Meditation Method 2: Walking With Full body Awareness

Walking meditation is a less known but very effective way of achieving a meditative state. The advantage that we get in this method is that since the body is in a dynamic state, the level of awareness that we can achieve is higher as compared to when we are sitting or lying down.

Since this method is all about awareness of our connection with the earth, it is better if we avoid wearing any kind of footwear while doing this. Best would be to walk bare feet and have a surface that is different than normal. for example, it would be beneficial to walk on a slightly rough surface, or a lawn or sea shore. That way, being conscious of the feelings or sensations of our feet becomes easier.

In  walking meditation, we first relax ourselves, calm down if we are worked up  and then start by simply being mindful of our breath as we walk very slowly and gently. After doing this for a few minutes. we simply need to become aware of our feet as they touch the ground. Feel the sole touching the ground below and be aware of this feeling.

Now, while you are aware of your feet, be aware of your breath as well. No need to synchronize your breath with the walking rhythm. Just being aware is good enough. Initially try to walk as slowly as possible, being aware of every micro movement. Be aware of the pressure on your heel, toes and feet. Be aware as the pressure sifts from one leg to the other as you walk and be aware of your entire body as it moves to the next position.  Remember that this has to be done very very slowly.  Normally, your mind will be completely blank if you are fully aware of your feet and body. However, if you realize that suddenly, your mind has got engaged in a certain thought or emotion, then just stop for a while. be completely steady and pay careful attention to the thought till it subsides.  then continue with the walking meditation.

You can keep your hands to the sides and be aware as they sway back and forth as you walk. After a while, I normally start feeling some sensations in my hands, such as tingling or certain vibrations.  I keep myself aware of whatever is happening, which further takes me into deeper states of Mindful walking.

Within 5 minutes, you might feel a shift in consciousness. Continue for 5 minutes more.  Doing this for at least 10 minutes or more at a time is recommended.

Mindful walking can help us in bringing in a lot of peace and can get rid of negative emotions such as sorrow, anxiety, worries, anger, stress etc. Since, we are being grounded to the earth, it also helps in getting rid of any physical ailments by getting the negative energy that’s inside the body out by passing it down into the loving mother earth.

If done properly and regularly, you will possibly just walk your way to enlightenment !!

My Awakening Experience through a Grounding Exercise

Several years ago, (around the year 1997-98), I experienced a very powerful awakening experience while doing a particular grounding meditation exercise. In this post, I am sharing this experience, and my learning and observations from this.

I was trying out a ‘grounding’ exercises mentioned on a certain website. I was sitting in front of my PC, reading out the explanation displayed on screen and following the steps. Basically, it involved visualizing cosmic energy from the sun, coming down from the cosmos, getting into the body through my crown chakra, and then going down through my spine and my feet straight upto the bottom of the earth. Then the energy would come back up the same route and create a cycle / Loop.  The Heart chakra then opened and white light from the Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra) formed a cover around my body. It was a detailed exercise and I was intensely doing it. Suddenly something magical happened, and it came as a shock.

I felt as if all my body weight was gone. It seemed as if I had dissolved in the surrounding ether. It is very difficult to describe the feeling that I experienced, since there was a paradox in it. I had become light just like a feather, but at the same time heavier than anything else. I was smaller than the smallest, at the same time bigger than anything around. I felt as if I did not finish anywhere.

There was a tremendous unbound love that I felt all around myself, and I suddenly realized that everything around me was “ME”. The feeling of boundaries did not exist. The PC in front was Me, the Chair below was Me, the Bed next to me was Me, and same was the state of everything in that room.

Miles below me there was nothing, and miles above me there was nothing. I was floating in the air, and I didn’t have any weight either. I realized that while I had completely lost myself,  it was just me and me all over  …everywhere. The feeling was amazingly wonderful, but the moment, I felt the loss of boundaries, the loss of my body limits, and then suddenly my insecure self probably felt that I had lost myself and I got pulled out of that state back into my earlier level of consciousness.

There again I was in front of my PC. However, now the PC seemed different from me, same was with the bed, the walls and everything around. I was now aware of my body. The unity had gone. There was a slight feeling of lightness, but not floating as before. I was reeling from the intense experience. Thinking nothing. Just sitting on the chair dumbfound as if struck by lightening.

The strongest realization of this experience, was the fact that ‘I’ was not my body, and that ‘I’ was also not my thoughts and feelings. I was certainly something much more and beyond these. I realized that in this universe there was indeed no Duality. Everything was one, and the feeling of being separate or duality was simply an illusion created by the mind.

I never thought that Spiritual grounding could be so amazing. This experience made me realize that ‘I’ was something beyond ‘my mind’ and ‘my thoughts’ and ‘my body’. Today I live my life with an understanding that everyone around me, including you and all those who are reading this blog are Me and Me itself. We all are made of the same divine spirit and consciousness that runs through the entire universe. There is nothing called Living and Non-Living. Everything around me is living and is united with my Spirit or Soul.

Meditation Method 1: Attentive Eating

In my earlier post, I have given an overview of my understanding of Meditation and  a list of 5 simple methods that one can use to mediate. In this post, I am giving details on the first method, called Attentive Eating.

Attentive Eating: An effective way to achieve a Meditative state:  In this, what we simply need to do is that whenever we eat, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, we completely immerse ourselves in the process of eating.

Giving attention to anything is said to change its nature and behavior. The Double Slit experiment gives us proof of this. When a quantum “observer” is watching, Quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. … In other words, when under observation, electrons are being “forced” to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings. Therefore, the impact of Attention, Awareness and Observation is established beyond doubt.

Here’s what I do…..    While I eat, I become completely attentive, aware and observing the process. I am never engaged simultaneously in chatting, talking on the mobile, watching TV, nothing. The only thing that exists is the divine presence of my food and my self.  Then as I eat, I bring my awareness to the taste, touch and smell of food as I pick it, chew it and swallow. I chew food till the time it becomes liquid in my mouth and only then swallow it. I slow down the process of eating by 10-20% observing the entire process as it happens. I simultaneously maintain awareness of my entire body as I eat.

I do not engage in formal prayer at home, or in a temple, however, I consider the process of eating as a form of prayer and uniting with the divine.  While eating, my mind is completely silent. It is not judging the food, neither assessing whether the taste is good or bad. I’m just eating it with a smile, being grateful and thankful to the universe for making food available to me multiple times every day. I consume it knowing that the atoms and molecules in it are very soon going to be ‘me’ when they get into my cells and my bloodstream.

If we do this just for 3-4 days, for every meal that we have, we suddenly start  experiencing a shift happening deep inside us the moment we sit for eating food and then this state continues for hours even after we are done with our lunch or dinner.

The greatest benefit of this method is that unlike other methods, we do not need to spare time for this separately apart from our daily routine. We regularly eat at least 3 times a day, and therefore every day presents us with at least three opportunities for deeply engaging in this wonderful eating meditation.

A direct benefit of this meditation is that our digestion of food improves drastically, more saliva is secreted since our mind is involved in the food and the process of eating.  We must understand that saliva is not secreted due to chewing, it is secreted when the mind is involved with food, even if it is at a thought level. I’m sure you would have experienced salivation even when you think of certain foods, say a lemon, raw mango etc. while these are not even in front of you.

The brain also gets the feeling of satisfaction sooner and so we don’t keep eating more than what we require, thereby avoiding getting overweight. Also, we are able to eat lesser to get the same amount of energy and nutrition as before. One must understand that digestion is an extremely energy consuming process. if we eat more than what the body requires, then in effect, we are putting in extra energy to digest the extra food consumed which the body actually doesn’t need and will later just store it as extra fat which we will end up carrying around us all the time, thus requiring extra energy. One must avoid this situation for sure.

Attentive eating, according to me is the easiest form of meditation. I highly recommend this method to everyone and especially those who find other forms of meditation difficult.

Meditation

A lot of people misunderstand Meditation and consider it to be something where one needs to follow certain postures, methods, rituals, visualizing, etc. Several books on Meditation have further complicated it too much.

I have found meditation to be very simple and straightforward. For me, meditation is the state of being aware and in the present moment. It is about immersing myself in a state where my mind ceases to exist and my ‘being’ comes into existence. I have been easily able to achieve a meditative state while traveling, walking, driving, having a bath, attending nature’s call and even right now as I write this blog.

Over the last several years, I have tried more than 10-12 different methods for meditation. However I have found that only about 6-7 of these have given me expected results and I believe that for a layman these are good ways to engage in meditation on a daily basis. Most books on Meditation have tried to complicate the process and make it look difficult, so people tend to try and drop these after failing to get results.

I have commonly used the following methods to achieve a meditative state:

  1. Attentive Eating
  2. Walking with full body awareness
  3. Heart Rhythm Meditation
  4. Being in the ‘GAP’ Meditation
  5. Breath focus meditation

I will be giving some details of each, and I am starting today with the next post on Attentive eating meditation titled ‘Meditation -1:  Attentive Eating. Subsequently as a set of 4 more separate posts, I will write about the others too.