Approaches to Meditation
A Candle Meditation
Light a candle in a semi-darkened room. Place it about eighteen inches from you at eye level. Look at it. Become absorbed with it. As thoughts arise, bring your attention back to the awareness of the candle and flame. Try not to verbally analyze or describe what is taking place. Simply be with it.
Close your eyes and find the image imprinted on your eyelids. Stay with it. As it fades, open your eyes again and see the candle again. Do this for fifteen or twenty minutes.
Breath Awareness Meditation
Assume an upright posture, with a straight - but not rigid - spine. As you inhale, become aware of how breath enters, and aware of what (if anything) moves" in the body as the breath progresses. Notice at what point the inhalation is completed. Gently keep your attention poised as inhalation becomes exhalation. Now watch as exhalation happens, noting what moves. Breathe normally without trying to change anything. The point is to simply be aware. Each time your mind wanders to another subject, simply bring it back softly to awareness of the breath. Do this for fifteen or twenty minutes.
You can do this at any time - either spontaneously as you walk to work, or formally in your room or garden - either barefoot or with shoes on.
Simply concentrate as fully as possible on the sensation of walking. Feel your heel contact the ground. Then attend to the ball of your foot and your toes as they come into play. Realize the motion involved in lifting your foot and preparing it for the next step.
You may wish to add the use of a word, or phrase, or affirmation so that you walk in step with an established inner rhythm.
Using your voice to repeat a song or chant is a doubly effective way to center yourself. Even greater is the effect when several people together chant the same sounds. Almost every religious tradition makes use of chants or hymns as a means of orienting the human with the realm of the Infinite. If you don't know any chants, hymns, or sacred songs, try making up your own refrains for these:
Peace, peace, peace, peace,
May peace fill up my heart.
All is One, All is One
All is One, All is One.
Truth and beauty are now
living in the temple of my soul.
See Appendix A for some beautiful recordings of chants and music for meditation.