When you meditate, the mind becomes calm, tranquillity spreads through the body, healing and rejuvenating at the deepest level of being. It is thus a trump card to good health, tranquillity and inner harmony.
The best time to meditate is early morning or at night. But you can practise it while commuting to work, during a spare moment at the office or any other time. Make a `sankalpa` - a resolution - to do it daily, ideally at the same time and same place. Try it for a month and see the difference. Once you get into the habit and start enjoying this private time to yourself, it will soon become your most treasured hour of the day.Stage A: Body awareness
The ABCD of meditation
Spend a few moments in becoming aware of your body and your posture. Run your awareness systematically through the various parts of your body. Become aware of any aches, pains or tension and work mentally towards releasing the tensions and relaxing each part of the body.
Sit in any comfortable meditative posture - `sukhasana`, `vajrasana`, `padmasana`, or lie down flat on your back in `shavasana`. Close your eyes. Relax.
Become aware of your body and your posture. Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line. Become aware of any sensations in the body. Move your awareness through one complete body rotation. Then try to maintain a uniform homogenous awareness of the whole body.
Become aware of the stillness of the body. Intensify that awareness. Although your thoughts may stray, maintain awareness of the physical body.
Once again, move your awareness to the different parts of the body. Try to feel every inch of your body as intensely as you can.
Once again, be aware of your whole body.
Become aware of your natural breathing. Imagine you`re breathing in and out from your heart. Count every inhalation and exhalation from 50 to 0. Inhale 50, exhale 50; inhale 49, exhale 49, and so on. If you lose count, start again. If you are short of time, practise for 10 to 20 counts.
Stage C: `Antar mouna`
The first two stages are meant for preparing the body and mind for meditation. Now, you can practise this simple version of antar mouna which means `inner silence`.
Mentally prepare yourself by saying, " I am ready to practise `antar mouna`. Next, become acutely aware of your external environment - all external sounds near and far. Become aware of all sensations of heat, cold, comfort and discomfort. Heighten the awareness of all your senses - touch, taste, smell and sound.
Become aware of all your thoughts. Accept whatever comes. Do not oppose or suppress any thoughts. Just remain an uninvolved, silent and alert witness. Whatever your thoughts might be, look at them indifferently, with detachment, as a witness. Do not lose yourself in any experience but maintain constant awareness "I am only the seer or the witness."
Choose a thought of your own free will. Reflect on it for some time and then let go. Choose another thought, stay with it for a while and let go of it. Repeat this process a couple of times. Then once again, simply watch your spontaneous thoughts. Try and calm the mind for a while and sit in thoughtless awareness.
Coming out of meditation
Shift your awareness back to your breathing and the physical body. Move to the external environment and the surrounding sounds. Once your awareness is externalised, gently open your eyes.