Meditation has been used as a form of self-inquiry as well as a form of relaxation for thousands of years. It has been updated to modern-day versions of secular mindfulness programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness Training for relaxation and decision-making respectively. However, meditation is not an easy thing to do.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a way to train the mind to stay still. It is taught in mindfulness programs so that the mind can learn to discern reality to bring calm so the mind can make good decisions that result in peace. Mindfulness is the ability of the mind to discern while meditation provides the strength and support to allow mindfulness to take place in silence.
The mind in its normal mode does not know how to rest. It is always thinking about something. From necessary thoughts of planning for work to thinking a series of ideas by just seeing a tree. For example, when a mind sees a tree, it may think we there are lesser trees now and that is why the weather is getting hotter. It may continue to think how humid and hot it feels in this country. The mind may then wish it could travel to a place experiencing spring or autumn now. Which country has a cool season now? But it is not possible to travel now due to Covid-19… so on and so forth. The mind then continues its mental chatter when it meets a friend who might have seen a flower and had his or her own series of thoughts to share.
Why Explore Meditation?
When you begin to feel as if you have had no rest mentally at all and that it is causing you fatigue, you might want to explore meditation. We usually take good care of our bodies. We train our bodies and wash it clean. However, the mind, which is the master of the body, gets no attention from us. The only way we know how to use our minds is to work it non-stop day and night, even in dreams. A tired mind can become negative as it lacks the energy to lift itself up. A positive mind is buoyant, rested, and uplifted because it has regular rest and is able to see itself and its surroundings more clearly than a mind without rest.
What is Sound Meditation?
Meditation is usually done in silence with the practitioner choosing a meditative object that resonates with his or her mental tendency to bring to the mind just one thought. A person may be more sensitive to sensations and so using the body’s contact with the floor could be one subject of meditation. Another person might prefer an auditory object and can use a mantra such as “may I be well and happy” as an object to keep bringing the mind back to when it strays to other thoughts. While another person, who might be more visual can use a colour or an image of a virtuous friend as a meditation object. The way to train the mind and cleanse it of too many unnecessary thoughts is to keep bringing the mind back to the object when the mind wants to leave the present moment by doing something else – such as planning what to do next, falling asleep, to feeling bored.
Sound meditation is using sound as an object of meditation. Every time the mind makes an excuse to leave being here and now, we train the mind to return to the sound. Sounds used for sound meditation could be Tibetan singing bowls to calm meditative music to soothe the mind.
Why Try Sound Meditation?
Sound is something we are all familiar with. Sounds make music and most of us have been drawn to music since we were children. Sound could be an easy meditative object for us if we are beginning on our journey in meditation.
Calm meditative music is soothing to the mind. It could be combined with friendliness meditation or body scan meditation for the mind to stabilise itself. For instance, the practitioner might practice meditation by sitting or lying down and be guided to each body part in the body scan meditation with calm music in the background. In between the guidance, the practitioner can use the sound to stay and sense into the particular body part.
Our body is always in the present but our mind is not. Body scan is a good way for us to stay aware of our body, which may give us signals in the course of a day that we miss. The body could let the mind know where it hurts or which parts require attention and rest.