By: J Nighteagle
Anyone can meditate, anywhere. The word meditation conjures up visions of a monk sitting in a lotus posture, hands in his lap, staring into nothingness. But many people in Western culture find this posture uncomfortable. They are not as accustomed to sitting on mats or on the ground as people in some other cultures who practice this every day. Fortunately one can meditate just as effectively sitting in a chair. But certain elements are essential.
Upright posture is very important. It improves both breathing and the flow of energy or Chi. Sitting slumped over deceases the flow of oxygen and can eventually lead to distracting discomfort. One way of straitening your posture is to imagine a string attached to the top of your head. Imagine this string pulling upward, pulling your head and spinal column into line. This visualization will naturally put you in the best posture.
Some people find it useful to pick a spot to focus on, especially in the beginning. This may be a spot on the wall, a candle flame, or an arbitrary spot on the ground about six feet in front of you. A variation is to close your eyes and visualize an object like a feather or candle flame directly in front of your nose. The trick is to breathe gently enough that your breath does not cause the imaginary feather or candle flame to flutter. Another trick is to imagine a vapor cloud coming out of your nose when you exhale, something like the cloud of vapor you see on a frosty day. When you inhale, the cloud is drawn back into your nostrils. You simply “watch” the cloud expand and contract.