It is said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. Listening is the key.
I can safely say that each of us, in our own way, are trying to find happiness. That feeling of content, the joy of simple things, the comfort of no anxiety or worries. It is a hard commodity to find and you cannot buy it – believe me – I’ve tried. If I had a nickel for everything I’ve bought thinking if only I had this or that I would be happy, I would be rich. And I would be no closer to happiness.
Happiness is a most achievable goal. Happiness is right here, right now, in the moment. It is not ephemeral but you do have to live in the moment to find it. You cannot find happiness thinking about the past or future. It is only in this moment.
Getting to the point where you live mindfully, being here now, not worrying about the future or feeling guilty or sad about the past, takes time. Time you devote to spiritual practice, whatever your practice may be. Mine is Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of the Chant and also meditation. Meditation is silent, Bhakti Yoga is raising my voice in pure joy.
Sitting still, quiet, not letting your mind wander and grasp thoughts, not moving – these are all not easy things to do when you live in the world-confusion. There is too much stimulation, the internet to search, the TV to watch, the music to listen to, friends to talk to, on and on.
Making time to actually start meditating is as simple as setting a time aside each day. I find the middle of my day to be a perfect time to sit in stillness and listen to God. Whatever this says about my inner clock, I am receptive at 2 pm, receptive to His wisdom, His comfort, His joy that I am there with Him.
I begin by quieting myself including no movement of my body. Mediation is so much more productive of the state I wish to enter when I do not move. I don’t advocate any particular posture although I find myself that laying prone on my bed is the best for me. I cannot sit with my legs crossed in comfort. And at some point I will want to get up and I would prefer my knees not cave out from under me.
I start to “witness” my thoughts. I see them passing across the screen of my mind as I step back from them. I become the Witness, not the owner of the thoughts. I let them go, one after the other until I am quiet and I have no more thoughts flashing across my screen. I move energy from my root Chakra to the Crown Chakra, pausing at each one to visualize color and light warming those Chakras and engaging them in my practice.
I visualize colors with each Chakra, as illustrated here
Once I have engaged the Crown Chakra in my practice, my mind is still, I am in deep relaxation, I am most definitely in the moment.
I mediate as long as I wish to, not having any constraints on my time. It is important not to fall asleep though – which is something I’ve done when I am particularly stressed or tired.
I start from running after happiness with a butterfly net and then sitting still and letting God speak to me and thereby instill happiness in my soul without any effort. Effortless happiness – that is what meditation brings.