Those who have been meditating for some time are very familiar with the progress they have made, since disciplining their minds. The benefits they feel are reflected in the overall improvements to their health, emotional and mental well being and their spiritual awareness.
Those who know them will also see that they are no longer affected by stress or anxiety, are calmer, happier, more fulfilled and are more positive in their outlook because of the positive shifts in awareness they have created.
So what is it about the mind that needs disciplining, and how is this achievable?
Firstly we have to look at the mind as an organism with several levels of consciousness. To begin we need to look at the unconscious, conditioned, jealous or insecure mind we all are influenced by in some way. These limiting aspects of our mind that can have a destabilizing influence on our daily reactions, attitudes, projections, concepts or prejudices that we have incorporated into our self-identity.
As adults we have and still are experiencing years of conditioning, most of it unconsciously. These unconscious conditionings began in our early childhood and now permeate virtually all aspects of our adult life.
What if the conditioning we have been exposed to was largely based upon jealousy, anxiety, ego, selfishness, violence, insecurity or fear. As opposed to conditioning that was loving, inclusive, supportive, happy, inspiring or creative. Realistically we would then have two individuals with considerable differences in personalities, attitudes, visions, beliefs and inspiration.
If we can appreciate that these are possible, then it is also possible to discipline the mind, to see it mature to become a conscious, happy, inclusive, considerate, compassionate or loving self-serving instrument. So how is this possible? Along with other supportive strategies we can choose to discipline the mind through meditation, for it functions more as a balanced inclusive and conscious whole, rather than as unconscious limiting reactions.
Meditation gives us the practical experience and realization of an unlimited higher reality, one with practice that empowers a synergistic union between an awakened mind and heart. To be a meditator you need to dedicate a set amount of time each day to the creation of a meditation practice. This will require commitment, discipline, enthusiasm and willingness. Meditation is remarkably simple, so simple in fact many people often question how can something so simple, produce such transformative shifts in a persons reality.
And this is where the disciplining of the mind begins. You will be required to spend in the initial few months 10-15 minutes each day at your meditation practice. Yes that’s all. But this ideally will need to be each and every day, and at the same time each day, and there is a very good reason for this.
The mind and its unconscious wandering will initially face some of its greatest challenges in those 10-15 minutes of each day: and that is its required undivided attention and sustained concentration. Meditation teaches us to ‘catch’ the mind before it wanders off unconsciously.
Remember the mind only has power over us because you give it that power. If we pay no attention to its stories or dramas, its power is lost and it has nowhere to go, so it remains still, attentive and alert.
The retraining of the mind begins with the breath. We rarely pay any attention to our breath, but in meditation it is the very first point of reference. Firstly it is important to sit comfortably in a chair with a straight back and neck with shoulders relaxed. Place you hands on your lap and your feet resting on the floor, and keep your eyes closed. This posture enables for the unrestricted free flow of the breath and personal comfort.
Each inhalation and exhalation is done through your nose, with your mouth always closed. It is important that you breathe from the lower abdomen, in a relaxed natural rhythm, nothing forced. Now as you inhale follow the path of your breath, as it flows into your chest. Be aware as it enters through your nostrils, then the back of the throat and down into your lungs. Notice the natural rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale.
Now at this point, I can almost guarantee you that you are having some difficulty concentrating on this exercise, as your mind has wandered off, am I right? So now you are beginning to see just how undisciplined your mind actually is, it can’t remain focused on the simplest of exercises without being distracted. Now this observation is powerful indeed, because now you know what you are consciously working with. This is the beginning of the ‘disciplining’.
You will quickly develop a calm and natural breathing technique as you continue. Remain alert keep the focus on the flow of your breath. Each time the mind wanders, discipline it by simply bringing it back to the breath focus. You will need to do this many, many times, but that is all part of the process. Be patient, it all takes time you cannot force it. It’s like developing a new muscle it takes commitment, effort, enthusiasm and willingness.
The disciplining is a gradual one, but it is achievable and the benefits are life changing and unfolding. The longer you are able to remain in still mental alertness, the more you are able to function consciously in partnership with the intuitive heart. This dynamic union is of great importance for overall clarity, wellbeing, balance and discernment.
So next time you are feeling stressed, anxious, confused or generally not on top of your game, remember your friends and the positive changes they made to their lives, and the steps they took to turn their lives around.