First, we need to relax our body and mind. Sit on a cushion or a straight-backed chair. Keep your chin parallel with the floor and your spine erect and away from the back of the chair.
Now we’ll practice a technique to relax subconscious tensions. Inhale and tense your whole body until it vibrates. Throw the breath out and relax completely. The inhalation should be through the nostrils and the exhalation through both the nose and the mouth. Let’s do that twice more: Inhale and tense… exhale and relax. Now, once again; inhale and tense. Throw the breath out and relax.
Now we’ll do a technique of yoga called “regular breathing,” which helps calm the mind. Inhale slowly through the nose to a count of eight. Hold your breath and concentrate your attention at the point between the eyebrows for a count of eight. Now exhale slowly through the nostrils for a count of eight.
Let’s do that again. Inhale… concentrate and hold… exhale. Now, one last time, but this time use a count of twelve. Inhale for a count of twelve. Hold the same length of time. Exhale for a count of twelve. When you practice this on your own, you can use any length of count that is comfortable for you, but be sure the inhalation, holding, and exhalation are equal.
Now let’s relax the whole body as completely as possible. Become aware of your feet and let go of all tension there. You can think of space or light in that area. Now relax your calves… your upper legs, and behind your knees. Relax your hips and abdomen. Many people hold tension in the abdomen, so concentrate on relaxing completely in that area.
Now relax your hands and forearms… your upper arms… and now your chest and shoulders. When you relax your shoulders, feel that you’re letting go of all burdens that you might be carrying.
Now relax your neck… your jaw… tongue… and lips. Relax completely, feeling all tension in your face melt away. Relax your eyes,… eyelids… and forehead. Now gently focus your mind at the point between the eyebrows, the seat of higher consciousness.
The following visualization will help you to accept life with calmness and enjoyment. Visualize yourself floating near the shore in a beautiful blue sea. The sea is calm, the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing gently over the water.
Gradually, the waves begin to increase in strength.… Now, they are tossing you about. At first you find this annoying and wish they would stop. But now you realize that you can’t control the sea.
As you relax, you begin to accept the waves and enjoy the ride they are giving you. You see that they are playing with you.
Stay in this state of enjoyment for a while.… Now feel that your vision is floating up above the level of the sea and looking down on your little body. As you look down from this height, you see that the waves aren’t really big at all.
From this higher viewpoint, the sea actually looks quite calm. And it is beautiful, blues and greens, and little whitecaps. All is incredibly beautiful. You see that the ocean of life is your friend and your supporter.
You gaze out toward the horizon endless miles away. The line where the sea meets the sky never changes. Concentrate on this line and try to feel that underneath the waves of events you never change.
You are always peaceful, always calm, always joyful. Release all attachments, all desires, all regrets. Float now in this vast ocean of bliss. When you are ready, let your mind come back to a point of concentration at the spiritual eye, between the eyebrows.
Continue concentrating here as we prepare for deep meditation. Check to see that you are still completely relaxed. Now become aware of the breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils. Feel the movement of air and mentally observe it flowing in and out. Don’t try to control the breath, just watch it. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to watching the breath.
If you would like, you can mentally say “hong” as the breath flow in and “sau” as it flow out again. These words are an ancient mantra that helps calm and concentrate the mind. Gradually feel the breath higher and higher in the nostrils, until you are observing it at the point between the eyebrows.
We’ll continue to silently watch the breath in this manner for some time.… Concentrating at this point will help lift the mind toward superconsciousness.
Now exhale completely and concentrate your energy and attention at the point between the eyebrows. If you see light there, just observe it. Let go of all thoughts, all anxiety, all plans and feel completely at peace.
Hold this state of silent meditation and try to deepen it. Go as deeply as you can into the silence. The deeper and longer you can hold this state, the faster will be your progress.
Now, once again return to body consciousness. We will end our meditation with an affirmation. Concentrate deeply on the words and the meaning behind the words. Send this message to your subconscious mind. We’ll repeat it several times:
I am grateful for my life exactly as it is.
I am thankful for this day,
I welcome every hour.
Thank you God.
Thank you God.
You can repeat this affirmation as often as you would like. It is especially effective just after waking up in the morning, or just before sleep at night.
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The 10-week Lessons in Meditation online course is designed to provide in-depth instruction in scientific meditation techniques that bring more peace, deeper relaxation, and focused concentration to every area of your life, regardless of outer conditions.
These techniques are based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.