It’s that time of the year when some of us consciously think on making resolutions.
Yay!! Swamiji is offering online course in Meditation – a 4-day online course that can aid us meditate in the right manner!
So what? This is old news ! Meditation has been on offer as a course for long by Swamiji and similar courses are on offer by several other masters, and it is likely that some of us may have attended a couple of them as well.
Unconsciously, we still keep searching around for a better course on meditation and keep hoping of a miraculous course that can turn us into a wonderful meditator. Swamiji’s in his offering has identified 4 hurdles in meditation viz: restlessness, laziness, emotions and stray thoughts that he speaks about in his course. However, he speaks about hurdles while meditating.
What I have observed is that the urge to sit for meditation itself is a waxing and waning process. We begin with a resolution to meditate everyday but our daily routines make us skip the period of meditation itself. Not knowing this is a disease, we keep seeking solution externally by trying to find a more motivating technique to meditate. We hope to find that technique of meditation that can keep us eternally motivated enough to not skip the practice at the scheduled time every-day. Sounds familiar?
Sadly, our desire to meditate is not very strong CONSISTENTLY. It often gets side-tracked by compelling reasons like a work emergency or family emergency or inability to stick to allotted schedule due to sleep deprivation (especially when meditation is planned for early morning).
If you can recognize and connect with above issues, chances are that you have internally trained yourself to avoid meditation. This may sound bizarre – Yes there is a strong desire within to meditate but unconsciously you have trained yourself to not meditate. You have become allergic to meditation.
This is a result of erroneous thought process within. Chances are that you may be unconsciously and consistently feeding your mind with either one or combination of all these thoughts as below:
- Meditation is difficult
- Meditation is not for me.
- I can meditate only if I am in the right environment and the present environment is not right
- I must be free to meditate, I can’t be having responsibilities and then mediate (for eg: be a father/mother/student/brother/sister etc..)
- Waking up early for meditation is a very painful thing to do.
- I can’t forgo sleep for meditation (it will affect my work during the day)
- Someone or other will come and disturb me right when I am meditating.
- I am not capable of sitting still
- There is a perfect way of meditation, and I will meditate when I learn about it
- Meditation can happen only when a teacher is around
There can be several other such toxic ideas that one keeps feeding oneself internally and this makes us avoid doing meditation. To change the situation is easier said than done because we have habituated ourselves to thinking thus. And habits die hard!
If the glass of water has turned impure there are only 2 ways of having pure water. In the first method, we invert the glass and drain the impure water. This is the equivalent of seeking to break a habit by just cleaning and stopping all similar thoughts from coming(collecting) again. This is a difficult process for most as it needs a high level of mindfulness. The easier method which is also the second method is where we keep pouring fresh water in bulk to the impure glass of water. Over a period, the water content turns pure. In our case this means building new positive habits and keep pouring these new habits in plenty to wash up the old filth.
My guru Shree C.D. Ranaji speaks of writing affirmation statements, and I sincerely believe that this is a good start. There is a technique called 9-3-9 for replacing limiting belief with empowering belief. Here we begin with first defining a positive affirmation statement for ourselves For eg: “I meditate everyday for 2 hours at 4AM with least disturbance and maximum results” Now for 21 days we keep writing this affirmation in a book using 9-3-9 method of writing. For the 9-3-9 method, we write the said affirmation 9 times using our true hand (eg: right hand for people who are right-handed). This is followed by writing the affirmation again for 3 times using the wrong hand (Left hand if you are right-handed) and then finally writing the affirmation again for 9 times using your normal hand. In this way we write the affirmation 21 times in a single sitting. The activity itself must be done for 21 days for a new idea to sink into the sub-conscious completely. Repeating it for more than 21 days is even better. By doing this, all limiting ideas are super-seeded with the new idea. The 3 times of writing with the wrong hand helps in 2 ways – it helps bring the focus back on the affirmation and it helps us connect with another part of our brain unlike the true hand.
In Yogic practice, manifesting of a desire is done by use of “Sankalp”(Intent statement or affirmation”) . Everyone likes doing Shavasana (corpse pose) thinking that it is the easiest pose. Truly speaking this is a very difficult posture to master. In my experience most people lose the alertness in this practice by falling half or full asleep.
The Shavasana practice can be easily combined with a Sankalp to usher a positive habit. To do that, when we lie down on the floor for doing Shavasana, and as we just begin to relax we remind ourselves of our Sankalp (for eg: above affirmation statement) by mentally repeating it thrice. As we go into the final stage of relaxation moving to our subconscious plane, we will repeat the Sankalp again for 3 times and then lie down immobile with complete awareness of our relaxed body. Doing this daily can also produce miraculous results aiding you to bring yourself to do mediation on daily basis without any mental strain.
In conclusion, there are three things needed to develop a habit –
- Desire to do it or motivation
- Ability to do it
- Cue or prompt (something to get the habit loop started)
From the beginning we have taken for granted that the desire to do it is very much there in all of us. It just meant that we had doubts on our ability to do it and or lacked in a cue or prompt for the habit to start.
If you have agreed with most of my writing till now, it is most likely that it is the “ability to do it” that is the primary hinderance to meditation. Sense of Ability is directly connected to feeling of simpleness of the act. One feels a simpleness in the act in the following instances when our mind tells us:
- We have time available to do it.
- Doing this does not make me spend money more than my means
- Doing this does not take too much effort than I am physically capable of
- Doing this does not make me think hard or worry on various related issues
- Doing this does not feel like we are doing something wrong or unacceptable to the family/society
Using the 9-3-9 technique or Shavasana -Sankalp combination helps in sorting all the 3 aspects of a habits viz: Desire to do it, ability to do it and prompt to do it. So- give yourself a minimum 21 days of workout and voila – your allergy to meditation will get cured. Happy Meditating!!