Change Your Brain: Guided Meditation
August 28, 2017
[Below is a verbatim transcription of this guided meditation. Take into account the nuanced differences between spoken and written meaningful expression.]
Hi. My name is Nayaswami Anandi. I'm an Ananda meditation teacher with the Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation.
Today's meditation is based on current studies on the brain, combined with a classic technique of meditation brought to the west by Paramahansa Yogananda.
The Brain Structure
Medical science tells us that the most primitive part of the brain, the limbic system, is where we experience feelings like anxiety, anger, fear, and depression. The limbic system is in the center of your brain at about the level of the top of your ears. Science also tells us that the prefrontal lobes of the brain are the most evolved part of the nervous system. The prefrontal lobes are also called by yogis the spiritual eye, or the point between the eyebrows.
As we bring energy more completely toward the prefrontal lobes, feelings of anxiety and anger, and fear, and depression are less likely to be present, because the prefrontal lobes override the energy of the limbic system.
Intent of the Meditation
The meditation that we're going to be doing today naturally helps you to bring your attention more toward the prefrontal lobes. As we do so, you'll begin to experience feelings of calmness, joy, and upliftment. These are your true self. Negative emotions feel very real when we're in them. But they drop away when we begin to connect with our Higher Self, what we call superconscious awareness. Let's begin this meditation.
Meditation Posture and Relaxation
Now, sit up in a comfortable position so that your back is straight, your feet are flat on the floor. You can bring your palms onto the lap with the palms facing upward close to the trunk of the body. This helps you to sit up straight more easily. You can close your eyes, but behind your closed eyelids gaze upward just slightly.
Now we're going to relax the body by first tensing it. We'll begin by inhaling with a short and a long breath through the nose, squeezing all the muscles of the body, including making fists. Then throw the breath out through the mouth and relax the body completely. Let's do that together. Inhale and tense. Exhale, relax. Again. Inhale and tense. Exhale, relax. Once more, inhale and tense. Exhale and relax completely.
Attention on the Breath
Now we'll relax a little bit more deeply by doing even-count breathing. You'll be slowly inhaling through the nose to a count of four, holding your breath, four, exhaling through the nose, four.
Let's begin together. Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, hold 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale 1, 2, 3, 4. Inhale, hold, exhale. Inhale, hold, exhale. Inhale, hold, exhale.
Now just take a deep breath in. Let that out completely. And from this point forward, just let your body breathe naturally. You don't need to control it in any way. Just watch that flow of breath coming in and going out as if you were watching someone else breathing, and especially bring your attention to the flow of breath on the inside of the nose. Feel the air coming in and going out and notice very specifically, where are you feeling that breath? Toward the bottom of the nose? Toward the middle or toward the top? Just pay attention to the feeling of breath inside the nose. If you try to relax the inside of the nose, you can feel that breath more easily.
Now begin to bring your attention to the breath at the very top part of the nose. The breath right where it's coming into the head, right below the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye. With each breath, feel that you are awakening the spiritual eye.
To help you keep your mind more focused, with each inhalation, repeat the sound "Hong" H O N G, Hong. When you inhale you think "Hong". When you exhale, you think "Sau", like sawing wood, Sau. Inhale Hong, exhale Sau. The mantra will help you stay focused on the feeling of the breath and to help you stay more alert, you can also use the index finger of your right hand. As the breath flows in, the index finger curls upward slightly toward the palm. As the breath flows out, the index finger relaxes away from the palm.
Let's try doing all the parts of this together. The most important thing is the feeling of breath flowing in and out of the top of the nose just below the spiritual eye. If you find it difficult to use the index finger, let that part of the technique go. I'll be quiet now for just a brief time, a couple of minutes, and let you practice watching that flow of breath and feeling as if it's awakening the spiritual eye.
Right now let's end our practice of the technique by gently exhaling three times in succession. And let your breath stay out just for a few moments, feeling great stillness, and feel your attention focused at the point between the eyebrows. You can let go now of watching the breath, repeating the mantra, moving the index finger, and focus fully at the point between the eyebrows. Focus on feeling there a sense of calmness.
Focus on Calmness
Identify more and more with this calm feeling. This is who you really are.
Feel calmness in the front of your forehead. Feel calmness filling your whole mind. Feel calmness filling your body. Feel calmness expanding beyond your body to fill the room in which you're sitting. Feel calmness expanding beyond your room to your city and your state. Feel that calmness encircling the globe and spreading out to fill the vast universe with calmness. You are that calmness. Feel within yourself a feeling of calm joy.
Let's come back now into your body, into the room. Feel your feet touching the floor. Feel yourself sitting in the chair, your hands on your lap.
Take a deep breath in and let it out. Again, inhale and exhale. Now inhale and as you exhale, open your eyes and gaze at the world around you with calmness and with joy. This is who you are: calmness and joy.
AUM, Peace, Amen.