Monday, August 31, 2015

About Meditation

I have been doing a little bit of meditation everyday for a few months. In fact, on and off, I have done this for a very long time. But this time, for the first time, I see tangible benefits. The first immediate benefit has been completely physical. I used to have a chronic neck-shoulder-back pain all the time for several years. It had started perceptibly worsening in the last few years. It was never very sharp, but was bad enough to affect the quality of my sleep sometimes. I hadn't tried any medical help, but had tried all sorts of exercises. Nothing had helped. But meditation has allowed me to feel largely free of that pain for the first time. I can't believe that making that pain almost disappear was in my hands and was so easy! I really feel very happy about it. I don't know if this state will persist for long or not. But for sure, at present, it seems to be working like a miracle.

The second benefit is more mental, and is about the overall feeling of well-being. I am able to stay calm in larger number of situations. I am not wasting precious energy by being unnecessarily tensed, physically and mentally. I sleep very deeply these days!

What's this meditation that I am doing? I think, I haven't followed any prescribed method. Firstly, it's based on a belief that the default state of being is that of meditation. Meditating therefore is about going back to the ground state. This means, that ideally, one should always be in a meditative state. Which also means, it's not to be effortful, but should rather be about letting go of unnecessary efforts.

How do I do it? I just do a periodic (say, every few minutes) mental scan of my body to detect if there's a muscle which is tensed or exerted without need. The next stage is to maintain this while doing something. By being self aware, I am able to analyse which are precisely the set of muscles which need to be exerted to do what I am doing. Then I try to make sure that no other muscle is exerted during that time. For example, if I am concentrating on typing this mail, why should my face muscle be clenched? If I am cycling why should be chest and back be tightened. Often, tightening of extra muscles seems to have something to do with avoiding pains and aches. If the particular muscle being used in a task is aching due to exertion, we involuntarily try to distribute the effort to other neighbouring muscles. Probably that's why, it's a good idea to do some exercises and asanas. To make sure that all muscles and bones of the body can do what they are supposed to.

I also try to do the same thing with my mental state. Think about one thing at a time. Don't exert the brain on unnecessary processing. Identify the negative emotions (fear, anger, ego ...) which send the brain on a flurry of unnecessary activities. This mental part is much harder, and at best, I am just a beginner in this.
(This is an excerpt from a mail I wrote sometime back to my friend Prachee.)

1 comment:

Uma said...

So looks like I m treading the same path. Coincidentally hit this blog.
I, too, am experiencing neck and back pain since October, though I m a fitness freak. There seems to be no problem as per doctor. I have stopped my exercise, which I love so much.
I have come to terms with my situation now, after a lot of mental and physical agony!!
Pranayam has provided me some respite. Plus I am just observing my pain, my thoughts, not stamping anything as "good" or "bad". This video is a major breakthrough. On YouTube "Krishnamurti with Allan W Anderson - lecture - meditation 2"