A friend of mine had gone to a meditation retreat and shared his daily routine as follows:
“On the first day, I was assigned a room with a bed, a chair, a carpet and a small bathroom. The walls were bare. A monk spoke about mindfulness meditation and its technique saying, “Mindfulness meditation teaches us that a human being is both a talking self and a witnessing self. However, our society asks us to consider our talkative self as the only self while ignoring the witnessing self that is our essence. The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to restore the witnessing self to its rightful place. His technique is simple. Sit in a chair or on a rug. Keep your hips, back, and head straight as if you were touching a wall. Your eyes are open. Watch your talkative self unfold its drama in front of you. Watch how he jumps from idea to idea. See it unfold without being dragged down by its content! Be a non-judgmental observer! »
My friend continued, “I followed these instructions by going back to my room, doing this exercise for three hours before lunch. I followed the same routine after lunch until tea time, then repeated it until dinner.
“Following this program for three days, I felt extraordinarily relaxed. As the talkative self lessened its grip, attendees I considered strangers during our meals emerged as part of a family of seekers. On the third day, I added to my routine an outing to the adjoining garden. I sat on a rock next to the pond surrounded by flowering trees. I let my witness self observe the sumptuousness of nature. I may have sat there for an hour or more. When the rustling of the leaves stopped, I began to feel this pervasive silence of nature. I felt so rejuvenated that I made this peaceful experience the goal of my daily meditation routine.
“After the retreat, I meditate regularly. It gave positive results. Although I am still trying, I am partially successful in converting my negative emotions of fear, anger and hatred into positive forces of love, compassion and generosity. I took the first step to repair my relationship with my brother. Since I haven’t spoken to her in a dozen years, I mustered up the courage to call her and say happy birthday. He was happy to hear my voice. In addition, we invited our neighbors to share a meal together which we had not done since we moved there. We have also started buying food every month to donate to charities that feed the hungry. Additionally, we support organizations that deal with stranded cats and dogs. All of this positive change was brought about by a daily dose of mindfulness meditation.
“As a newbie to mindfulness meditation, I believe it has played a healing role, inspiring discussion, mending strained relationships and making strangers parents by opening our channels of compassion for others. particular, it has provided me with a recipe for staying physically fit, emotionally healthy, and mentally sharp as the cycle of aging catches up with me.
Sit in a chair or on a rug next to a wall. Keep your hips, back, and head straight. Keep your eyes open. Watch your talkative self unfold its drama in front of you. Notice how he jumps from idea to idea. Watch it unfold without being dragged down by its content! Be a non-judgmental spectator! Do this exercise for five minutes, then resume your normal activities. After a week, you can increase the time to 10 minutes. This exercise can also be done in bed before going to sleep and getting up in the morning. It’s a great way to end and start your day.
Dr. Ashok Kumar Malhotra has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a SUNY Teaching Emeritus and founder of the Yoga and Meditation Society. Her 20 Yoga for Relaxation videos and more are available on YouTube. His Yoga Life column is a compendium of his books, which are available at www.amazon.com. Malhotra donates all royalties to the Ninash Foundation (www.ninash.org), a charity that builds schools for disadvantaged girls and minority children in India.