There are many types of meditation, and whichever you choose, Ayurveda recommends that you practice 20 to 30 minutes in the morning and another 20 to 30 minutes in the evening. Time spent in silence or with nature helps keep the Doshas in balance and can greatly improve your health and outlook on life.
Watching the Breath
Watching the breath is sometimes called “mindfulness” meditation. It is a Buddhist meditation that focuses on the rise and fall of the breath. While the mind is engaged in focusing on your breathing it cannot focus on its usual distractions. In this meditation, your breathing should be gentle and regular. Just allow it to be the place where your mind is focused and enjoy the feeling of witnessing breathing rather than concentrating on it.
This is the basic meditation of Zen Buddhists, for whom the path of enlightenment is everyday life, lived with awareness & totality. Like all meditations, sitting is a tool to help us rediscover the immediacy and freshness of ordinary life, as we did as children. In this meditation, you just sit and allow whatever happens to happen. Your mind will try to distract you with past and present concerns to take you away from fully experiencing the moment. Zen Buddhists believe these transient thoughts are “paper tigers” and that paying attention to them only gives them more energy. In the sitting meditation, you experience the fact that you are not the mind and can ignore its chatter at will. If your mind is particularly rebellious, you can give it a distraction to play with, such as concentrating on the breath. Kaphas, who enjoy the peace and quiet, do very well with the sitting meditation.
Today’s lifestyle is hectic and crazy. We’re constantly bombarded with noise in every way shape and form. The phone, the fax, the pager, the microwave, the computer, the TV, the car radio – everything seems to be fighting for our attention! We need some space, in the form of silence, to keep our sanity. Meditation offers that. It is time for us to just “be.”
When we meditate with other people, the effects are amplified. The vibratory level is raised so that each person participating receives more benefits. And those vibrations actually extend beyond ourselves out into our communities, so that by meditating, we’re not only helping ourselves but helping the world. Meditating with a partner is a wonderful way to spend time together. It is communicating at a higher level, one that is beyond words.
Swami Sivananda said in 1945, “Silence is the language of God.”
Being completely silent with someone is an intimate experience. You can tell how close you feel with someone by how much time you spend together in silence. If you are aware of those “awkward pauses” and like you need to fill up the space with conversation, then you probably don’t feel like you can let your guard down with that person.
Try spending one whole day, either by yourself, or with a loved one, in complete silence. This means no talking, but also, no TV, no radio, no reading – reading is still mental activity, you’re listening to the writer’s words in your head. The idea is tune in to your inner wisdom. To be quiet for long enough to hear, and pay attention to, the intelligence of the universe.