Beginning Meditation

When you meditate at home, set aside a corner of your room which you can make absolutely pure and sanctified - a sacred place that you use only for meditation.

For your daily meditation, it is best to meditate alone. Before beginning your meditation, it is helpful to take a shower or proper bath. It is also advisable to wear clean and light clothes.

To follow the spiritual life, you should meditate at least once a day. It is best to meditate early in the morning when the atmosphere is calm and peaceful.

When meditating, it is important to keep the spine straight and erect, and to keep the body relaxed. You will find that your inner being will spontaneously take you to a conformable position; it is up to you to maintain it.

Some seekers like to meditate while laying down, but this is not advisable.You may enter into a world of sleep or into a kind of inner doze. Again, the lotus position, which is an advanced yoga posture, is not necessary for proper meditation. Many people meditate very well while they are seated in a chair.

It will help if you burn incense and candles and keep some flowers in front of you. The outer flower will remind you of the flower inside your heart.

When you smell the scent of incense, you will gain inspiration and purification to add to your inner treasure. When you see the outer flame, immediately you will feel your inner flame climbing high, higher, highest.

Proper breathing is very important in meditation. When breathing, try to inhale as slowly and quietly as possible, so that if somebody placed a tiny thread in front of your nose, it would not move at all. And try to exhale more slowly still. If possible, leave a short pause between the end of your exhalation and the beginning of your inhalation. If you can, hold your breath for a few seconds. But if it is difficult, do not do it. Never do anything that will harm your organs or respiratory system.

Each time you breathe in, try to feel that you are bringing into your body infinite peace. When you breathe out, try to feel that you are expelling the restlessness within and all around you. After practicing this a few times, try to feel that you are inhaling power from the universe. When you exhale, feel that all your fear is leaving your body. After doing this a few times, try to feel that what you are breathing in is infinite joy, and what you are breathing out is sorrow, suffering and depression.

There is also something else you can try. Feel that you are breathing in not air, but cosmic energy. Feel that there is not a single place in your body that is not being filled by cosmic energy. It is flowing like a river inside you, washing and purifying your whole being. Then when you start to breathe out, feel that you are breathing out all the rubbish inside you - all your undivine thoughts, obscure ideas and impure actions.

- Sri Chinmoy, The Wings of Joy, p. 32 - 33