It took me a while to reach deep stages of complete silence and stillness in my meditation sessions. In the first few years of my practice, I was experimenting with different styles and techniques. Over time I learned how to access deep states of consciousness without spending too much time and effort.
When we sit for meditation, our mind gets tangled in random thoughts, and at times, we feel completely lost. After a few minutes, when we open your eyes, we feel that we wasted the entire session, and we didn’t make any progress.
For me, It was a long period of struggle and frustration. I did not have access to proper guidance at that time. Once you get the fundamentals right, you significantly shorten the learning curve and experience a blissful state during meditation.
What should be the expectation?
As I have always said in my earlier posts, meditation is like running a marathon and not a sprint. So don’t expect quick results. It generally takes a long time to condition your mind to get into a deep meditative state.
If you want to experience deep meditation, you should be willing to spend a little more time than usual. I’d recommend that you devote at least 45 minutes to 1 hour of your time every day.
Getting to experience deep meditation is a process and it required time and practice. There will be many times when you will face disappointment. But don’t give up.
As of now, your mind is conditioned to behave in a particular way. It is like a child who is restless and full of energy. Therefore, it likes to wander every now and then. This is also known as the monkey mind.
It takes time and patience to tame the monkey mind, so don’t expect this to happen overnight. It can take a few days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on how dedicated you are in your practice.
Learn To Cultivate Deep Awareness – The Gateway To Unlimited Love, Peace & Bliss
Let me share a small story with you. Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the Hindu Indian mystic and saint of the 19th central Bengal was once asked a question by one of his disciples. The disciple asked, “What kind of yearning one should have for the realization of God?”.
The guru said, “come with me and I shall show you what kind of longing will enable you to see god”. Saying that he took his disciple to a nearby pond and pressed his head under the water. After a few moments, he released him and asked “How did you feel?”.
The disciple was shocked, and he said, “I felt as if I were dying and was longing for a breath of air.” At that moment, Ramakrishna said, “That is the kind of yearning one should have for god.” So your ability to reach deep states in meditation depends on your yearning to reach that point.
That is true with everything in life, your ability to achieve something depends on the strength of the desire you have for it.
Preparation Before Starting Meditation
Before starting your meditation, it is better to relax your body and mind. I know what you are thinking. But doesn’t meditation do that? And yes, it does, but our goal here is not just to relax but to go deep into the experience.
We start by doing a breathing exercise known as pranayama in eastern cultures. It’s an ancient Indian practice that teaches us a simple technique to master the breath. This exercise reduces stress and anxiety and makes your meditation more enjoyable and transformative.
You can either sit on a chair or sit on the ground in a cross-legged position. Whichever way suits you. Take deep breaths maintaining the natural flow. Observe the sensation of air moving in and out of the nostrils.
As you exhale, try and relax your muscles and let go of any tension and stress build up inside your body. This exercise prepares your mind and body for meditation and can be done for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Next, for a couple of minutes, just be seated and ground yourself. Try to be aware of what’s happening around you and observe any sensation arising in your body.
Try listening to your heartbeat, chirping of the birds outside, watch the color of the sky, and if you are sitting out in the open, feel the flow of air on your body.
If you still feel the tension in some areas like the neck or back, do some simple stretches to let go of the tension in that particular area.
This exercise will help you to tune your mind for the meditation session.
How do you know that you’ve reached deep?
Every meditation starts with concentration and focus. We focus on our breathing or chant a mantra, and whenever we get distracting thoughts, we use a little bit of will power to bring our attention back to our meditation method.
After a few minutes, we go into a deep state of mind, where we experience absolute stillness and perfect silence. Whenever you experience this silence, you will know that you have reached deep in your meditation.
At this point, you don’t need to concentration anymore or apply willpower to maintain yourself in that state. There will be absolutely nothing. Even the sense of ‘I’ is lost. It’s hard to describe that state.
The best I can express in words is that it feels like a merging of nothing with the vastness of everything. You ‘are’ and ‘are not’ at the same time. Since one becomes merges with the vastness, the personal sense of ‘I’ does not exist in this state.
I still remember to this date how I felt when I first achieved this state. When I came out of meditation, the tears of joy were flowing out of eyes, my heart was filled with pure love and compassion, and I could understand how we are tied up with one another in all the existence.
Role of diet in meditation
The food we eat nourishes not only the body but also affects the alertness of the mind. Eating the wrong kind of foods creates lethargy in the body and makes the brain foggy. In such a physical condition, it is difficult to focus or concentrate during meditation.
If your diet contains high calorie, fatty, and sugary foods, you will not even be able to concentrate properly on a day to day tasks, let alone the possibility of going into deep meditation.
For deep meditation, the body has to be light and properly nourished with a balanced diet. A light diet will ensure better sleep, higher concentration, and an alert mind.
Also, eating too much or eating in-between meals is not good for the body. When your body is busy digesting the food, It’s difficult to concentrate. Your mind will invite unwanted thoughts. You mustn’t eat anything for at least 2 to 3 hours before starting meditation.
Some healthy eating habits that can help you experience deep meditation are as follows:
- Drink plenty of water. Water hydrates the entire body and rejuvenates the mind.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and avoid sugary fruit juices, as they can make your brain foggy.
- When you eat a meal, don’t fill up your stomach. Eat a little less than the usual capacity.
- Try to consume sattvic foods which are good for the body and can easily be digested.
- Consume more of a plant-based diet and fresh fruits. These take a shorter time period to digest than the meat based diet.
- Avoid fatty and sugary foods like cakes, pastries, pasta, bread, cupcakes, etc.
- Treat your food with reverence and gratitude.
Eating the right food will increase prana (life-giving force) inside the body, therefore as a meditation practitioner, your diet should be composed of fresh fruits, organic vegetables, nuts, seed and oils, whole grains, soups, and salads, and much more.
When you go deep in meditation, you start dealing with things buried deep within your subconscious, and as a result, it can feel really overwhelming at times.
But keep going on with your practice because there is light at the end of the tunnel. There’s unlimited love, joy, and compassion, and as divine souls, we have the ability to access these higher states of consciousness.
In yogic cultures, especially in the east, it is believed that we have been given this body to complete our ‘sadhana’ (or meditation) and release ourselves from the cycle of birth and death (reincarnation).
This sadhana can be done only when we have the body. According to eastern sacred scriptures, once we die and leave the body, sadhana is not possible, and as a result, we have to take rebirth and try another time.
When we practice sadhana for a long time, we achieve ‘samadhi’ – the individualized soul’s union with the infinite cosmic spirit. We raise our consciousness and merge it with the universal consciousness, and it is then that we liberation from the trap of samsara.