Recently, while poking around the internet, I stumbled upon Lorraine Hahn’s interview of Swami Veda Bharati. In this CNN Talk Asia interview from 2002, Swamiji talks about the practice of yoga and meditation and their benefits.
A simple exercise in meditation
During the interview, Swamiji leads viewers into a few moments of meditation. The following simple steps are worth a try.
- Wherever you are, right now make no formal effort of any kind. Simply bring your awareness to the place where you are sitting.
- Be aware of yourself from head to toe. If your eyes close, let them close by themselves, lightly and simply relax your forehead.
- Just relax your forehead, be still and bring your awareness to your breathing. Only bring the awareness to your breathing. Do nothing with your breath, only follow how the breath is flowing.
- Pick a name of God or a name of the Buddha or Yahweh or the name of Jesus, in your language, according to your tradition. Exhaling, think in your mind that name without a break. Inhaling, think that name.
- Observe how the breaths, the mind and the name are flowing together as a single stream. Continue to feel the flow.
- Maintaining the awareness of the flow, gently open your eyes but continue to feel the flow even with your eyes open. Do you feel any change in the state of your mind? A little calmness?
After several years of being “busy at college”, I recently restarted my practice of yoga and meditation. For me, meditation is a practice of discovering the existential truth and disciplining my thought and action. Meditation helps me deliberate on the fundamental questions of life: the purpose and meaning of life and my role in the complex web of relationships around me.
What does meditation mean to you? Given your traditions and beliefs, do you see a difference between meditation and prayer? Do you consider meditation as a means for inward reflection and spiritual development? Is it deliberation and deep thought in search for the ultimate truth? Or is it mere stress management work-out to help attain calmness and composure? What are your thoughts?