Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies
Helpful Factors in Beginning a Meditation Practice
By George A. Boyd ©1999
Many aspirants find they have great curiosity about meditation, and wish to learn as much as they can about it. However, when they are not with their meditation teacher, they find it difficult to meditate without the Grace and guidance that flows through their teacher's presence. Moreover, they find it hard to sit daily for meditation practice.
Among the helpful factors that will assist you begin a regular meditation practice (sadhana) are the following:
This space should include an altar, pictures of saints or sages, or gods and goddesses you revere, and a meditation blanket or cushion to sit on. You may also wish to have
These other objects can be whatever inspires you. For example, my altar contains these objects that remind me of the beauty of Nature and the great sages of India: a statue of Mahavatar Babaji, blessed ashes (vibhuti), sea shells, colored stones from a forest, and driftwood.
You start your practice by going to your meditation space and doing spiritual activities. You may wish to pray, chant a mantra on your rosary (mala), read from your spiritual or inspirational books, write in your meditation journal, or practice a specific meditation.
To get the habit of meditation, you need to do this daily for at least three weeks. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes at a convenient time. Many people find that the early hours of the morning between 4:00am and 6:00am are especially conducive to meditation, because it is quiet and still.
If you find you are being resistant or stubborn about wanting to crawl out of your warm bed, or change your well-established routine, you may wish to enlist an ally. You may have your friend, partner, or spouse, agree with you that you will go to meditate at a certain time. Your ally will encourage you and praise you when you actually go to your meditation space and do a spiritual activity. You may even have them wake you up, or reward you with a special breakfast treat when you keep your agreement.
Reading spiritual books, remembering the attributes of the Divine, and reading about the lives of great devotees can inspire you with a fervent desire to know and be with God. Being with God-intoxicated saints can fill you with a great devotion (bhakti), and longing for liberation (mumukhsatwa).
Once the fire of devotion begins to blaze brightly within you, you will have no problem getting yourself to meditate. In fact, it will actually become difficult to pull yourself away from meditation. You may find yourself scheduling longer and longer meditation periods to do inner communion. At one point in my own life, I was meditating 8 to 12 hours a dayI was irresistibly drawn to the Inner Light.
When you set goals for your week, make sure you schedule spiritual communion time. Block off time for meditation, time to go to church or temple, time to go to satsang.
Make your vacations into a spiritual retreat. Go to the ashram or yoga center for your vacations instead of the casino or amusement park.
Record your insights in a meditation journal. You may want to write down your realizations or discoveries, what you saw or heard in meditation, what you learned from your inner voice of intuition. You can draw pictures, write poems, compose music, clip inspiring photos and comment on them, or record aphorisms for the nuggets of wisdom you received during your sitting.
My meditation journal has progressed to the point where I can take the insights I glean from my meditations and transfer them directly into the books, workshop materials, and correspondence course that I am writing. Others have done the same: song lyrics and melodies, poems, ideas for books, have all come out of series of meditation sessions. In time, you can do the same.
Keep going higher and deeper into your inner vehicles. Go to the deepest place of yesterday's meditation, and seek to move beyond it today. Keep stretching the telescope of your inner vision so you can expand your consciousness to ever-new inner horizons. Your goal is to know the infinite depths, the illimitable heights, the fullness of the being and the presence of the Divine to know the Great Continuum of Consciousness in its entirety.
By achieving your own enlightenment, you will begin to teach yourself. Gradually, you will also be able to teach others. As you accumulate a large reservoir of inner experiences in meditation, you can begin to recognize the experiences of others, and you can act as a coach.
Also, by realizing your own Soul, and gaining the ability to unite your attentional principle with your Higher Self at will, you will have made the first important step in preparing yourself for discipleship.
Discipleship is the ability to commune with a Master Teacher, and act as an instrument for that Master's grace and Power. It is the next step in your ability to be of service to humanity, and in your own spiritual evolution.