Wikipedia astonishingly noted that “29 scholars found it difficult to define meditation[^1]”. Thus, to avoid the difficulty scholars had encountered, I will directly walk you through a “meditation” session in the tradition of Patanjali’s “Eight Limbs of Yoga[^2]”; after all, what comes to mind when meditation is concerned is “yoga”. Please follow:
1. Yama- (Ethical standards. DOs) Clean your body and mind before going to a peaceful corner to meditate.
2. Niyama- (Discipline and self-observances. DON’Ts) Do not deliberately think of negative thoughts after cleaning your body and mind.
3. Asana- (Posture) Place your body in the position where you are most relaxed and comfortable. Lie down, sit or stand. Close, half-close or open your eyes.
4. Pranayama- (Breathing) Breath the way you are accustomed to do. (You may adopt abdominal breathing and be accustomed to it.)
5. Pratyahara- (Sense withdrawal/Ignoring an image that evokes functional reaction) Initially, examine the outer parts of your body using your palms. Gently pat any part where there is discomfort. If you feel pain, treat the pain and start anew. If there is no pain, ignore any itch or discomfort. Now, use your mind to feel the air coming in and out of your nose and start counting. When you are deeply engrossed in counting, you will see images crossing your mind. Ignore them. At this point, you have detached your mind from your outside environment. If you cannot reach this point, go back to scanning your body or start anew.
6. Dharana- (Concentration) At pratyahara, draw your mind to a single mental object. When you pay attention to a mental object, you establish a relationship with it. Do not deliberately follow a vanishing object or recall an object that has gone out of your mind. And if an object persists to capture your mind, stick to it. Move closer to it. Identify its color, smell, shape or surface. Get to know whatever you want to know about it. When you are satisfied with what you have learned, new images will start coming and going before your mind’s eye. Ignore them. Just watch them but don’t try to know what the objects are about. Just be aware.
7. Dhayana- (Meditation). Maintain your awareness of the passing objects in your mind but do not push, pull or try to influence their movements. Once you pay attention to any image, you’l return to Dharana. If you do not falter until sleep seems coming to takeover you, command any part of your body to move. If your full consciousness eventually returns accompanied by a feeling of wellness, you had successfully meditated.
8. Samadhi- (Ecstasy) You should find yourself feeling relatively refreshed but not really ecstatic after one or many sessions. Ecstasy can only be achieved after perfecting the requisites.
To be able to successfully meditate, you must clean your body and mind (Yama), avoid negative thoughts (Niyama), learn correct posture and be responsible for curing infirmities that prevent correct posture (Asana), learn an effective breathing method (Pranayama), learn to ignore discomfort and undesirable situation (Pratyahara), learn to concentrate on the essential (Dharana), learn to live with what you cannot avoid without being affected by them (Meditation) and learn what is it to be happy and peaceful (Samadhi).
Just being able to comply with the requisites for a successful meditation session would yield invaluable benefits even if you eventually fail to meditate. How much you benefit from meditation is entirely up to you. Find out yourself what “science-based benefits [^ 3]” you may gain for learning how to correctly meditate.