From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Living in Balance: Capture the Moment with Meditation,” by Chris Towery, in the September 2009 issue. Article summary: At its core, meditation is a simple practice for calming and focusing the mind, so the true nature of the present moment can be revealed. It’s a way to wipe away the typical chaos of thoughts, emotions and prejudices that muddy our everyday experience and become fully involved in all of our actions—to be in the moment.

by Gurukirn “GK” Khalsa

I know that’s a big title, and I will try, in a few words, to share with you one of my biggest secrets that has helped me live my life for the past 35 years.

First, I would like to give credit to the late Yogi Bhajan, founder of the 3HO Foundation, who taught me how and why to meditate. I met him in the early 1970s, and nothing has been the same since. I still look at one of his quotes every day: “Sit, meditate, consolidate, and let all things come to you.”

Here is the breakdown of 31 minutes that will change your life. If you already meditate, you know what I mean—so please keep at it. If you have never tried it, this will give you a simple start. Believe me, it works.

Meditation is nothing but clearing the mind of all junk and allowing for balance to enter. From this balance, all things will come.

First you need a quiet space. This space could be your room, outside in your backyard, a park or the beach. It needs to be a comfortable space, one without distractions, such as cell phones, TV, talking, smoke and rowdy dogs, as examples.

I will assume you have a room; make the room nice with some pillows, soft lighting and a candle. I use incense and a candle, which instantly puts me in the right mood because it has been part of my practice for many years.

Find a space for yourself and sit down on a pillow on the floor. You can cross your legs and tuck them in if your limbs will allow it. The idea of sitting cross-legged actually helps keep blood flow toward the upper body and the head, where it’s needed during meditation. If you have limitations and cannot sit on the floor, a chair will do just fine.

Now the secret: 31 minutes is only a little more than 2 percent of our day, a small sacrifice. It’s best to do this at the start of the day, but any time will work. Before bed is also a terrific time to meditate, as it helps slow things down and gets us ready to sleep.

Back to that quiet room…

1. For the first 11 minutes, sit with your eyes closed, back straight, arms resting on your knees and breathe deeply, but not so deep you hyperventilate. Rest your thoughts, and allow your mind and body to relax.

Stop thinking! Concentrate on the breath; nice, balanced, deep breaths. If a thought comes in, let it go. Don’t hang onto it. This will take some practice. Silence is special and powerful. It sounds simple, but just as you try and not think, your mind starts rolling along with one thought after another.

2. For the next 11 minutes, you will need some relaxing music. (For example, any New Age kind of music, Native American, soft piano, guitar, harp, gong, etc.) It must contain relaxing sounds. I use a soft chanting CD.

For the first six minutes, still keeping my eyes closed, I listen gently to the music; for the next five minutes, I chant along with it.

3. The next eight minutes: Here’s the fun part! Cup your hands in front of you with your elbows in and relaxed, like you are trying to hold water in your hands. Keep your eyes closed but gently roll them up, as if you are looking at your forehead.

Imagine a vessel or urn above you (visualization), and it is pouring life’s liquid bounty (everything you want and need) right into your cupped hands, filling them up and overflowing. Visualize this as it pours.

This is the richness of life. This richness is all you need. It is all the joy, happiness, love and prosperity one could possibly need. It’s OK to throw in something personal here that you might need or want to happen.

Someone you love might be sick, or some challenge in your life might need attention. Visualize it manifesting itself right in front of you. Then, visualize you and them reaping all the rewards life can offer with health and well-being, flowing freely and contentment reached.

4. During the final minute, take one last deep breath. Hold it in, and bring your hands folded to your chest in prayer pose. Feel the sweetness of your efforts and the certain peace that follows.

Exhale, and slowly open your eyes. You have just changed your life.

Gurukirn Khalsa, MASSAGE MagazineGurukirn S. Khalsa spent more than 16 years in the natural-foods industry, selling organic and conventional products and visiting organic farms. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida and has been a practitioner of yoga, Sikhism and vegetarianism since 1974. He is national sales manager and co-owner of Soothing Touch (www.soothingtouch.com), a manufacturer of massage lotions, oils, gels, scrubs, bath salts, soaps and essential oils, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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