Meditation Has No Connotation Other than About Aligning the Body and the Mind. Here’s How and Why

MUHAMMED HUSSAIN SUFI

Let us try to understand meditation: Does it have anything to do with our religious beliefs? In the following paragraph we will talk about meditation and about its correlation with our belief) and hopefully by the end of this passage we will have a clear understanding of the topic. When we talk about exercises we mostly refer to physical activity but in reality, exercises are of two types: physical exercise and mental exercise. Most of us are aware of physical exercise, which involves outdoor games; gym, walking and running and these exercises help us to be physically fit. Whereas activities like reading, listening, writing are required to keep us informed and knowledgeable and are referred as mental exercises. People usually spend lots and lots of time and money in physical activities such as exercising in a gym, playing outdoor games and most of the times they pay no attention towards mental exercise. No doubt physical exercise is good and one should make it a part of his/her lifestyle as It keeps us in shape and prevents us from getting tired, thereby making us more productive as far as our work is concerned.

Earlier when there were no machines and equipment men with more physical strength were preferred over men with less physical strength, because they were more productive and seemed more protective. Times have changed now, we can do more work using our mind rather than using our body. Therefore focus has shifted from physical activity to mental activity. Professions like lawyers, doctors, engineers, bankers, and so on need not to be physically strong but physically fit and mentally sound. In times like these it is important to stay mentally strong in order to have competitive edge and a reliable future. Instead of spending hours in gym one must focus on spending hours in developing mental make-up of our system. This is where meditation steps in. Meditation is to mind what exercise is to body. Reading is a sort of meditation, writing is a sort of meditation and listening too is a sort of meditation. What is meditation in real terms? Our brains are chatterboxes fitted in our skulls. It is difficult to stop thinking when we are awake. Meditation is a set of practices, which helps our brain to narrow down the number of thoughts considerably. It helps us to think in linear fashion and lowers the number of thoughts making circles in our brain thereby preventing us from moving from one point of thinking progressively to another at a faster speed.

If we run in circles in order to move on a straight line from point A to point B, it may take us more time than it usually ought to take, because an entire circle of thoughts in the form of whirlwind in moving from point A to point B. Our brain is burdened with important and unimportant thoughts at any instant. Meditation helps us to reduce the noise of thoughts by dropping insignificant thoughts. It is achieved by continuous practice and once mastered we actually move from point A to point B at the speed of light. Now the question is how to master this skill of meditation? Answer is simple. Practice. Learn a technique; practice it every day for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Results are invisible but incredible. I will narrate one simple technique that a person can use and practice every day until he finds himself ready for next level. Sit at a place where you feel no body will bother you for next 10 minutes, preferably early in the morning or late in the evening when the probability of people bothering is least. Sit in a comfortable with straight back on a chair, feet touching floor and arms on the legs. Do not lean back to make yourself more comfortable, for you may drift to sleep by doing that. Take a couple of deep breaths. Keep your eyes open, fix your gaze on some stationary object. Make sure you can see and feel the entire space you are sitting without moving your head and without rolling your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. After couple of few deep breaths, gently close your eyes and let your breath return to the normal rhythm. Breathe in and out but this time through nose. Allow different sounds to be heard to enter, don’t think too much about them just listen to the sounds and simply let them go. Distinguish between different sounds, like ticking of clock, noise of fan, chirping of birds, banging of doors, footsteps approaching or leaving. Gently listen to them and let go. Now bring your attention to your body. Without opening your eyes see how your body feels, take your awareness to different parts of your body. Start from top of the head to your forehead, nose, eyes, cheeks, lips, chin, neck, throat, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, hands, chest, upper back, lower back, upper legs, lower legs, feet and toes. Feel the touch of the chair or floor beneath you, feel how of soles of your feet touch the floor, your hands on your legs. Scan your body, and see how every part feels, again don’t think too much about any part, simply feel, remove any strain and move to the next.

Focus on rhythm of your breath. Don’t try to change it. Feel your body expanding when you breath in, and feel it getting contracted when your breath out. Try to find how different a length of one breath can be from another. Feel the coldness of breath at the tip of your nose when you breathe in and feel the warmth at the tip of nose when you breathe out. Count your breaths, breathing in should be counted as one and breathing out as two , Repeat the pattern and count till count ten, and if you happen to forget the counting in between, gently come back to the number you left or start from the beginning. Let go the focus on your breathing after some time; allow your mind to think whatever it wishes to think. Do not focus on your breathing, simply let you mind wander and do whatever it wishes to do, keep your eyes closed. After some time when you’re ready, bring back yourself to the space you are in, listen to the sounds, imagine the entire space you’re in, without opening your eyes. Sense the smell of your room and gently open your eyes. Stay still for a moment and try to feel the difference between the way you are and the way you were when you started this exercise. Stretch your arms, legs and your back. I would recommend this exercise to be performed in the morning when the mind is already quiet and not many people can bother you. Repeat it for ten minutes, keep a timer on your mobile phone and start this exercise. Put your phone in flight mode when you start doing this exercise so that there is no disturbance. Start your day on a positive note. You will feel the change in many invisible ways. Change is slow, and miraculous. So by now even you would have realized and understood that Meditation has nothing to do with any religious belief, anyone can do it. It is for our benefit. Start today, practice twice daily and be the master of your moods. You can begin as early as now, set a timer of 10 minutes and there you go.

—The author is an advocate at the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and can be reached at: sufi@xeal.in