Guided Meditation for Peace and Calmness
October 16, 2018
Nayaswami Pranaba leads you in a 30-minute guided meditation on peace and calmness. He is a longtime meditator and teacher and lives at Ananda Village, California.
Welcome. This is a great opportunity to dive deep in meditation.
Preparing For Deepening Your Meditation
Let's begin by closing our eyes softly and focusing on just deep diaphragmatic abdominal breathing. Feel as you inhale smoothly through your two nostrils, you're gently extending, expanding the abdomen outward, not forcing it but just in a gentle way. As you exhale, gently release that abdomen back in towards the spine. And continue this smooth movement of the breath through the nostrils and that smooth movement of the abdominal area.
Feel more and more that you are that breath itself and less that you're trying to do a breath. Just relax and feel comfortable within your own self.
As you do this, you can feel that you start to create a separation from the intensity of everyday life, feeling more the essence of who you really are, centered and relaxed.
Now with that sense of more centeredness, more relaxation from the depths of your own heart, in the language of your own inner self, offer up or prayer. You may want to invoke the name of God as Heavenly Father or Divine Mother, perhaps his friend, perhaps his beloved. You may also want to invoke the presence of great masters such as Jesus Christ or Krishna, or Paramhansa Yogananda. Go and take a moment to silently feel what's in your heart in terms of offering yourself up. Let it rings true to who you are, feeling that presence already there with you.
Adding Cosmic Chanting In Your Meditation Practice
And in that awareness, I invite you to join me in one of Yogananda’s cosmic chants; I Am The Bubble, Make Me The Sea. Again, if you know it, you can chat with me. If you're not familiar with it, just enjoy the vibration. We’ll repeat it a number of times to give you the experience of taking the mind and focusing it within but also taking the heart's devotion and allowing that to be open and expanded.
I am the bubble, make me the sea. (2x)
Make me the sea; oh, make me the sea. (2x)
Wave of the sea dissolve in the sea. (2x)
I am the bubble, make me the sea. (2x)
So do thou my Lord. (2x)
Thou and I never apart. (2x)
Wave of the sea dissolve in the sea. (2x)
Now allow that chant to continue on its own more inwardly. Mentally tune into not only the words, not only the melody but the vibration itself, the consciousness behind the words, and feel yourself going deeper within that inner chant.
Checking How Your Body Is Ready or Is Not Ready To Meditate Successfully
Now tune into your posture. We want to combine the sense of being relaxed in our body, but also dynamic, meaning the relaxation should be expansion rather than a sagging downward. So, check your posture. If you can, if you're sitting on a chair, sit away from the back of the chair. If you're sitting on the floor, cross-legged in some variation. Make sure your pelvic tilt is allowing you to feel comfortable so that your back can be straight without straining and using back muscles.
Feel your chest to be open as if it's floating up a little bit. Don't force it up. Feel it floating gently upward. Shoulders melting down, relaxing away from the ears. Again, tune into your breathing. Feel that rhythmic, smooth breath as you breathe in and out through the nostrils. Allow the diaphragm, the abdominal area, to gently extend out. As you exhale, the breath through the nostrils. Gently pull that abdomen back in. Again, relax in the abdominal area. Feel that relaxation move from the abdominal area throughout the entire body. Feel your feet relaxing, your legs relaxing, your hip area, more deeply in the abdominal stomach area, relaxing the chest, feeling your arms relaxing, that your shoulders relax a little bit more, feel your neck relaxing more. And feel your whole face relaxing, including your eyes. So, feel as if your eyes are softly closed. Don't squeeze them. Just feel a sense of softness around your eyes and in the eyes themselves. And feel your brain and your mind relaxing and letting go of worries and plans. Just be in the moment, relaxed, but also focused. Then again, with your eyes close, gently gaze upward with your mental focus at the point midway between the eyebrows. This is referred to as the spiritual eye, the third eye, the seed of deepening concentration, of deepening consciousness.
Guiding Us Through Even-Count Breathing
Let's do another simple breathing exercise that's designed to take us into the meditative experience. It's known as measured count breathing. We're simply going to use a certain count. We're going to inhale smoothly through the nostrils to that count. We're then going to gaze up with the spiritual eye as we hold breath to that same count. And then again, smoothly releasing the breath as we exhale through the two nostrils again to the same count. I'm going to use a moderate count of eight, eight, eight. If you're used to doing this, and want to extend that count, then I invite you to do so if you feel that's too long of a count, then I invite you to shorten that to maybe six, six, six or even four, four, four.
But use that which works for you. Remember, the more relaxed you are, the easier doing this breathing exercise, especially the part where we hold the breath, will be. Again, let your mental gaze be up at the point between the eyebrows as if you're looking at the horizon line through that point without tension, just soft in the eyes.
And then exhale the breath through the nostrils. Draw the abdomen slightly in as you do this. As you inhale smoothly, breathe through the nostrils to account of eight. Hold the breath out, looking up at the spiritual eye. And exhale smoothly through the two nostrils to kind of eight, emptying out the abdomen, drawing it back in.
Again, inhale smoothly. Hold the breath is later count of eight. Exhale smoothly through the nostrils to a count of eight. Again, inhale eight through the nostrils. Hold the breath eight. Exhale eight. Inhale eight Hold the breath easily eight. Exhale eight. Do two more repetitions on your own. If you feel you can lengthen and still remain relaxed, do so.
How Are Chanting and Visualization Similar and Different?
Now in that more relaxed state, let's use a visualization. Both chanting and visualization work in similar ways and yet have their differences. But both, in a similar way, work with the tendency of the mind to be in thoughts. And what we do is we override those restless thoughts with focused thoughts.
In chanting, we have the repetition, with melody, with music, to very powerfully change that focus that we have.
Visualization works in a similar way, as I said, it takes a train of thought, focusing with visual images, to really bring the mind to more clarity and one-pointedness. The point of visualization is not just to entertain our minds and carry us on a journey. It will do that. But the more important part of visualization is to bring us inside to the experience itself. So be very focused, very engaged, and be in the experience as I lead you into this one, which is focusing on expanding the inner light.
Expanding the Inner Light Through Visualization
Again, with closed eyes. Visualize a light in your forehead, a radiant luminescent light. Feel it filling your brain. Now, let it gradually expand to fill your whole body. Be aware of it flowing into every part of who you are until you feel you are this radiant light. Allow this light to expand beyond your body. Visualize this light and yourself as One, filling the room that you're in, touching and enveloping all that is in that room. Continue to expand this Light throughout your whole town, your city, feeling that it uplifts everything and everyone that it touches. Ever-increasingly, this Light expands, bathing your entire country and then encompassing the whole world.
Now allow this Radiant Light and your own experience of this Light to expand even further, to include our solar system, our galaxy, and the Milky Way. Feeling that the entire universe is floating in this Light, meditate on and allow yourself to be One with this Expanding Light. Feel that there is no separation of you and this Light. You have no boundaries, no limitations. You are this Radiant Light. Enjoy this expansion of awareness and the deep stillness of your inner self.
Going Deeper Within
Now let's take this even deeper within deepening our concentration, allowing ourselves to be in the essence of meditation itself. Again, check your posture. Feel again that your mental gaze, with your eyes softly closed, is looking through the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye. Now bring your awareness to your breath. This time we're not doing a breathing exercise. We're allowing ourselves to enjoy the breath itself. Whatever it might be doing by observing it with keen awareness and deepening concentration. So, whatever the breath is doing for you, let us simply flow without controlling it, without manipulating it, just letting it happen. Observe that breath wherever it's most apparent to you. You might find it first, it's apparent in the movement in the lungs. Then just be aware of that. Again, without making it do anything. Just be with it. As you relax and focus more, naturally, you'll become more aware of that breath in the nostrils in your nose. Just easily watch that breath flowing in and watch that breath flowing out. Remember to keep your mental gaze oriented up to the point between the eyebrows. This will help deepen the experience of observing our own breath.
One way we can help this deepening effect is to use a simple phrase in English, I am peace. So, as we watched breath coming in, wherever that breath might be, just mentally repeat the word I. As that breath flows out again of its own accord, just mentally repeat, am peace. I as the breath comes in, and am peace as the breath flows out. Almost as if the sounds are riding on the breath. The I sound is riding on that inhalation. So however long that inhalation is that the i sound mentally ride that same length. The same goes with the exhalation as the breath flows out, feel the words and peace mentally writing however long that exhalation is. As you do this, you'll start to feel there is a connection and assimilation between the mental phrasing and the breath itself.
You might want to check your posture to make sure you're relaxed. The chest is open, shoulders relax. Especially make sure your abdominal area is relaxed. This is a key to going deeper in the technique of meditation. If thoughts come during the process, don't fight them. But don't give in to them. Simply let them go. Just returned to watching your breath with the sounds of I am peace, and let the thoughts drift away. You might find that there are pauses between the breaths. Just enjoy them. When the breath comes again, follow it with the mental sounds.
Now continue in this meditation, going deeper and deeper with the technique, feeling that you already are that peace and calmness that this technique is allowing you to reach ever more readily.
Now for these last few moments of our meditation together, let go of the technique of watching the breath, just take a slow, smooth breath in through the nostrils, exhale through the nose and mouth three times. And then breathing normally, forget about your breath, go into being receptive and open to whatever experience you have there within your own self. Perhaps and might be inner peace or a deepening sense of calmness, or you might be aware of the Inner Light or a touch of Divine Love in your heart or the experience of joy whatever it might be, just take a moment in absorption, feeling rather than doing being immersed in your own inner experience feeling it is your own true Self.
Now coming out of meditation. Just be aware of your body, your surroundings, and slowly just let your eyes open and feel now that your whole being is simply radiating peace and calmness out into the world around you, touching everyone with this deep peace.