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An empty mind does not mean the mind is like an empty shell. On the contrary, it is more like a brand-new computer devoid of any program or data loaded into it. An empty mind is a mind that is free from selfish thoughts.
It is the primary goal of meditation to get in touch with the universal mind by freeing the mind from any selfish thoughts. This is a simple process that most people find difficult to achieve. This is because as human beings, we tend to cling to what we have learned and have achieved. This is exactly the opposite of letting go of all thoughts. In meditation, we will learn how to let go of these clingy thoughts. There are numerous procedures or ways to achieve and complete a meditation.
There are many meditation techniques yet, everyone has a common goal—that of freeing the mind from selfish thoughts—which hinder them from allowing themselves to the get in touch with the universal mind.
The most experienced meditation practitioner uses the simplest step-by-step procedure which is shown here:
1. Sitting still and comfortable: The first thing that you should do is to find a suitable place to meditate. Sitting is the most widely used position in meditation.Even Buddha himself, in most figurines and pictures, is commonly depicted seated in a cross-legged manner. You can sit on a chair, at floor, or in your bed. You can sit anywhere but what is important that you are seated comfortably with your back straight so that your back muscles are not strained. You can use a pillow for back support and for comfort.
There are several traditional sitting positions that are widely used by meditation practitioners such as the Burmese position, the Quarter Lotus, the Half Lotus, and the Full Lotus positions. These positions are popular because they can be used for long-duration meditation. When conducting lengthy meditation, it is extremely important to be in a quiet place to avoid any kind of distraction.
2. Relaxing the body: The next step is to close your eyes and release the tension from your body. Stretching, or curling one part of body repeatedly until you feel relaxed.Stretching and pumping your arms, bringing fists to shoulders a few times and then giving some slack. Tensing the muscles in this order, your feet, calves, knees and thighs to relieve muscular stress.
Likewise, curling your fingers and toes up to loosen the joints brings some soothing feelings. Moreover, while you are seated, push your hips forward, and then push your stomach out while tensing up all your stomach muscles for a couple of times and relaxing between to relieve the tension.
Tuck your stomach in until the muscles of your lower back and buttocks are tensed enough, and then arch both your shoulders and push your chest in, tensing all your upper back muscles repeatedly. Then, slacken your muscles in between exercises. And then, reversing the exercise by pulling your shoulders back and pushing your chest out, tensing all your muscles and then slackening the tension. This exercise relieves the upper body of stress and tension. Repeat this process until you are feeling relaxed.
Then, you can start arching your neck forward and placing your chin on your chest, tensing neck and jaw muscles, then momentarily relaxing to reverse the action by pushing your head all the way back while raising your chin up high, and tensing your throat and jaw muscles. Move your head back while looking up; then, open your mouth wide and screw your face up face, tensing your facial and other muscles in your head, and tensing and relaxing. Smile widely as possible, while screwing up your face and tensing all facial muscles. Frown deeply while screwing up your face; then tense all your facial muscles.
This exercise relieves our muscles and joints of the stress and tensions that accumulate every day.
3. Breathing: The third step is to be aware of your breathing. Breathe deeply but silently. Use your abdomen while breathing. Feel your abdomen expands and contract while you inhale and exhale. Inhale through your nostrils and exhale through the mouth. Moderate your breathing and give it a regular pacing until you reach a point of almost non-breathing. This will further relax the body and mind and set your being in a meditative mood.
4. Clearing your mind: As you find yourself with the correct, relaxed breathing, observe the thoughts passing through your mind. Don’t interfere with these thoughts; just observe them and you will notice some gaps between two thoughts. Gently focus on the gap where there is no thought. Try to expand this thoughtless gap. Let it last longer until there is no thought anymore.This is the traditional method used by Gautama Buddha in achieving enlightenment. Another empty mind meditation procedure is by emptying the mind of any thought by thinking nothing and doing nothing. Normally thoughts suddenly come out of nowhere; just ignore them. Revert back to thinking of nothing. Just close your eyes and observe the blackness or whiteness regardless of any thoughts which may crop.
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