222 Meditation Techniques
Interested in improving your peace of mind and managing your stress? How about increasing your powers of concentration? Or perhaps you think about how to complement your yoga practice, and reconnect with your inner self.
222 Meditation Techniques, the new book by Sri Chinmoy, is packed with simple yet effective exercises that focus on all these and many more aspects of meditation; exercises you can try at home, in your own time, with no special equipment.
The largest collection of meditation techniques in one book, it is an accessible and eminently practical guide to meditation suitable for both beginners and experienced meditators.
There are breathing exercises and guided meditations. The author talks about the use of mantras, and gives special exercises for runners, artists and musicians. There are ways to overcome depression, stress and bad habits, and even techniques to help in losing weight—this book offers a truly broad canvas of possibilities.
The book starts its journey with a section on developing the power of concentration. Techniques 10 and 11 suggest, for example, focusing on a small object, like a black dot on the wall. With practice your power of concentration can take your ‘soul-power’ to the wall and you could even look back at your own body sitting there.
The following chapter, Stilling the mind, offers various techniques to make the mind quiet. Techniques 18 and 27 advise us to imagine that thoughts are coming from outside and to take a defensive stance against them; a different approach can be found in exercise 21, which suggests using the vast power of the heart. Whatever resonates with your unique nature, there is an exercise that will work for you.
The third section contains breathing exercises, widely popular at many yoga classes nowadays, such as breathing in peace and breathing out restlessness (exercise 45) or a simpler alternative to traditional pranayama called Alternate nostril breathing (exercise 48).
Interesting to many might be the chapter on mantras, which gives not only practical advice on how to use them, but also includes several mantric songs with music notation.
Author Sri Chinmoy, who is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher, gives utmost importance to meditating on the spiritual heart. In the chapter Opening the heart, he offers various techniques to help us identify with our heart’s inner capacity. Among others, one way is to feel that we are a child playing in a beautiful flower garden, which is within our heart (exercise 61).
In the following section on visualisations, you can pick up many interesting techniques such as ‘the vastness of the ocean’, ‘the river flowing through you’, ‘the rising sun’ (exercises 77, 80, 81) and many others.
The chapter Guided meditations offers, for example, different sets of techniques for seekers below thirty and over thirty years of age (exercises 91–97), and concentration, meditation and contemplation on the Third Eye chakra (exercises 98–100).
The second half of the book presents a wide variety of unique techniques not usually found in similar titles. An extensive chapter called Developing good qualities contains no less than sixty techniques to strengthen many qualities that we usually strive for, such as peace, courage, gratitude, humility, enthusiasm, patience, sincerity, love, and many others. To get joy, exercise 124 suggests: “You can have the most joy just by imagining a child infinitely more beautiful than any child that you have seen in this world. You have inside you a child who is infinitely more beautiful. Just imagine it. While imagining you will get utmost joy.”
The following chapter of meditations for artists and musicians claims that meditation can increase our creativity. Even when people are not born poets or artists, by practicing meditation, they can increase their talents. It gives many practical instructions, from ways to bring softness and sweetness to one’s voice (exercise 173) to how to overcome nervousness in front of an audience (175).
A popular section is the chapter of special meditations for runners. Besides giving practical recommendations on how to get more energy, speed and endurance or keep our enthusiasm during longer distances, Sri Chinmoy explains that sport and meditation actually complement each other. Meditation helps us discover our hidden capacities and access our unlimited inner potential. Conversely, sport helps meditation by teaching us how to constantly expand our own outer and inner capacities. More about this topic can be found in another book by Sri Chinmoy, Sport & Meditation: The inner dimension of sport (www.sportandmeditation.com).
Meditations for everyday life is a chapter on the practical value of meditation. It offers a variety of techniques for different situations, such as: meditating on your birthday, overcoming pain and bad habits, getting better rest, losing weight, making correct decisions, meditation for your child, meditating for someone who is ill, conquering nervousness and many others.
In the last chapter, Sri Chinmoy briefly introduces the concept of meditating with a spiritual teacher.
The December issue of Women’s Fitness magazine put the book 222 Meditation Techniques in their section Your relaxation must-haves. More information about this title can be found on www.themeditationbook.net. The book is available on Amazon or in all good bookstores.