The Basic Practice of Meditation.

Via on Dec 10, 2011

Listening to Your Soul.

Chapter 7: Watch Your Mind Think–The Key to Being Guided All the Time
Rod Stryker’s Four Desire (4D) Virtual Book Club

“For all that meditation provides, it merely asks of us that we take time to do it, to simply put a few minutes aside to steady our thoughts and learn to see the beauty and wisdom that lies beyond them.” ~ Rod Stryker

In order to engage the rest of the exercises this book offers, we need to pause here and begin to develop a personal relationship with our mind.

But how can we calm down our minds? In yoga, we use meditation for this purpose. We assume that meditation requires a lot from us to do (and don’t get me wrong, it requires all of us to do), but what it doesn’t require is stuff. You don’t need a cushion, a bell, or even blankets. They help, but don’t let not having “stuff” stop you from starting a meditation practice. What we do need, however, is much harder to come by: time.

Lets stop here, pause, and think about this. We need a few minutes a day (start with 3-5 minutes) in our meditation practice to steady our thoughts. Why do we need this time? Pratyahara. Essentially we start by practicing the 5th limb of Patanjali Yoga.  Pratyahara is the withdrawal or mastery of the senses. Rod says “Unless we learn how to see beyond what our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin are telling us, we can never experience the totality of who we are or the world of which we are a part.”

Our calendars are filled with activities. We have school, work, appointments, meetings, birthdays, anniversaries, trips, trainings…the list goes on. We need to use our senses to perform all of these activities.  Often times, many of these activities are done in the subconscious haze of multi-tasking.  And society praises us for that?

Judith Lasater says that we need to start “uni-tasking” or doing one thing at a time. I have to admit, I am guilty of being a habitual multitasker. In the past, I have looked at people who worked on only one thing at a time and thought, “ what a slow poke.”

However, through my meditation sadhana (practice), I have learned that I need to slow down.  Although my mind would like to be able to do japa and pranayama at the same time, it just does not have the same effect. Meditation gives space mind to focus on one thing at a time. Although it may seem difficult at first, it’s over all effects are worth it. It improves your memory, increases your ability to respond to stress and helps you process negative emotions such as grief anger and fear.

In Chapter 7, Rod describes the meditation on the breath. This practice creates the pathway to mediation. His essential message for us is to take some time for our selves daily. We must sit, observe and start experiencing, rather than doing. We must commit and engage our practice on a daily basis.  With time, patience, and discipline, meditation becomes an experience, a feeling, and ultimately, the state of being itself.

Meditation invites us to hear the voice of dharma, to feel complete, and to access inspiration. Through meditation, we experience contentment (samtosha) but most importantly we learn “that [we] are something more than [our] possessions, more than [our] body, more than [our] thoughts.” Rod Stryker

The practice of meditation is the practice of being present. When we are fully present, we start to experience the second type of fulfillment. This Fulfillment comes from within–it is inherently present; “it is not inaccessible nor is it in distant places [it] appears to be the experience of bliss.” ~ Rod Stryker.

This week’s discussion:
What is your experience with meditation?
What has worked or not worked to quiet your mind and listen to your Soul?
Next week we will talk about Urdvha Mukha Svanasana: Reflections on Upward-Facing Dog Pose.

Aloha,
Chanti

Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works

About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education. http://www.ohanashakti.com

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24 Responses to “The Basic Practice of Meditation.”

  1. [...] Chapter 7: Watch Your Mind Think–The Key to Being Guided All the Time The Basic Practice of Medita… [...]

  2. a finn says:

    My experience is that one also needs a teacher. A book may do something and surely meditation techniques have been developed by people but for me to come up with an effective way to meditate by myself would be like inventing and manufacturing radios on the basis that I've listened to a radio. :-)

    So meditation techniques have worked for me. Routine works for me. Mantras work for me. Asanas work for me. Good food works for me. Sitting alone in a forest works for me. Kiirtan works for me. Group meditation works for me. Is that enough?

    • Chanti says:

      a finn, that is a great question! I think so….Especially routine with meditation being one of them.
      Thanks for sharing :)
      Lots of prana in the forest!
      Aloha,
      Chanti

  3. I love the idea of uni-tasking. Yesterday, I ate my lunch without doing anything but eating. No books, no computer, no television on in the background. I ate my food (at a table) and listened to every bite I took. It was quite an experience. I crave a meditation practice. But as you said – time is my enemy.

    ~L

  4. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thank you SO much.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage. Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

  5. Amy Whelan says:

    I have had a meditation practice for years, but I've not had the consistency that it requires. I will meditate daily for weeks, then forget about it for a few months. However, I did something after I finished Rod's book that has been an awesome experience for me. I downloaded his meditations to my iPod and I listen to them on my drive to work. I do not go deeply into the meditation for the obvious reasons, but what I do do is focus on my breath and the areas I breathe into. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) I have become more aware on the road. I am more mindful. It feels like Spirit is guiding me. I so look forward to my long drive to work!

  6. [...] The Basic Practice of Meditation. Listening to Your Soul. [...]

  7. Greg Eckard says:

    a great article for a meditation beginner such as myself.

  8. Hi Chanti, I really appreciated your piece. Without trying to preach to people, I am always trying to impress upon people the value and benefits of meditation. I'm also an EJ writer and I've shared your piece on my fan page. I hope it will help beginners to take that first step towards a whole new way of living… Peace. https://www.facebook.com/JeanniePageWriter

    • Chanti says:

      Thanks! I think many beginners feel they need to quiet, sit and do nothing. It is that simple for some, but being reassured really helps the beginner. Just a few moments of peace a day…..it could change the world!.

      • Amy Whelan says:

        You are right, Chanti! I have experienced bliss from just a few minutes of meditation, and this can happen even to the most novice meditators. Any kind of meditation, no matter how deep or how long it lasts is beneficial!

  9. [...] on a current habit might be for me to move to eating dairy once a week or every other week. If you meditate for ten minutes in the morning, try for 15. This is a good area of your life to consider when [...]

  10. [...] to speak out against unjust legislation. All the yoga videos, pictures of Adam Levine, advice on meditation and relationships don’t matter if we don’t walk our [...]

  11. [...] I’m not napping in meditation, my mind often likes to pretend it’s a howler [...]

  12. [...] they were born. I just opened up a discussion forum with some basic instructions, asked them to meditate for a week, and report [...]

  13. [...] us might have elected to become numb, or checked out when the fires seemed too much. But having a practice means being able to know what it’s like to be on fire and then have this practice to work on it. [...]

  14. Chanti says:

    Nichole, you are absolutely right, it is a NEED!!!!! Especially around this time, when we all are pushed into getting out of the cycle of our sadhana, and into the holidays. It's now more than ever that we truly need to take a few moments each day.
    Aloha,
    Chanti

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