Words of wisdom from meditation teachers

Teachers share their views and experiences on meditation

Use a stick to bash a thought

PV Vaidyanathan, Paediatrician and author of Spirituality Bytes and Arise Awake
The biggest impediment to meditation, in my opinion, is the continuous stream of thoughts that materialise out of nowhere, and if we are not careful, carry us away on their backs, to far faraway lands. It is only after a lot of time has passed that we realise that we have been taken for a ride, by our thoughts, and meditation has been forgotten.

Many methods are employed by spiritual gurus to help us achieve a thoughtless state, a state of stillness. While all methods are good, they are not uniformly easy to perform. One such method which I use often is to tell my mind “I am sitting here with a mental stick. If any thought comes up, I am going to bash it with this stick.” And surprisingly, either because I am intensely alert and aware of any thought coming up, or because our mind fears a mental bashing, thoughts become very less. In that state, we become the watcher, the witness, watching the clear screen of the mind, waiting for a thought to spring up. If one can hold on to this state for a few minutes, it will help immensely.

The distractions are only in your mind

Karen Sivan, runs a meditation centre in Kerala
Often people want to participate in group meditations but will then allow others to distract them. Sound of people breathing too loud, having an incorrect sitting posture, keeping their eyes open, fidgeting, not liking another’s energy or  being unhappy with the position of their place within the group are some complaints I’ve heard. What these people are distracting themselves from is their own resistance to being with themselves, completely and wholly.

Ultimate bliss may take years

Geeta Iyer, Yoga Teacher
Meditation is a self discipline that purifies the restless mind, removing negativity, ego and pain. With conscious inward effort you let out and let go the obstacles of peace which are the negative energies and the ego [false identity]. Meditation requires determination, patience, concentration, sincere effort and lastly regularity in practice.

Every meditation is a different experience and the experience is related to the lifestyle and to the present mind and body condition. As a yoga practitioner, I wish to emphasise that it will take many years of dedicated practice to experience inner silence and ultimate bliss.

Meditating while in traffic

Alexandra Copley, Yoga teacher at The Yoga House, Mumbai
Living in Mumbai requires an intense awareness of the moment you are in. From driving to walking one must stay focussed and receptive to what each moment brings. I try to find my moments of meditation in this noisy, busy city wherever I can. Meditation is not restricted to the four walls of a quiet room in the middle of nowhere. It can be done here, now. I at times even find myself becoming aware of my breath and meditating while riding in auto-rickshaws. The rides are often a metaphor for life and learning to let go of control. And with closed eyes they can be even more fun.

When the sun joined me in meditation

Priya Shah, Founder WeBe
You can have your moments of meditation any time and anywhere. I was sitting in the park one evening. There was a spot made with stone benches below the shade of trees, where people could rest. There were people walking on the track and children playing games. The sun was setting and I was sitting with eyes closed, listening to the sounds of birds chirping, people talking and the distant sounds of the city traffic. Suddenly I felt a hot spot on my cheek. I intuitively knew that it was a ray of sun that was finding its way through the leaves to touch me. Usually we protect ourselves from direct sunlight, but this time it was different. I released my resistance and accepted the ray of light deep within me. I could feel that I was getting nourished and taken care of. A whole new dimension of gratitude started overflowing. I could see myself playing the game of hide and seek with the sun. I could connect with the sun, as if it were my friend. And in a moment I realised that we always were.

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