Do you meditate? Do you have a structure for your meditation or simply go with how you feel on the day? By creating a self-guided meditation program, you can progress toward what you want to achieve; whether that is relaxation, emotional and psychological resilience, or spiritual nourishment, or all of them.
Just as you make plans to achieve success in your worldly life, the development of your inner life can also be a plan.
Since inner life underpins and influences every aspect of living, including vitality, attitude, confidence, and relatedness it’s not only wise to develop inner life but risky to neglect it. The more you understand and develop your internal needs and capacities, the more success you will have in every part of your life.
The 6 steps will help you achieve practical results in the short term while holding a vision for your long-term aspirations. For example, follow the classical path:
- Learn to relaxation-meditations by releasing immediate and long-term stresses.
- Increase energy and vitality prana meditations
- Then move to mental resilience meditations
- Then to spiritual meditations
One practical way to develop your inner life is to create a meditation program that is aligned with your present circumstances and needs.
These 6 steps will help you make a successful meditation program so that you can develop your inner life.
1. Identify the purpose of meditation
Even though we read that the aim of meditation is inner peace and enlightenment, few people can achieve this in the short-term. If you are not sleeping well, feeling 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 empty your mind 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 several 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. We can divide these 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 for both relaxation and for healing. There are also simple relaxation techniques that can be 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 several 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 is the only way to achieve anything of value. However, a few minutes of meditation daily over a long period 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 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 attempting 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.