Hindu Meditation

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How to Meditate

There are many ways to meditate. They all seem to lead to the same place, so find one that suits you. Here I describe a classic meditation that is simple and easy. I also try to anticipate some questions.


A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated to yourself. It could be spoken aloud, as a chant, or silently, as in meditation. Many people think that the best mantras are sounds which have no clear meaning, and are used as a way of displacing your usual thoughts and moving your awareness inward. There are many mantras ranging from words taken from Hindu Sanskrit to Catholic prayer (especially when "saying the rosary," where the repetition of the prayer is meditative). If you do not already know of a good mantra to use I suggest you use "hamsa." This is a natural mantra, being the sound that one makes when breathing, with "ham" (h-ah-m) on inhalation and "sa" (s-ah) on exhalation.

Directions for the hamsa meditation:

I have found the following techniques deepen my experience. You will certainly find your own as well. These techniques are secondary and may be omitted entirely or added later:

During meditation your business is simple awareness, nothing else. It is a time to connect to your inner Source and let go of the things and roles we get caught up in: work, parenting, concerns and responsibilities. It may be that your meditation is peaceful, or it may be fretful and full of obsessive thought. Regardless, daily meditation will have a positive effect on your life.

Benefits of Meditation

The benefits are unique for each person, but both physiological and psychological balancing is common. Some of the benefits of meditation will be realized quickly, and others over many months, so don't be discouraged.

When to Meditate

I recommend that a person meditate twice a day. Before breakfast and before dinner are ideal. (The digestive system often shuts down during meditation, so a full stomach may result in indigestion.) Remember, whatever happens is OK. It's OK to fall asleep or to not become relaxed, OK to laugh or cry, OK to be, or not to be, in an altered state, OK if the mantra doesn't follow the breath as I have suggested, or even goes away altogether. What is important is that you have an *intention* to think the mantra during your meditation. In short, don't try to control it! For 20 minutes, twice a day, JUST BE!

Common Questions

The most common question I get when I teach someone to meditate is "What do you mean by "think the mantra, gently and easily"?' My best answer is an analogy. When you read you take the effort to look at the page, to focus on the page and the words. And you *intend* to discern the meaning of the words. That is usually enough and the meaning comes without much effort, yet there is *some* effort involved. Thinking the mantra is similar in that you direct a similar level of effort (which is very little, yet it is there) toward thinking the mantra. You do *not* force yourself, brow furrowed, to think the mantra to the exclusion of all else. Just let it come, and if that is not enough, then encourage your mind to think it with a small effort.

If you are tired when you meditate you may fall asleep. Regardless, do not use meditation as a sleep aid. If you have insomnia, just meditate during the day and the insomnia will probably take care of itself.

"Sitting comfortably" to meditate does not mean cross-legged. If that is comfortable for you, you can meditate in that position. However, sitting with your feet flat on the floor, erect but comfortable in a chair, is just as good. Don't lie down.

I suggest that you re-read this occasionally, it contains lots of information.

Shareware, etc.

Consider this to be "shareware." If you find the information in it valuable please distribute this document in an appropriate manner and make a donation to a worthy charity in stead of payment. I suggest:

Institute for Attitudinal Studies
PO Box 19222
Alexandria, VA 22230
which is a non-profit educational and spiritual organization.
(I am not affiliated with this organization.)

"Prayer is you talking to God; meditation is you listening to God." -Yogi Amrit Desai

Copyright 1995 by Gabriel Zappia. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this document provided that it remains complete and unmodified, including this copyright notice.