"can we say ohm?"

Sunday, August 21, 2011


That word brings the imagery of a Gandhi-like person sitting cross-legged under a tree with his hands in a Buddha-like pose on the top of his knees. That's the misconception many people get about meditation, they think it's purely for religious purposes and that it involves chanting an ancient mantra. Though that may be true in certain parts of the world, I would like to talk about modern-day meditation.

Before we begin, I would like to clarify that my method of meditation below is NOT related or purposeful towards any religious notion. It is just a method which I use to achieve mental relaxation, away from my busy city life. Since I started meditating daily, my family & friends have started noticing small but significantly positive changes in my lifestyle and self - here are the answers to some of their questions, may you find them to be of use too.

What meditation does for me:
  • Relaxes my mind (when the mind is cluttered, I don't sleep well)
  • Removes a significant amount of stress
  • Gives me a constant flow of positive vibes (very handy on stressful days)
  • Mental relaxation affects my physical relaxation (my body feels better)
  • Helps me envision my wants much clearer

Meditation requires no change in lifestyle/dress codes, only if you want to.

Meditation myths (to answer some of the questions I received):

Meditating means you're either practicing buddhism or hinduism
- Untrue because despite meditation being practiced widely by monks and yogis, it doesn't mean that the practice 'belongs' to a certain religion. Just look at yoga and how it has evolved throughout the centuries.

Meditating is against certain religions
- To each their own. Personally. I don't see meditation as something that is related to any religion. People only see it that way (and stereotype) because it is most commonly practiced in buddhism & hinduism. Logically, I don't see how meditation can be 'against' any religion because it doesn't promote any negativity.

Meditating is like sitting down & doing nothing
- Totally untrue because meditating is NOT that easy. You need to force your mind to focus on thinking of nothing, and that's no easy feat. Not only that, you need to calm your mind, watch your breathing and try to keep from getting distracted.

You need total silence to meditate
- Yes & no. It's entirely up to your personal preference. Some people find it easier to meditate in silence, some find it better with ambience sounds. I prefer the latter.

Won't meditation make you feel restless?
- No. It is supposed to help calm your mind & body into a state of relaxation. If you feel restless, you're not relaxed enough to meditate. For first timers, try not to force yourself to overdo it, a mere 10 minutes is enough.

More questions welcome. Ask.

There are many methods of meditation, it's really up to you to find what suits you best. You may also try my method below but ultimately, just go with the flow.

I prefer to meditate for 10 minutes the moment I wake up, and 15-20 minutes before I go to bed everyday. Before you sit and meditate, stretch. Make sure your body is not too tense before you start, loosen up your limbs a little.

Turn OFF your phone or keep it in silent mode.
Unless your surrounding is quiet enough, put on some ambient sounds or light instrumental music (nothing with singing). I particularly love using the iPhone's White Noise app which has a lovely collection of ambience sounds. My preferences for meditation are the beach waves, wind chime or light rainfall.

Sit down on a comfortable surface cross-legged (yes, like Gandhi) with your back relaxed (not too straight but not slouching either) and place your hands clasped in front of you, or have them lightly resting on your knees. Close your eyes.

Keep your breathing steady. Imagine a white light shining at you starting from your left side and shining its way across towards your right, go at your own pace with this but try not to go too fast. Imagine the light illuminating your entire body, filling you with its purity. Now, think of nothing and focus on letting your mind go blank. You will find your mind straying away to some thoughts but pull the focus back to your breathing. Focus on the inhale and exhale of each breath.

Once you find your breathing stable and your mind blank, allow your mind to stray. Don't think of anything, just let your mind bring out your thoughts. You will notice random images or memory snapshots of certain things popping up. Try not to focus on any of these thoughts, just observe them. Imagine each thought is like a boat passing you by on a river. You'd not focus on any particular boat but rather, just observe them in a neutral state of mind. You can just relax and enjoy watching your thoughts go by for as long as you like.

After you feel that you had done enough observation, focus your thoughts onto something that you really want, be it something materialistic or a situation, and focus on feeling positive about it. Feel the good vibes. Imagine the situation playing out like how you want it to. Remember, there could be more than one thought but give each thought your absolute focus and attention before moving on to the next.

When you are done, bring your mind back into its neutral state and observe passing thoughts again for a little while longer. You can also focus on your breathing while observing.

When your mind & body is completely relaxed (or when you feel like it is) go back to clearing your mind to a blank by focusing only on your breathing. Remember that white light of purity from earlier? Imagine it now shining out from within you, starting from your right and going over slowly towards your left. Imagine & watch as the light gives one last bright spark before disappearing. Slowly open your eyes, in hale deeply and exhale.

That's all there is to it. :)

p/s: Everything above is written based on my own perception & experience with meditation. Other sources may differ.

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  1. I love to do this way of meditation with the light! :D

    i linked u on my blog to show others a good way of meditation, i hope this is alright with u?




  2. Hi Nadina,

    Not a problem, thanks for stopping by! :)


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All images and text here are the intellectual property of Michelle Lim, owner of the blog site www.coquettishmish.com, and related third-party ownerships. Any use, reproduction or re-quoting of the materials here can only be done with expressed permission from the blog owner, and should be duly credited where necessary.