Updated on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 07:47 AM IST

Guiding Light: Chasing thoughtlessness


It is a common misconception that meditation is the act of controlling the mind and suppressing one’s thoughts. This is as futile as trying to hold sand in a closed fist; eventually, it trickles out. Meditation happens when one is in a meditative mindset. A meditative mindset is a stage of gentle self-awareness, where the mind is alert without being focused too intensely on any specific thing.

How should one cultivate this mythical meditative mindset, one might ask. Well, here are a few practical tips. Today’s lifestyle is largely sedentary. We spend large chunks of time chained to our workstations, drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Start with introducing periodic breaks to stretch and stroll, and cut down on the amount of caffeine running through your bloodstream. This helps you clear your head, think about the problem more effectively after the break, and prevents the build-up of physical restlessness, which results from prolonged periods of inertia.

Try and have a gap of at least 90 minutes since the last meal before you attempt to meditate, but at the same time, make sure you aren’t battling hunger pangs either. If the air element dominates in your body, and you’re generally quite restless, you might want to start with some gentle jogging, even if it’s on the spot, and perhaps even some stretches just to get the rajas out of your system.

Sit comfortably with your spine gently upright, seeking backrest if needed, and gently bring your awareness to your breath. Notice how it ebbs and flows, the temperature, the depth, and experience how it makes you feel.

As you bring this gentle focus to your breath, the mind gradually unclutches from the thoughts that it’s been grappling with all day. It then drifts into a zone that brings it deep rest without putting you to sleep. It’s okay to doze off the first few times you try.

And just like that, when you stop chasing after the butterfly of thoughtlessness, it gently perches on your shoulder, giving you a rare glimpse of that infinite silence that prevails within.

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Published on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 07:47 AM IST