Do any of the following statements sound familiar?:

  • I sit down, concentrate really hard, but nothing happens
  • Everyone seems to experience “something” but I have never felt that “something”
  • I often find myself opening one eye and looking at the others to see if I can pick up what they are experiencing during group meditations sessions
  • It’s actually really frustrating to sit down for an hour and end up feeling even more restless

Meditation can be a very abstract concept to understand, and it can take a while before you reach the point where you can actually experience that balance.  In order to help or guide you there are many techniques and approaches on how to achieve what you are looking for via the meditation channel.  But if you have ever tried any of these, you might have experienced that even when you follow them to the dot, you still end up with an empty and unfulfilled experience.

Mantras and meditation

Perhaps the most common approach to meditation is by using a mantra.  So let’s first define what a mantra is.

What is a mantra?

A “mantra” is a word, a phrase, or a sound that enables you to enter and connect to the deeper states of your mind and spirit.  

Group meditation session

How to use a mantra?

A mantra is usually recited repeatedly in your mind, creating vibrations that allow you to enter a balanced mental state inside of you.  This state is often referred to as: “the balance”.  

In practice, the process is quite simple:

  1. Find a place where you can sit undisturbed and in silence.
  2. Sit up right (ideally in a lotus position) in a comfortable position.  Keep in mind that you will be sitting down still for quite a few minutes, even hours.
  3. Close your eyes. Breath in, breathe out a number of times until you find yourself at peace.
  4. When you feel ready, start reciting your mantra in your mind (not out loud).
  5. Recite it until it brings you into a light trance
  6. Stay in this space as long as you feel like it, or feel comfortable in it
  7. When you are ready to return, slowly start opening your eyes
  8. Once you are are back to full consciousness, go over what you just experienced

It seems pretty simple, but once you try it, it can be difficult to actually find that balance.  I’ve been meditating for years so for me this process is almost automatic.  But through time, I’ve noticed that there are other ways to get you to that “balance”.   

For some, a mantra can feel a bit distant and out of touch.  There are many “instruments” inside of you that can actually make it easier for you to find your center without using a mantra.  One of my preferred ways is the “life flashing before our eyes” approach.

Meditating in the “lotus” position

“Life flashing before your eyes” approach to meditation

With this method your vehicle or instrument will not be a mantra but an experience of your past.  We’ve all had that moment where we either were involved in an accident, or almost.  This sometimes triggers our minds to “flash our lives” before our eyes.  Many people experience this as a series of images depicting either key moments in their lives, or the people they care about and love the most.  

So at this point I would go into my memories and find one of these flash moments.  The last one I had, came with all these images of my wife, father, mother, the day I learned how to ride a bike, the first time I saw the Eiffel tower, and a random moment when I was a child where I hurt my finger trying to hammer in a nail.   

Once I have my  group of memories I am ready to go.  I will now proceed with the steps 1 – 3 as mentioned above:

  1. Find a place where I can sit undisturbed and in silence.
  2. Sit up right in a comfortable position.  
  3. Close my eyes. Breath in, breathe out.

As a next step, instead of reciting my mantra, I will start thinking of these flash memories.  I will now look at these images one by one, giving each one of them my time and attention.  I will continue to do this until one of them grabs my attention.  In this case, my father’s image.  Today, this image, for whatever reason, caught my attention more than the others.  I will now dive into this image, and try to go “back in time” to the moment this image represents.  

I go back, and I see my father.  He is telling me to never touch those plants, as he points to what appears to be poison ivy.  I can very clearly feel my father’s love towards me.  I look up.  There are trees, plants, flowers, and insects all around us.  I can feel the breeze on my face.  I can hear the bees buzzing at a distance.  I can sense the warmth of the sun on my skin.  I let all these impressions and feelings sink in as I continue observing all the details of this memory.  I pick the right moment, and then I step out of this, and when I come out, I’m immediately placed in my state of balance. 

I have found this to be the easiest way to reach my center.  Once I am at this point, I can either stay there for a while enjoying the state of balance, I can take a completely different route inside of me, or prepare for my return to consciousness.  

Outdoors meditation

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