Good meditation practice and techniques. Talking to the body
Lets go for some practical meditation. I will now talk about an important basic technique of meditation. But before we come to this we will at first talk about a modern “medical meditation” exercise. This medical meditation techniqe is not going to be an exercise that we will do a lot for meditation. The first part of this tutorial, the talk about the meditation techniques of “autogenous training”, only aims at getting an understanding of the power of the mind on the body. If you want to say so. You could also say the possibilities of the body itself in meditation. In the second chapter we will use the knowledge from chapter one for our meditation. So we will at first talk about a modern meditation practice that is called “autogenous training” but this is not yet the meditation we are trying to have. This is just a prechapter to understand some important ideas about meditation techniques in general before we move on to more advanced meditation.
Sit or lay relaxed. If you sit hold your back upright. but most important sit in a relaxed manner. Relax. Forget stress and everything. Breath comfortably.
Now: Feel your chest with your hands and notice that it is hard. There is your ribcage. It is a hard plate between your stomach and your neck. Now feel your stomach and notice that it is rather soft. Now feel in the middle of your chest right between the hard part of your upper chest and the soft part of your stomach. Carefully find the middle part where the hard and the soft parts meet. There in your body is a thing called solar plexus. This is a network like structure that does some things in your body. I do not actually know to much what it does. This is not so important for the meditation understanding that we aim for at the moment. Important for now is that there is a thing called solar plexus. Solar plexus means something like “sun network”. Now relax. Breath so that you think it is comfortable. And think of the named area: the solar plexus. Now in this relaxed mood say the following sentence: “sun network, nice and warm”. We want to tell our body to make the solar plexus comfortably warm. We focus on the wish to have the solar plexus area go nice and warm. So we repeat the sentence:
“sun network, nice and warm”.
And we keep repeating this sentence up to 10 times. The effect of telling yourself things like that is very strong. You will notice that the solar plexus area indeed becomes warm. This is a basic relaxing technique from a modern way of meditation called “autogenous training”. This word means basicly “self induced training” and is about telling the body to relax. Another practice of this type of meditation is to tell yourself the sentence:
“Right arm, relaxed”.
If you repeat this sentence over and over for 10 to 15 times your right arm will become relaxed. Of course this can be done with the left arm also. The autogenous training consists of such sentences that you repeatedly talk to yourself. Another such sentence is:
“both arms nice and warm”.
The effect of these meditational sentences is impressive. The solar plexus becomes warm, the arms become warm, the arms become relaxed and that all by telling your arms to become relaxed. It is very useful for a good understanding of the practice of meditation to once observe these effects that telling the body things does have an effect on the body. I was still a teenager when I learned these techniques in a course about this meditation but when I first experienced that this telling the body sentences has an actual effect I was stunned. And I thought something like: “Well this is something I can work with.” I understood that I was not just a slave to the working of my body, but that instead I can lead my body. So I recommend that you make some sessions of using these sentences just to experience for yourself that the things that you say do happen and you notice how much the body can be influenced by yourself. Maybe you need some sessions before it works but it works that is the point and experiencing that it works opens our eyes to some important possibilities of meditation. More sentences of this meditation exercise “autogenous training” are:
“My heart beats steady and powerful”,
“I am all calm” or
“my breathing is steady and even”.
The arm-sentence is maybe the most impressive. It is very fruitful for meditation in general to once or twice experience the effectiveness of this modern meditation practice.
Putting this execise or technique to proper use
Now we go on to some more advanced meditation. What do we make of this exercise. Now when I learned this in a course the course leader told me to use it to be relaxed in stressful situations. I had a little problem back then that I got stressed before math tests in shool. I got some stomach aching right before the tests. The point is I was not to much interested in math and so my practice efford in math was rather low so I knew that I would have difficulties in the test and that induced the stress right before the tests. But when you are a teenager you do not always realize all these connections. You just realize that you get an aching stomach and think you can not do anything about it. But once I experienced the working of telling my body things I understood as I said that I was not at all helpless towards such things. Back then the meditation instructor told me to use the sentences right before the math test. But I figured that telling myself to relax with these fixed sentences right before the test would be a waste of the increadible potential of my body reacting to my wishes. And I realized that when I only use this meditation technique when I am already in a certain situation I would not be trained enough to use it as much as I wished to. So I did something else. I started to “talk” to my body all the time. I forgot about the sitting still and relaxing because I wanted to practice this all the time and not only once a day to really master the technique of influencing my body. Because I thought that this incredible potential could really be a way of escaping things like for example having stomach aches before math tests and other things. I knew I would have to take the tests anyway and I would get grades on the test anyway and I realized that it was the false or unknowledged handling of my body that made me vulnerable to the formation of these unwanted problems. And I thought this powerful possibility should not be limited to making your arm relaxed and warm once a week. And I realized that never thinking about your body and then trying to get it all at once when a certain situation comes would probably not work. So I started to practice in the direction of “talking” to my body. And over doing this of course the first idea I came up with was that the effect of a stomach aching could not be fought with relaxing the arm. I understood that the aching stomach was induced by my thoughts and so I realised that a not aching stomach could also be induced by my thoughts. So I integrated “speaking” to my body completely into my life. Thats why I dropped the idea of sitting quietly and relaxed for such kind of exercises because in every situation of my every day life I practiced to influence my body. I influenced my body towards general relaxedness and towards what I felt to be the reason for the stomach aching by telling me things like: “relax, it is just your mind inducing the problem”, “don’t induce stress on your stomach”, “my body is warm and relaxed”. Afterwards of course I widened the scope of sentences to some other things I thought to be useful. Over time the sentences became techniques that I could perform without the use of sentences. I did not get much better at math but I did not have stomach aching anymore because of math tests. I had learned how much it was my own influence on the body that decided if such things happen or don’t happen. And I understood that training of this kind must be performed all the time in order to become good at this meditation technique.
This can not cure diseases that you might have. Sometimes actual medical issues are the cause of pain. But for many useless stress reactions this technique is very important. You start of by experiencing the effect of repeating sentences like: “my arms are nice and warm”. And you go on to “speaking to” or influencing your body all the time. So you make shure that you become really knowledged in the field of the effect you have on your body in creating relaxedness for example.
So “autogenous training” is not to useful if it is done the way it is usually taught. But it becomes increadibly useful for understanding the possibilities you have with “talking” to your body. And this is something you should do constantly to really become good at it.
Really use sentences. Tell your body: “Do this and that.” That is the starting point for exercising and learning this meditation technique. This exercise and understanding of meditation is most important for understanding meditation in general. Sit comfortable and relaxed. Breath relaxed and then start of with some sessions of autogenous training as explained above. After 2 or 3 sessions when you have experienced that this works really well take it to the next level by creating new sentences for yourself for the effects you need. And do this then during the day without sitting relaxed just to be able to do it more often.
Notice: This does not help against headaches. If you have the problem of having pain in the head often read this article about fighting headaches.
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