I know that after learning so many things about meditation, you desperately want to read about various meditation techniques contained on this website. However, before you start reading about them, I want to discuss something extremely important with you. I want to tell you about three things which you must do before starting any meditation session.
These 3 things are basically a combination of three thoughts which you contemplate consciously before starting meditation. These thoughts, though not exactly comes under the definition of meditation, they act as a strong catalyst in achieving a meditation state. Let us discuss them one by one:-
The first thought is
(1) Be kind towards everybody
If you are not kind enough with your neighbors, if you do not love your fellow human beings, if you are not thankful to God for all things that he has given to you – then forget about meditation. It has no use for you and no meditation technique will help you.
Before doing meditation it is necessary that we have a feeling of true compassion for the whole universe. And when I say ‘Whole universe’, I really mean it. It means a feeling of compassion for all. For each and every living and non-living being in this universe irrespective of your own relation with that being. A feeling of love, compassion and kindness for everybody. Just be loving to your friend, your neighbours, your colleagues, your parents, your relatives and…… to your enemies and your competitors too !! Yes I mean it.
It may sounds quite odd, but it is the experience of millions of people who have meditated. With a bitter heart and animosity for someone, we simply can’t meditate . It is simply impossible. I’ll try to explain it:-
Please do this before starting meditation – just sit comfortably. You can sit on a chair, on bed, on earth in lotus pose (cross legged) or in any way of your liking. Close your eyes and send thoughts of good will to everybody. Just say in your mind – ” I love everybody. My love compassion and kindness is for everyone. ”
It may be the case that somebody has hurt you. Somebody has deceived you or you have been the victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities. Even if such is the case, you must thank God for not making you like those people. Things could be worse. You could be one of them ! Forgive them honestly and say in you heart” Now I forgive them”
I know that it is really difficult to forgive many times. Sometimes we have to suffer badly for no faults of ours and it really hurts. However, I earnestly request you to please consider this clichéd but golden advice that to err is human and to forgive is divine.
Please forgive those who have hurt you. Think over this: Had you been in their shoes, had you gotten the same kind of upbringing, education, had you been in the same sort of environment, then in all likelihood, you would be just like them . Please realize that we all are the result of our circumstances and thoughts. If people are bad, it is not that they have chosen to be bad. There are many factors like circumstances, financial & domestic conditions, educational background, friends-circle etc. that shape our lives.
Just think from the perspective that people are bad because of many external factors over which perhaps they do not have any control. Have sympathy with them, be compassionate and loving towards them and…….forgive them.
It appears difficult but is not very tough. To forgive somebody requires some real effort but the mental peace it provides is worth that effort. Now spread feelings of goodwill to all.
Say- “May I find true happiness.”
Say- “May all people who are close to my heart- my family, my parents, my very close friends; they all find true happiness.”
Slowly start expanding your area of goodwill.
” May all people on earth- whether I know them or not, whether I like them or not, they all find true happiness. “
Spread this good will to not just people but to all living creatures in all directions.
“May they all find true happiness. I love them all. Everybody is my friend. No one is my enemy”
This internal preparation is a very powerful way of preparing body for meditation and will make you very calm. You must try it to feel its power.
Now the second thing…
Second thought is :
(2) Thank God for everything you have :
This is the second thing to do. Once you have spread the thoughts of goodwill to whole universe, just be thankful to the universe. Be thankful to everybody for helping you at any point of time. Be thankful to God for all that he has given to you.
Have a feeling of gratitude for all that you have gotten. There are so many things in your life for which you should be thankful to God.
Thank him for the present day he has given us, thank him for the pleasant wind outside, thank him for trees, for sky, for the breakfast you have in the morning, the lunch in office and dinner at home. Thank him for giving you wonderful friends, a loving spouse, and a lovely child. Thank him for the beautiful music, the sun rise, the baseball, the TV, DVD, the Car, the bus, the fruits, the day free of traffic jams !
Well the list is endless. 95% things in our life are all right. Forget about the rest 5%.
If you find it difficult to find anything good in your life for which you should be thankful to this universe please read this inspiring verse
Think About this
Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight;
Just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.
Should you find yourself stuck in traffic; don’t despair.
There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work;
Think of the man who has been out of work for the last three months.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad;
Think of the person who has never known what it’s like to love and be loved in return.
Should you grieve the passing of another weekend;
Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for -15.00 to feed her family.
Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance;
Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror;
Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking “what is my purpose”;
Be thankful. There are those who didn’t live long enough to get the opportunity.
Should you find yourself the victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities;
Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!!!
Should you decide to tell the above to a friend;
You might brighten someone’s day!
After reading the above inspiring verse, I hope you must be aware of so many things for which you should be thankful to God. So thank him and proceed to third step.
After becoming compassionate and thankful to the universe for all that it has given to you, come to the third step. This third step is unique and very helpful.
The third thought is:-
(3) Just remind yourself that you are an ordinary, simple person.
It may sounds strange. But it is not. I am using the words ‘remind yourself’ .
You may say :- Hey! I am not an ordinary and simple person. I am so talented, so intelligent that only yesterday Boss gave me an appreciation letter recommending my out of turn promotion. Only because of my idea and original planning, my company could execute that different project in time. How I can be an ordinary person. I have been a consistent topper in my academic years. Well, there may be many ordinary and simple person but I am certainly not one of them. I am so intelligent, so beautiful and handsome, so rich! How can I call myself simple and ordinary when I am not?
If you are experiencing the same feelings as above or similar to that, let me tell you a truth:
Meditation, rather, will melt your ego and make you a down to earth person.
Yes ! you are important There are many achievements, many great qualities, many awards and success stories which can be attributed to you.
But tell me – does they really matters?
One of the most important quality in the world is to become truly simple and down to earth without pretending.
Our life on earth is limited. There was a time when you were not there. Then you came in this world. And you are here, living life to its fullest, facing and solving its problems. And a day will come when you will no longer remain on earth. Death will end your small journey of life.
In between these two days of birth and death there is a life which you have to live. Just think ! How many people will remember you after your death. Rest aside your death, if you are working, how many people will remember you after your retirement. Very few ! and if they do, they’ll do it only for a few days !
Life is just like that. Tell me for how many times you remember those colleagues who have long retired. I can bet, seldom or never we remember them. It is not that we do not like them or respect the good work they did in their time; the thing is that every day comes with new sets of problems.
We all spend our day in solving these newer sets of problems that we have no time to remember those who have worked with us in the past. It may sound bitter but the same thing will happen in your case too. You may be a brilliant and outstanding person.
You may have the uncanny ability of solving the problems in the blink of an eye. You may be the most successful and intelligent person in your entire country.
However, remember this :
At present you are facing and solving ‘a particular set of problems’ that have arisen in a ‘particular period of time’.
In future in ‘an another set of time’, a ‘very different set of problems’ will arise and there will be people who’ll solve them. Only when a difficult problem having a precedent in the past will pop up, then somebody will remember you and say ” hey this is similar to the one that Johnny had solved 5/10/x years ago !”
Why I am telling you all this ? I just want to familiarize you with the ephemeral character of life. In the ultimate analysis nothing is going to matter. The truth is that no matter how important, affluent and successful we are or how ordinary, failure or simple we are, we all will be forgotten by generations to come.
But don’t take it as a bad thing. After all we ourselves have forgotten all man of past. Except a few rare great personalities like Lincoln, Gandhi & Jefferson etc how many men or women of 17th or 18th century are in our memories ? They all have been buried in the past.
And sooner or later, one day we’ll also be forgotten by future generation. Yes there will be some exceptions. Some great men and woman among us. But tell me honestly, how many greats of past are remembered by us ? We remember them whenever there is a need to take some inspiration from past. We remember them on their birthday or on their martyr day. But all in all, our ‘present day’ life is full of its own quota of ‘day to day’ problems that most of us will spend our life in solving them.
Remember the immortal saying of Professor William James – ” The keenest desire of human being is the desire of becoming important”
Everybody wants importance. So don’t expect that you will be considered a VIP forever. There were VIP in the past. There are VIPs in present (you may be one of them) and there will be VIPs in future. And this’ll go on and on.
Actually our existence is just like an ocean. You are a wave of the ocean. You may be the most powerful, most thunderous, most beautiful and most inspiring wave of this ocean. But in the ultimate analysis you are just a wave. And the destiny of a wave is to merge again into the ocean. One day your little wave will also merge in the ocean of existence. Contemplate on this and understand the reality. We all are simple and ordinary in front of this huge cosmic play that is going on.
The socialism is disappearing fast. After USSR, China has also started adopting the capitalist way. It might happen that one day there will be no country left professing socialism. But the greatest socialist phenomenon will remain in this world and will continue making everyone equal. Do you know what is it ? It is … Death.
Death does not discriminate between poor or rich, healthy or ill, king or pauper. It makes everybody equal. All who have died are equal. Contemplate on this stark reality. Understand the ephemeral character of life.. and remind your self that you are a simple and ordinary person.
Take some time from your busy life and contemplate over this fact. Do it now.
Let me summarize all that I have described above. Before doing meditation, sit quietly in a comfortable position in a silent place. Then do these three contemplative acts:
(1) Be loving to all – Spread thoughts of good will to each and everybody in this universe. Remove all kind of animosity and hatred from your heart.
(2) Be thankful for all that you have gotten – Say thanks to God for all the good things he has given you. If you are an atheist, be thankful to the universe. Almost 95% things in our life are alright. Forget about the rest 5%.
(3) Remind yourself the ephemeral character of life – Life is small. We are just like a wave of ocean that will merge again into ocean.
Doing this three emotional contemplation will immensely help you in meditation. They will have a very cleansing effect on your internal being. You will be able to achieve meditative state very quickly. You will experience a deep mental peace. Though these 3 things are not meditation, they make the meditator highly receptive to all positive gain he/she will draw in meditation. I strongly recommend you to do these contemplative acts before meditation .
Now let us enter into the world of meditation techniques.
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