This scene from Eat Pray Love is so classic because it’s so realistic. Not unlike my first attempt at meditation, she fidgets with her mudra and is totally distracted by her monkey-mind. The conversation she has in this scene, with herself and with her co-star, is spot on.
I have left no stone unturned in my pursuit of understanding just what in the heck meditation is supposed to feel like. How do I know when I am meditating? What does it feel like? Will I see things? Will I see colors? Will I hear voices? Is one method better or “right”? How do I quiet my mind?
I became an empty vessel to all possibilities, styles, and teachings I came in contact with. What I found is that “accomplished meditators” couldn’t readily define what it felt like either. The simple truth is that there are many ways to get there; You can focus on breath, chanting aloud or quietly, mantras, beads, candles, images, and with eyes opened, closed, or partially open. You can sit in lotus, in a chair, in your car, or you can even be walking, cooking, enjoying a sunset, anything at all. The beauty of it is once you figure it out, you can easily get there, or as some say, “drop in,” at anytime, almost instantly. It is a handy tool whether you want to be spiritual, pragmatic, or intellectual about it. It is excellent for your body because it calms you down, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and heals the body with a deep restful state. Rest is crucial for your body to heal itself, plain and simple. Your brain benefits too because meditation engages all aspects of the mind, which improves memory retention, comprehension, and reasoning.
Although emptying your mind is the core concept of meditation, within a meditative state, your mind is far more capable of arriving at solutions in a calm, uncluttered way. This may seem counter-intuitive, but in essence you are, as he states in the Eat Pray Love video above, creating your meditation room within your mind, controlling your thoughts, so to speak, healing yourself from the inside out. Personally, I prefer a mindful approach to meditation, with the intent to achieve a certain outcome, rather than passive meditation of mantras and detachment from passing thoughts. I do use different techniques, but I think in this day and age, it’s so beneficial to understand the power of your mind and how to create positive beliefs, so I appreciate the tools found in the Silva Method.
The Silva Method has been a successful meditation teaching aid for decades now. If you’ve never heard of Silva Method, grab your ear-buds, take a seat, and check this out. This video is an excellent introduction to The Silva Method, especially if you want a guided, step-by-step meditation that aims to get you to “Alpha” where meditation is most realized. It is 37 minutes long. Check it out. Pay attention to the body scan portion, and feel your body easily shift into relaxation. You may find answers to many questions if you are new to meditation. I found it to be extremely interesting and educational. I truly learned how to get myself into meditation consistently with Silva’s body scan and count down techniques. Also, what I love are the lessons which introduce you to the control centers of your mind, which are where empowerment to change and live your purpose really happen. The entire series is about $100 and is well worth the purchase.
Transcendental Meditation is probably the most well known method; it is loved, practiced, and promoted by celebrities like Seinfeld, The Beatles, George Stephanopoulous, and even Oprah Winfrey. Using a word/mantra that is assigned to you and for you only, TM requires dedication of time, preferably 15 minutes, twice a day, before breakfast and dinner. It does work, but in a very different way than Silva Method. TM is focused around the repetition of your mantra, whereas the Silva Method is a much more engaged meditation which harnesses the power of the mind achieving a result. Both meditations have tremendous benefits. TM is the most costly, but that’s because you meet with a teacher for a series of classes, often one-on-one or in a small group, where you are given your personal mantra, and you are taught how to meditate. I found it similar to most mantra-based meditations. If you like structure and efficiency, I’d recommend TM.
An excellent article by Elephant Journal
“Eat, Pray, Choke Someone”