Meditators are advised to take a Vow of Harmlessness. Nothing which is stated or implied herein can be taken as advice to harm anyone, by word or deed. Harming others or ones self is contrary to this path.
Here is how I meditate. The process involves two very different styles, which are done in alternation. The first style is referred to as “sensuous breathing”, and the second style as “gaps”.
Sensuous breathing involves breathing with the entire body, by constant gentle flexing motions, a continuous ebb and flow, like ocean waves on a beach. This practice is performed as background to whatever else is happening, so it is not a process of exclusion of other events. On the contrary, this practice creates attention to the entire flow of events, by reducing the usual addiction to thinking, and by creating a center in real physical sensations. Don’t force the natural breath pattern to change, this can be risky. There is no effort made to slow the rate of breathing, or to breathe deeply, or abdominal, although these changes may happen naturally. Posture is also corrected automatically. If the body is relaxed, rested and in good health, this practice creates a subtle feeling of well-being and mindfulness, like sun on our skin in a cool morning.
Sensuous breathing may cause unpleasant symptoms such as pain or dizziness or depression or anxiety at first. These feelings can be intense. If these symptoms occur, either stop the practice for a while, or only practice for very short intervals each day. Don’t ignore such symptoms. Perhaps unnatural breath patterns are occurring. Sometimes this practice will bring unconscious emotional turmoil or stress up to light, or health problems, which need to be addressed. I do not feel that I am qualified to give advice in such situations, and I would recommend consulting wiser heads than mine.
The second practice is gaps. Breath practice may become an attachment in itself. Therefore, use gaps in activity to momentarily free the mind from everything. This means doing nothing, holding still, not even practicing anything or making any effort. The physical stillness assists attachments to loosen and lets awareness expand. Insights may occur during gaps, like the moon on still water. When we perceive beauty or danger, an involuntarily gap occurs in our breathing and consciousness. A gap may occur for one or two heartbeats during the turning of the breath. Alternatively a longer gap is possible if the breath is so light as to be imperceptible. Sitting meditation can create a longer gap. A vacation at the beach or a retreat is an even longer gap, assuming one does not take a book or office work. Always allow gaps in conversations and meals! A person who talks without stopping hears nothing, and a person who eats without pause has missed the ritual of nourishment. The aim of a good hike is to stop and soak in the view, not ceaselessly pound the Earth. In meditative walking, there is a pause with every step. When reading or watching a video, occasionally turn away. If working, pause to contemplate what you have accomplished…and to be sure it’s what you intended.
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