Most plans and resolutions arise from the desire to improve some aspect of outer, worldly life. These include work, relationships, fitness, and finances; the fundamental aspects of living. However, making plans to develop inner-life; those that deal with developing a healthy mind, creating emotional and psychological resilience, or pursuing spiritual growth, are often neglected.
Inner-life and worldly success
The thing to remember is that your inner-life underpins every part of your outer-life and all of your worldly achievements. The more you respond to your feelings and internal needs, the more success you will have in your life generally. If you neglect your inner-life, your worldly achievements often leave you feeling unfulfilled.
These six tips help you to achieve practical results in the short-term, while holding a vision for your long-term aspirations.
One practical way to develop your inner life is to create a meditation program that is aligned with your present circumstances and needs.
Here are six tips that will help you to make a successful meditation program so that you can develop your inner life.
1. Have a reason and purpose for meditation
Even though we read that the aim of meditation is inner peace and enlightenment, few people are capable of achieving this in the short-term. If you are not sleeping well, are exhausted or have a lot of stress, it’s going to be a hard slog to quieten the mind or to achieve higher states of consciousness.
Contemplate your inner life and think about what you need. It could relate to health, emotional needs, psychological and personality issues, how you function in relationships, or your spiritual life.
2. Address your present needs first
Just as there is a structured learning path to develop physical fitness, there is a structured learning path to gain inner peace and for spiritual growth. The ability to really empty the mind is developed over time and is the sign of a mature meditation practice.
The important thing is to be practical and to focus on short-term goals even if you have higher aspirations. This will set the path in motion. It takes time and the development of a number of inner skills to prepare yourself and be able to have a quiet mind. Many people begin meditation with this idea in mind and when they can’t empty their minds they become disillusioned.
3. Choose one technique and perfect it.
There are many forms of meditation to choose from. Some schools are based on one form of meditation only. Others, including Big Shakti, provide a range of techniques for various purposes. These can be divided into four main groups: relaxation and de-stress, healing and building energy, calming the mind and for spiritual growth.
There can be some overlap between groups, for example, Yoga Nidra is used for both relaxation and for healing. There are also simple relaxation techniques that can be easily learned and applied during times of stress.
The best meditations for healing the body are prana meditations that use the breath to balance energy, increase vitality and improve circulation. Mindfulness-based meditations are used to calm and strengthen the mind.
Serious meditators can learn chakra meditations and those that focus on spiritual growth.
Over time you will gain many skills and be able to combine a number of these techniques to improve health, peace of mind and to gain spiritual growth all at the same time.
4. Decide on the time, place and duration of your meditation,
Often people believe that meditating for a long period of time is the only way to achieve anything of value. However, a few minutes of meditation daily over a long period of time will give you better results than a long meditation practice performed infrequently.
Be kind to yourself. Refrain from imposing rigid, unachievable structures. Make your program flexible and be creative. For example, on certain weekdays, or on weekends you may want to adopt a different schedule and a different form of meditation.
If you only have a few minutes a day, use that time to touch the physical body, the mind and the heart with your awareness. This act of connecting your body-mind with your awareness is a powerful form of meditation that can be truly nourishing, centering and healing.
5. Let go of ineffective meditation routines.
Have you been practicing a style of meditation that was once very beneficial, but that no longer feels appropriate and nourishing? Recognizing that your needs and desires may have changed, and being able to let go of what’s not working is integral to your psycho-spiritual growth.
Sometimes the technique is fine and you might have to push through your lethargy. And sometimes the technique is no longer appropriate. For example, pure breath awareness is aimed at calming the mind, but it won’t heal the body as quickly and effectively as other forms of meditation such as prana techniques. There are also specific meditation techniques that enable you to remain grounded and stable during times of conflict and stress.
If you lack clarity regarding your needs and desires you can learn a series of short meditations based on the chakras that bring you back into relationship with your feelings and desires.
6. Go to the heart of meditation
There’s a difference between meditation as a technique and meditation as the basis of a relationship with yourself. Proficiency in the technique is only the beginning. It is a tool to assist you in engaging in a relationship with yourself, which is of utmost importance. When you sit down and close your eyes, ask yourself, who am I and what do I need now? Focus on the three levels of being, the body, the breath, and the mind. Connect with the feelings within each level.
Finally, your inner-life resolutions and inner development are not about creating a perfect plan. It’s about you making a sincere effort to understand and develop yourself. This requires a combination of using the knowledge that you already possess and being open to explore and learn from others. When you do this the energy you direct towards your own evolution, inner-peace and self-knowledge have great power and magic.