Sunday, October 27, 2019

Meditation Practice: Concentrative Meditation

One of the greatest rewards of concentrative meditation is the irreversible transformation it brings in you. Your habits, thoughts, emotions no longer provoke you like the earlier times. Internal or external triggers don’t throw you off balance.

Your mindfulness and alertness rises to a degree that you are able to choose your response at all times without falling prey to negative emotions. It comes naturally from the stillness of body and mind. The noise of thoughts become feeble and they lose their steam. 

In concentrative meditation, you settle your mind on your chosen object of meditation which could be an image, breath, a mantra or plain void. While the other five methods of meditation are a lot more lenient about your body posture, concentrative meditation requires complete mastery of your posture. This is mostly because success in this form of meditation demands complete stillness of the body.

How to Do It Right

Stillness of the body and mind comes with great practice. Here’s how to perform concentrative meditation: 

  1. Sit in a comfortable posture, preferably crossed-legged. 
  2. Keep your back and head straight. Neck, slightly bent, just only. 
  3. Abandon all body movements. 
  4. Yoke your focus on any object. 
  5. Maintain great mindfulness. 

Please review and follow the eight elements of a yogic posture and the six principles of meditation. They are entirely applicable to the practice of concentrative meditation. Once seated comfortably but correctly, start building your focus on your chosen object of meditation with complete alertness and mindfulness.

Madhyamaka Hridya states, 
“If one is overcome with distraction, one should retreat and regard it as being a harmful sign of perceptive diversion.”
Thus, whenever you discover that your mind is getting bombarded with other thoughts and emotions (which it will), simply understand that they are distractions. Ignore them and carry on with your concentration. Remember that thoughts are merely thoughts, devoid of any essence. Don’t analyze, pursue, accept, process or examine any thought whatsoever. Our goal is to build non-discriminatory, unblemished, sharp and lucid concentration. If you are meditating correctly, the craving for sensory pleasures will disappear on its own. 

Each time your mind wanders off, bring it back to the point of focus. Over time you will develop razor-sharp awareness; so that, you will become aware of each emerging thought before it turns into a distraction. 

If you find yourself slouching or leaning in any of the four directions, just gently correct your posture. Don’t forget to maintain a gentle smile and steadily retain focus on your chosen object. 

I must reiterate that it is absolutely critical to note that during concentrative meditation, you must stay away from all intellectual examination, contemplation and cogitation.

Do not accept, reject, examine, follow, engage in or pursue your thoughts. Simply do not act or react. Just gently maintain your concentration. Maintain short but crisp and lucid sessions of meditation. An untamed mind cannot stay on a thought for any longer than a few seconds. I would recommend that rather than doing one session of 45 minutes, do three lucid and crisp sessions of fifteen minutes. They will bring much greater benefit. Over time, as you get better, you can gradually increase the duration. 

I would also like to tell you that there is no joy in concentrative meditation, in the actual practice. But once you start to experience a quiescent mind, you will be addicted to meditation.

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