The Basic Routine for Meditation — Relax, Concentrate, Expand
Before you sit to meditate, you may want to stretch and relax by doing a few rounds of the deep yogic breath and/or the corpse pose.
As you sit for meditation, check your posture. Be sure your spine is erect, your chest up and your shoulders slightly back. Relax the abdomen and be sure you are breathing from the diaphragm.
Offer a prayer to God, to those souls who particularly inspire you, and to your own higher self. Ask for the grace to be able to go into deep meditation and into inner communion with God.
Practice six to nine rounds of regular or alternate breathing to relax and focus the mind. Inhale counting to twelve, hold for a count of twelve, exhale to the same count of twelve. The rhythm can be shorter or longer according to your capacity, but be sure to keep the inhalation, retention and exhalation equal.
Then inhale with a double breath, tense the whole body until it vibrates, throw the breath out, and relax the body completely.
Repeat three to six times. Consciously relax the various parts of the body, starting at the feet and working your way up, part by part, to the head. End by relaxing the brain. Once you have relaxed completely, try not to allow physical restlessness to intrude again until you have finished the meditation. This process of relaxation as you sit to meditate, (not counting the preliminary deep yogic breath or corpse pose) should take only five minutes or so. After relaxing, concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Dismiss all thoughts from the mind and be completely centered in the here and now. Don’t think about the past, or worry about the future.
Practice one or more of the techniques of concentration.You might start with chanting. First chant vigorously in orderto awaken greater energy. Gradually become more and moreinward until you go beyond the words into the silent yearningof the heart.
You may also want to do a visualization exercise. This can be doneeither silently within or by listening to a recorded visualization.Now start the technique of watching the breath by inhalingdeeply and then exhaling three times. Next, as you breathein, mentally repeat “hong,” and then as you exhale, repeat “sau.”Practice this technique for approximately one fourth of yourtotal meditation time, trying to bring your mind to a state of totalconcentration. When you find that your mind has wandered,gently bring it back to observing the breath. Try to deepen your concentration until you become completely absorbed and thebreath becomes still. End the technique by inhaling deeply andexhaling three times.
Hold onto the state of deep concentration and calmness for aslong as possible, trying always to go deeper into the inner silence.Gradually shift from the active “doing” state of practicing techniquesto the receptive “being” state.
Inwardly attune yourself to the presence of God, one of Hissaints, or one of His eight qualities such as light, sound, love, joy,etc. Whether communing with God in a personal or impersonalform, try to dissolve all sense of individuality and separation.Become one with the object of your meditation! Hold this statefor as long as you can.
Later, but while still in the state of deep calmness, you may wantto ask for help or guidance concerning difficulties you are experiencingin your life. Broadcast your request from the spiritual eyeand listen in the heart center for the answer. Expect an answer!End your meditation with a prayer for yourself, for those closeto you, and for the world. Pray, too, for the grace to feel Hispresence throughout all your activities.
Try always to keep your meditations fresh, energetic, and intuitive.Too little use of techniques will result in shallow meditations,but too much routine can make your meditations dry. Try to findthe balance that brings you the most joy. Inner joy is the truesthallmark of deepening meditation.