If you are new to meditation, you will want to experiment with postures that are most comfortable to you and will accommodate physical challenges
that you may have.
There are many variations for meditation postures.
- Sitting in chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor, hands resting on your lap.
- Lying on the floor on your back with your arms resting comfortably on your belly.
- Sitting on a meditation bench.
- Sitting on a cushion has its variations including:
- The full lotus position with both feet upon your thighs,
- The half-lotus, sitting with one foot upon a thigh and the other foot under your other thigh
- Kneeling on the mat with a cushion on your calves and sit on the cushion.
- Kneeling on the mat and straddling a cushion.
Once you find your preferred method, unless you are lying down, sit has follows:
- Sit erect, with your spine straight, shoulders back and loose.
- Tip your head slightly forward with your chin tucked in.
- Try to keep your eyes half-open, casting your gaze on the floor in front of you.
- Place your hands in your lap, with palms up or down or,
- Place your left hand over your right hand and put your thumbs together, making an oval
Our brains are designed to think. The goal of meditative and contemplative practice is to not stop our thinking, but to allow ourselves to not get stuck in our thoughts. Being mindful we are aware of our environment, sounds, smells, our body and most especially our breath.
Mantras can help calm our minds of the thoughts racing through our brains. A mantra is simply a sacred word or phrase that is repeated during meditation. In silent sitting meditation this is done silently, rather than chanting it aloud. When we become conscious that we are thinking, note it, say the mantra and come back to the breath. If our minds are highly active saying the mantra constantly may help us to let go and not get stuck in the thoughts and always, we come back to the breath.
Zen Master Seung Sang, founder of the Kwanum School of Zen, taught his students to say “Clear Mind, Clear Mind, Clear Mind — Don’t Know”, or more simply “Clear Mind“, as we begin to settle.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches practitioners s to use phrases such as “Sitting I am home, Home I am sitting”, meaning that wherever we may be, whatever we may do, we are at home in ourselves and the world.
The Sanskrit phrase “Om mani padme hum” or simply “Om” is perhaps the most well know mantra. While the English translation is generally accepted to be “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus, the six Tibetan syllables have many interpretations. A common interpretation is that each syllable purifies us of:*
- Om: bliss and pride, cultivating instead generosity
- Ma: jealously cultivating, instead ethics and compassion
- Ni: passion and desire, cultivating, instead compassion
- Pad: ignorance and prejudice, cultivating instead diligence
- Me: poverty and possessivness, cultivating instead renunciation
- Hum: aggression and hatred cultivating instead wisdom
* From Wikipedia, ReligionFacts.com and TheFreeDictionary.com