A common misconception about meditating is that when we meditate, we set aside a specific time during the day to focus. But as Jinananda describes in “Meditating,” meditation is more a way of going about things rather than the end product of a gratifying experience. Meditation can help us take full ownership of our experience in the real world. In order to be fully present in the world, we must be fully present to our inner world. Being connected to the self will allow a deeper connection and appreciation of the world around us.

Cultivating the qualities of awareness and open-heartedness are the keys to the meditation practices mentioned in the book. As we meditate, there should be acceptance, openness, and tenderness towards our own states of mind. We should have uncompromising compassion, even for ourselves. We should also remember that meditation is not a performance but a practice.

Setting an intention for our purpose is one of the first steps in meditation. Your purpose could be anything from letting go of stress to understanding the mysteries of the universe. But it should be a purpose that your mind can appreciate. With our purpose in mind, we can then fit our meditation practice into our daily lives. Next, deciding on a good place to meditate is important, as is staying open to the possibility of experiencing something new. Then, when we become aware that our meditation practice is affecting our daily lives, it will become clear that the practice is growing. Preparation and dedication of time and place are the keys to meditation.

Mindfulness meditation starts with being aware of the flow of what is going on in the mind. As we continue our meditation practice, it will include consciously sustaining a continuous flow of positive mental states. These mental states can consist of joy, contentment, kindness, or generosity. It is just important to maintain the mental state from thought to thought.

From mindfulness meditation, we can develop the Metta meditation, which involves universal loving-kindness. In Metta meditation, we actively bring on specific emotions. Jinananda provides a flawless explanation of the difference between feelings and emotions. In short, emotions are the actions behind feelings. We can choose our emotions if we can bring our awareness closer to where those emotional choices are made, which is in the heart. This will lead to caring about how we respond to the world. Furthermore, awareness of our emotions can help cultivate impartial love for all living beings. With this, we will realize our deeper connection with living beings.

There is obviously much more to “Meditating” than what I have included in this blog. But you get the idea.

I would love to hear about your meditation experiences, so feel free to drop a line below.

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