the past or worrying about the future, by focusing on the breath and going deeper and deeper into mindful awareness, we enjoy every gift and experience that’s available for us right now. As we are deepening our meditation, we are also training our minds to fully appreciate what is happening in the NOW moment. As we progress, the mind will be able to focus better, and with less effort.

Joy (piti) and happiness (sukha) are two of the five factors of meditative absorption (jhanna). The more you learn to open up and enjoy your meditation practice, the fewer reasons there are for the mind to get restless thinking of other things.

Finishing The Practice

Get out of your meditation gently, not hurriedly. Gently move your fingers and neck, and then open your eyes. Gentle transition helps you bring your meditative experience into your daily life.

Also, it is very beneficial for your practice to write a meditation journal. Each time after finishing your meditation, take some notes about how your practice went. Journaling develops a greater understanding of meditation experiences, feelings, and visions you may have during the practice.

The Bottom Line

Doing deep meditation is an excellent tool for immersing yourself in the present moment, relaxing our bodies, and clearing our minds. Deep meditation helps us to reconnect with our Higher Selves, unify with the Universal consciousness, and feel our Divine nature.

Main picture credit: https://www.instagram.com/limitlessmindgames


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Meditation

Japa Meditation: Mysterious Journey Of Overcoming Inner Darkness

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Japa meditation is a powerful technique for focusing the mind and harnessing the subtle energies in completing the yogic path of self-transformation. According to the Kularnava Tantra: “Japa is so-called because it removes the sin accumulated in thousands of lives and because it reveals the Supreme Deity.” By the greatest “sin,” it means ignorance of our own true nature.

Japa meditation helps to produce positive mental tracks, helping us to gradually overcome spiritual darkness and reach enlightenment.

In this article, we will share with you what Japa meditation is, what its benefits are, and how to properly and effectively practice it.

What Is Japa Meditation?

Japa is a Sanskrit word which means the meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name. This practice found in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Shintoism.

The goal of Japa may vary depending on the mantra involved and the spiritual philosophy of the practitioner. In both, Buddhist and Hindu traditions, mantras are given to aspirants by their gurus, after some form of initiation. The stated goal could be moksha, nirvana, bhakti, or simple personal communion with divine power.

The repetitions of the mantra are counted using a string of beads known as a Japa mala. Many different types of materials can be used for Japa. The number of beads in the Japa mala is generally 108. Some people wear Japa beads around their neck, although some practitioners prefer to carry them in a bead-bag in order to keep them clean.

After long use of a mantra that is intended to achieve self-realization or connection with divine power, an individual may reach a state of ajapajapam when the mantra “repeats itself” in the mind.

Japa meditation is one of the most popular and basic techniques of meditation which is suitable for all beginners. However, it is recommended to start chanting mantras in the presence of a spiritual mentor.

Degrees Of Loudness In Japa Practice

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Japa may be performed in different degrees of loudness:

  • Vaikhari Japa is spoken loud enough so that, although this is not why it is so loud, nearby people can hear it recited. It may be useful when there are other sounds nearby or when concentration is difficult.
  • Upamshu Japa is said quietly, at a whisper. During such practice, the practitioner’s lips should barely move so it is difficult for an observer to see that anything is being said.
  • Manasika Japa is recited in the mind. Such practice is difficult to practice for those who are not already grounded in Vaikhari Japa practice.

As you can see, Japa can be practiced aloud, by whispering, or mentally. Mental recitation is considered to be the most powerful. Most beginners are taught to start with Vaikhari or alternate between loud and whispered recitation. Hearing the mantric sound gives the brain helpful feedback for staying mindful and focused. Mindfulness is the key to successful Japa meditation. Mindless recitation is unproductive and considered to be a waste of time.

The Essence Of Japa

All the systems of our organs are closely connected to each other, just as our soul is connected at one end to the brain and the material body, and at the other end to cosmic consciousness.

Certain words cause vibrations in matter and space that coincide with our own vibrations, so a person after meditation finds peace and harmony. Harmony is the main goal of meditation.

The term “harmony” came from music where multiple voices singing at the same time, create secondary vibrations – harmony. The same thing happens during meditation – the spirit excites vibrations that are close in frequency to those in its body and soul and forms a symphonic aura around itself – streams of energy.

Here is the simplest example of how vibrations can change our state. The sound of a bell or music box is soft and warm, and you can fall asleep to it, gradually dissolving into your thoughts. The sound of a car horn is sharp and disturbing because it’s based on dissonance – two incongruous sounds.

Every day we face the dissonance around us.

When a person in high spirits runs into an energy vampire or a negative person, a negative vibration that a negative person radiates does not hurt him, since his warm positive vibrations do not resonate with cold negativity. This is the dissonance that the Japa meditation practice helps to smooth out.

Stages Of Japa Journey

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According to practitioners and mentors, Japa practice is a fascinating journey, like a colored dream. Let’s examine this mysterious process in stages.

Stage 1

The first part of the journey is like a dream. Your consciousness gradually leaves the body, while the muscles still hold the pose.

Stage 2

The second stage occurs when the mind draws images. You can see silhouettes, colored clouds, and the shapes of animals or birds that often appear to newcomers after diving into practice.

Stage 3

The third stage is a deep dive. An adept of Japa clearly sees the difference between the material world and the spirit world. Contact with higher forces is established. There is no barrier between the mind and the astral world. You can travel through space, communicate with spirits, friends, or be in a deep trance, completely ignoring everything around you.

Stage 4

The fourth stage is the truth. Many beginners confuse it with spiritual awakening. All the impressions, emotions, and experiences of a person are imprinted inside him at one moment. This feeling fills him and gives him strength and calm. After receiving the Truth, you can either leave the spirit world or stay in it. The truth only visits a person once in a single session.

During the Japa meditation, a person with closed eyes reciting mantras. His focus is so strong that he cannot hear any extraneous sounds.

Scientists are puzzling over the answer to the question: who comes to people during Japa meditation? Why do rosaries work this way? Why do different types of wood provide different effects? But not everything lends itself to science and cold analysis. But Japa can only be understood by practicing it, fully believing in it, and being purified.

Who Can Practice Japa Meditation?

Japa meditation is suitable for both men and women, people at any age, regardless of whether they have any health problems and the kind of lifestyle they lead.

For some, it will be an unusual feeling, for some – salvation from the daily hustle and bustle. If you follow all the recommendations of the mentor, it will definitely not cause harm.

Japa Meditation Benefits

There are many benefits of Japa meditation you’ll discover once you start practicing it. Here are 6 of them:

  1. Improves concentration and focus – it utilizes multiple points of focus, such as the breath, the mantra, and the touch, and movement of the mala beads;
  2. Reduces stress and calms the mind by activating the slower brainwave states of Alpha (focus and learning), Theta (creativity and intuition), and Delta (healing and calming);
  3. Reduces blood pressure, slows down the heart rate, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke;
  4. Cultivates positive emotions, such as kindness, compassion, and empathy by activating the areas of the brain associated with these emotions;
  5. Reduces negative thoughts and improves mood – by reciting sacred Sanskrit syllables you replace negative thinking with new positive patterns in your mind;
  6. Increases shakti, inner power, and inner strength – by reciting mantras you establish a deep spiritual connection with your higher self and activate shakti energy.

Japa Practice

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When practicing Japa you need to be fully concentrated on the essence of the chosen mantra.

For your practice, you will need Japa Mala beads, preferably made of Tulasi or Neem trees (Shaivites use Mala beads made of Rudraksha). Hindus believed that these trees have a special energy and supernatural power.

The most common mantras used for Japa practice are:

OM (AUM)

This is a sacred sound that signifies the essence of the ultimate reality, consciousness, or Atman. The OM Mantra chanting produces the vibration that reduces stress and relaxes your body, normalizes your blood pressure, and slows down the heart rhythm. It purifies the environment around you and creates positive vibrations.

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

This is a very powerful mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shiva mantra brings changes in all spheres of human life, activating the energy of the Universe. Its practice has a beneficial effect on health, it purifies the aura and space around the person, and attracts positive energy.

The very process of chanting “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA” calms the mind, stops thoughts, leads to Samadhi, and gives liberation. Unlike other mantras, giving temporary wealth, prosperity, siddhi, love, etc., Shiva Mantra bestows eternal good – Satchitananda (being/truth, knowledge/consciousness, bliss) and liberation.

OM MANI PADME HUM

This is the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra particularly associated with the Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

It is usually translated to mean “The Jewel Is In The Lotus”. The “jewel” is a pure state of mind, or enlightenment, while the “lotus” is a symbol for wisdom. This mantra reminds us that wisdom leads to enlightenment.

According to Buddhist traditions, reciting this mantra can help aid you on the path to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama consistently praises its power to purify the mind and cultivate inner wisdom.

HARE KRISHNA

The main benefit of this sacred mantra is that its regular listening and chanting clears the heart from negative emotions and from bad habits and lust.

Other important benefits of the Hare Krishna Mantra are:

  • it takes away all worries;
  • gives joy, happiness, harmony, and positive energy;
  • destroys evil and ignorance;
  • opens up new knowledge and wisdom;
  • takes away sorrow, sadness, and misfortune;
  • awakens love for all beings;
  • illuminates with light;
  • helps in the treatment of heart disease;
  • has a rejuvenating effect;
  • relieves addictions to intoxicating and narcotic substances.

The Text Of The Hare Krishna Mantra:

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA
KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA HARE HARE

Group Meditations

If there are people who are close to you in spirit, they can practice Japa meditation with you.

For a successful group meditation, all participants need to prepare properly. If even one person in 10 will be unprepared that will reduce the overall effectiveness of the session.

It is not necessary to be in the same room while practicing Japa group meditation, since physical contact is not a fundamental factor in this practice.

When practicing Japa group meditation, it is better to do it all together. However, if your group meditation includes experienced and beginners – you can try to chant in turn.

Do not be afraid – if your intentions are pure and your mind is open – the spirit and higher powers will certainly notice this and eventually will respond.

Contraindications

6 Steps to Start a Meditation Practice Image

Despite the fact that Japa meditation is absolutely safe, there could be negative spiritual and karmic consequences if you use this practice for:

  • selfish and egoistic interests or profit;
  • causing other people harm/evil.

If you have any difficulties in setting your intention for the practice or choosing the correct mantra, consult with a mentor, perhaps he will reduce the complexity of your mantras or advise easier practice.

How To Perform Japa Meditation

Do not listen to music, read books or magazines, or have serious conversations a few hours before a Japa meditation session. There is nothing wrong with the information itself, but the impressions it leaves can interfere with the process of clearing the mind or establishing contact with the higher consciousness.

To prepare for Japa meditation you need:

  • to relax;
  • turn off the light in the room;
  • take a comfortable pose;
  • fully focus your attention on the lightest moment in your life – in this state, the soul is maximally open and prepared for contact.

You can start reciting mantras by turning the Mala beads in your hands.

After completing the rite, do not break the connection abruptly. You need to say goodbye to the spirits and smoothly return to the material world. If you accidentally ended the session, it is better to go back and end it according to the rules.

Return to the next meditation only when the impressions of the previous one have faded, so as not to disturb the spirits too often. They also need rest.

If you’re chanting mantras out loud, make sure the sound of your voice will not be mistaken for aggression by the spirits. Your voice should express sincere joy and pure intentions.

Before practicing Japa meditation, consult with your mentor for compatibility of Japa with your astral body or with diseases that you have;

Do not rush and do not chase results. Keep your focus on practice and your feelings.

Mantra Chanting Rules:

  • do not touch the Mala beads with your left hand during mantra practice;
  • make sure your right hand is clean;
  • your index finger should not touch the Mala beads;
  • before performing the mantra chanting, you should take off your headdress;
  • you should not be distracted when chanting the mantra;
  • you can’t recite the mantra naked.

The Bottom Line

Just like for any spiritual practice you should commit to a few weeks of regular Japa meditation practice so you can experience the full results. Japa meditation can greatly build-up your life force with the help of the mantras but it also requires regular practice for the results to last. It is advisable to stay with one mantra, rather than jump from one to another, which would only dissipate the mantric energy. Keep your focus on your pure intention and remember that self-transformation is a journey rather than a final goal. Focus on the joy it brings and don’t chase the results!


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Meditation

Inner Smile Meditation: Taoist Technique For Raising Your Vibration

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Inner smile meditation image

Regular practice of the Inner Smile meditation leads to calming the mind, developing concentration, getting rid of all types of depression, and creates a powerful healing and rejuvenating potential. This meditation is a powerful tool that helps transform negative emotional energies into positive virtues, higher vibration, improved health, and a more balanced person.

Tao and Smile

Tao practitioners have noted that the energy of a smile has a high and positive level of vibration. When we smile, joy and wellbeing radiate from our eyes and our energy feels soft and welcoming. Smiling is a universal language that extends compassion to others, without the need or use of words. An open smile offers positive energy and speaks directly to the hearts of others. When we radiate a genuine smile, it opens our Anahata chakra and stimulates warmth deep within us.

Taoists believe that when done consciously, smiling can be literally a healing practice. They have discovered that there is a connection between emotional energies and organ systems. They developed methods to transform negative emotions to positive from their practical and intuitive understanding of the human body. Many of the Taoist teachings are supported by observations and evidence from modern psychology and medicine.

Taoists believe in the power of healing energy generated from a smile. When we smile, our eyes transmit this energetic force outward to others. Similarly, when turned inward, a smile can help us heal ourselves.

The Inner Smile meditation is a Taoist technique that focuses on five organs or organ systems: the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver/gall bladder, and the stomach/spleen. This meditation also helps to remove the consequences of stress and psychological trauma. Early Taoist texts suggest that maintaining a constant inner smile ensured health, happiness, and long life.

Inner Smile Meditation as a Self-Love Tool

Self-Love Quotes Image

The Inner Smile meditation is a wonderful self-love and self-care tool which helps us to become more connected with ourselves and feel more loved.

When you smile to yourself, you become your own best friend. Befriending your inner self helps you feel more grounded, settled, and stable no matter what else goes on around you. It helps you to find inner harmony that cultivates contentment.

The Inner Smile meditation will help you to become more conscious of what your organs do for you and establish a loving relationship with them. You will become more grateful to these faithful servants who keep us alive and healthy. That will make you stop taking your organs for granted and start appreciating them more.

Each of us should always keep in mind how amazing your body is, how intelligent and kind it is to you, what an incredible job it does to keep you alive! Without this attitude, you will eventually become sick and emotionally imbalanced.

Organs affected by emotions

According to Mantak Chia’s teachings, the health of our organs can be affected by negative emotions we feel. Based on this connection between negative emotions and the health of the organs, let us share with you the five major organ systems and their associated emotions and properties.

#1: The heart

The health of our heart can be affected by such negative emotions as arrogance and hate, and such positive virtues as kindness and love. Recent scientific research shows that feelings of love and appreciation strongly affect the heart’s rhythm and its relationship to the body’s physiological systems.

#2: The lungs

The health of our lungs can be affected by such negative emotions as sadness and depression, and such positive virtues as courage and righteousness.

#3: The kidneys

The health of the kidneys can be affected by fear and such positive emotions as gentleness and kindness.

#4: The liver

The health of the liver can be affected by anger and such positive emotions as generosity and forgiveness.

#5: The stomach/spleen

The health of the stomach/spleen can be affected by such negative emotions as worry, mistrust, and anxiety, and such positive emotions as fairness, trust, and openness.

The Inner Smile meditation directs our attention to the body’s organs and associated qualities. When practicing this meditation, we visualize each organ, cleansing it, and transforming negative emotional energies into positive virtues.

The Inner Smile Meditation

According to the Taoist tradition, each person assumes responsibility for the emotions that arise within, regardless of the external events that trigger the emotions. The Inner Smile meditation takes us into our bodies and transforms emotions by transforming the associated physiological systems. It helps us balance and integrate our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, promoting health, resilience, and vitality.

Below is a variation of the traditional Inner Smile meditation which helps you direct the energy of a smile into any part of your body.

Instructions:

  1. Sit comfortably near the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. Stay relaxed, and clasp your palms together in your lap. Press your tongue against the upper palate of your mouth.
  2. Close your eyes and become aware of the soles of your feet. Feel their connection to the Earth.
  3. Create a source of smiling energy up to three feet in front of you. You can just visualize an image of your own smiling face or any memory of a time in which you felt deeply at peace. It can be anything – feeling of sunshine, being by the ocean, or walking in a forest.
  4. Focus on the midpoint between your eyebrows. Draw that abundant smiling energy to that area. Let your forehead relax. Feel how the smiling energy accumulates at the mid-eyebrow until it eventually overflows into your body.
  5. Visualize this smiling, warm energy moving throughout your entire body. It comforts and heals your muscles, joints, and internal organs. Take your time. Visualize each organ being soothed by this smiling, warm energy.
  6. After you have spent time connecting with and smiling into your organs and muscles, focus on the sensations in your body. Perhaps you feel energized, content, or warm. Allow the smile to drift where it wants. Or you can also direct it to any place you’re feeling discomfort.
  7. Continue visualizing the warm and golden essence of that smile within your body. Bring your awareness back to any place you may have missed, or any place you’d like to heal, and let it flow over and through your organs and soft tissue. Imagine this warm, smiling energy spreading throughout your entire body.
  8. When you’re ready to bring the meditation to a close, focus on the feeling of peace and contentment in your body by placing your hands over your heart. Take several deep breaths and simply relax. Now it’s time to release any visualizations, images, or thoughts, and simply be, without thinking or doing.

The Bottom Line

Try to practice this meditation every morning as soon as you wake up. This will charge you with positive energy for the whole day. Love for your body will help you love yourself and other people more, and feel full of vital energy.

When you feel pain or/and discomfort in any part of your body, in any of your organs — smile at these parts of the body, talk to them, tell them how grateful you are for such a wonderful job they’re doing, get a response from them.

Also, practice the Inner Smile meditation during times of stress, irritation, fear, or depression. Smile at the parts of your body that are experiencing tension and pressure, and you will gradually feel the negative energy being converted into the positive force of vital energy.

The energy of a smile can turn the energy of negative emotions into vital energy that will heal and rejuvenate all organs and tissues. Therefore smile as often as possible!


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