August 3, 2013

Reflections: Like physical exercise, meditation has intensely practical benefits


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First, Anapana, is to just observe breath between upper lip and bottom of the nose. I found initially breathing intentionally, long inhales to the belly, pausing, exhaling by starting from belly and pausing, was helpful.

Second, Vipassana, is insight meditation. In this method, one scans the body very slowly. I scan my back from the bottom of heels to the crown of the head and then reverse direction and scan the front of my body. While scanning, observe sensations. All of our actions and thoughts produce sensations in our body. Our desires and aversions create these sensations.

In this technique, when we observe a sensation, we train our mind not to react. We tell ourselves that this situation too is impermanent. We continue this practice patiently, persistently and steadily.

To practice, one can sit crossed-legged or in a chair comfortably. Choose a position that allows you to sit for a long time. A cushion can be used to keep your knees below your hips.

One can choose to close one's eyes fully or three-fourths of the way. If you choose to close your eyes, beware of falling asleep. But the eyes are the doors for the mind. I prefer to meditate with my eyes closed. Keep your spine straight and sit tall. Lift your shoulders up, pull back and drop them.

I recommend keeping your hands on your thighs along with Dhyana Mudra. Keep your right hand on the top of the left and form a triangle by touching your thumbs. This hand position forms an energy circle around you and retains the energy.

We gain cosmic energy through the Bramha Randra, located on the crown of the head. Cosmic energy is the life force. Through meditation when thoughts are less, we gain more cosmic energy.

Thus, meditation helps us to understand our true nature and maintain our peace in spite of the challenging situations in our daily lives. May your meditations lead you to realize your true self.

Ashok Nalamalapu is president of iCST -- an IT staffing and software testing firm in South Portland ( He can be reached at or at 772-6898.


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