Article by Curtis Simpson
Meditation is not hard to do. It may be hard to start, just like anything else. But if you give it a chance and try it, you probably will have a meditation experience. That is to say, you will feel like you actually meditated.
I think that it’s kind of hard to imagine what meditation will be like until you actually do it. And the key to doing it the first time is to get some direction or instruction from someone who knows how.
A meditation teacher in person is best. You can sit with the teacher and they meditate with you. This is helpful to the student. But that can keep you from starting if you don’t know of a meditation teacher in your area. Fortunately you can learn meditation from a book, from a guided audio mp3 or CD, or online. Technology is helping to bring ancient practices like meditation more and more into the mainstream culture.
Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM) is an ancient practice that came from the eastern world like most forms of meditation. The way Heart Rhythm Meditation works is by creating a rhythm between your heartbeat and your breath, for example, 8 beats inhale, 8 beats exhale. You can start by finding a pulse point on your wrist or neck and using that to time your inhales and exhales. It is simple, and it takes only a bit of practice to master. By listening to your heartbeat, you strengthen your heart.
This practice of synchronizing the breath and heartbeat creates a powerful rhythm in your body that strengthens your heart by creating entrainment in your heart rate variability. In addition to the many heart benefits you will quiet your mind. In this meditation practice we focus on our heartbeat or pulse which is the primary clock for the body. The pulse is a much slower rhythm than the mind. So placing attention on our heartbeat has the effect of slowing our minds and making us aware of our internal clock. This is comforting.
The first sound an unborn child ever hears is the sound of the mother’s heartbeat. And the first organ to develop in the child is the heart. We are comforted by this sound.
I have created a short 3 1/2 minute guided meditation here that you can easily try Heart Rhythm Meditation.
Here’s what the techniques actually consist of:
1. Posture. Sit upright in a chair with your hands on your lap and let your eyes close. Open your chest area and sit <em>royally</em>. You are engaged in a noble endeavor.2. Conscious Breath. Connect with your normal, everyday breathing. Follow the inhales and exhales. Let your breath begin to deepen and slow.3. Rhythmic Breath. Let your breath find an easy rhythm and make your inhales and exhales approximately the same length.4. Full Breath. As your breathing becomes slower and deeper and quieter and more rhythmic you will feel the effects of oxygenating your blood with a full breath. Your whole body will feel energized from this. 5. Pulse and Heartbeat. Hold the breath after a complete inhale a few seconds and see if you can feel your heart beating in your chest. In addition, find a contact point on your wrist or neck like a nurse would and find your pulse. The pulse is the echo of the heartbeat.6. Swinging Breath. Now as you exhale, count the number of heartbeats or pulses that you feel and try to exhale for 6 or 8 beats. Then inhale for 6 or 8 beats. This makes your inhales and exhales the same length, as measured by your pulse. Enjoy the synchronicity of breath and heartbeat. This is home-base for heart rhythm meditation. Full, conscious breathing with awareness of pulse/heartbeat. Try it for 5 or 10 minutes at first and you will probably get it and feel it and enjoy it Then try and work up to 20 minutes over time. This is the beginning of your new meditation practice.
About the Author
One of the first things I do each morning is meditate. I go to my meditation chair, gently close my eyes and connect with my breath. My breathing begins to slow and deepen. I breathe rhythmically. I feel more relaxed. I connect with my heartbeat. I am comforted by its steady beat. Learn more about easy meditation techniques<a>.
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