My Meditation Experience

I try to do three meditations a day: the first for 11 minutes in the morning, the second for 31 minutes around noon, and the third for 5 minutes in the evening.

The deepest meditation is the one lasting 31 minutes, Kirtan Kriya.  I sit on a pile of three yoga cushions in easy pose: the first halved, the second folded three times, the third folded four times.

I begin by “tuning in” a kind of centering exercise.

The kriya consists of chanting the four syllables, SA-TA-NA-MA, while simultaneously touching the thumb to the index finger (SA), the middle finger (TA), the ring finger (NA), and the little finger (MA) (this is the mudra associated with the kriya).  At the same time, I visualize the navel chakra (SA), the heart chakra (TA), the throat chakra (NA), and the brow chakra (MA).

I wear a watch which has a countdown timer.  For five minutes I chant voiced syllables; for five minutes I chant whispered syllables; for ten minutes I chant silently in my mind; for five minutes I again chant whispered syllables; for five minutes I chant voiced syllables; and then I count 15 rounds on my fingers without chanting.

Usually by the time I get to chanting silently in my mind I’ve become aware of the beating of my heart.  At that time I try to synchronize each finger tap with my heartbeat.  I try to keep my focus on the chanting, the mudra, the chakras, and my heartbeat.  If I find my attention drifts, I just gently bring it back as I become aware of it.

If I find myself wanting to squirm, or quit altogether, I just remind myself to trust the practice and submit to it.

I haven’t had any strange out of body experiences or hallucinations.  But it does seem to have a very stabilizing affect on my emotions, and has over time turned off the pervasive sense of anxiety I once suffered from.

When Life Gets in the Way of Practice

Life is often turbulent, and the water gets rougher with each passing year. Some days it feels like there is no calm water, that there are only rapids, waterfalls, and hydraulics.

How do you practice when CHAOS screws up your day; or week; or month?

One thing that helps me is that my “maintenance practices” are rather short, so that even when life gets crazy, there’s really no excuse for me not getting them done.  These include:

  1.  ganpati kriya in the morning (11 minutes), followed immediately by the Five Tibetans (about 7 minutes);
  2. around midday I do sat kriya (4 minutes), pray (4 minutes), and some yoga or calisthenics of some sort (5 to 30 minutes);
  3. and kirtan kriya in the evening (12 minutes).

That probably doesn’t sound like much; in terms of “hard work” it isn’t. But it keeps me feeling good, fit enough, and healthy enough; enough for me.

Another thing that helps me is to prioritize my practices. I’m a stay-at-home dad, so maintenance practices come first, then household, writing, the mechanics of blogging (page design, etc.), research, and modeling (like statistical models).

Do first things first, and accept that last things can’t always be done today.

My daughter has had a headache since last Wednesday. As I write, we are at the emergency room at Children’s Hospital. This has definitely been a white water day: doctor appointment, chiropractor appointment, my own appointment, and now the ER. In between I’ve managed to fit in the maintenance practices, organize storage in the basement, and type this post in the waiting room.

Life isn’t all about getting things done. My daughter is much more important than any practice.  But the practices help me be a better father, and getting these small wins in the midst of chaos make me feel confident of a better tomorrow.